Our prospect interviews continue today with the White Sox’ No. 16 prospect Jimmy Lambert.
Lambert was a 5th round draft pick of the Sox back in the 2016 draft. In his age 21 and 22 seasons, he experienced plenty of the ups and downs that might be expected of a young starter. However, in 2018, Lambert established himself, posting a 3.67 ERA and seeing a large jump in his strikeout rate (10.3 SO/9 from 6.1 SO/9 in 2017). Lambert would start the 2019 season in AA, but would make just 11 starts before being shut down due to Tommy John Surgery. Lambert’s brother – Peter Lambert – is also a pitcher in the Rockies organization. He made his debut last year.
I was fortunate enough to get to ask Jimmy some questions about life as a pitcher and learn what it’s like to have a brother following the exact same path as him. Read below – enjoy!
Tell the readers a little bit about yourself – where did you grow up, when did you start playing baseball, and when did you decide you wanted to make a career out of the game?
I grew up in San Dimas, CA, in East Los Angeles County. I’ve loved sports for as long as I can remember, and baseball was no different. I started playing basically when I was first allowed to at age four or five. It was always a dream of mine to make a career out of it, but I’d say sometime my senior year in high school is when I realized I could maybe make that a reality.
You were drafted in the 5th round by the White Sox in 2016. What was it like to get that call from the Sox? Who did you get to talk to from the organization?
Getting drafted was a dream come true. It’s something you work for your entire life and when it finally comes to fruition it’s definitely a special moment. I actually didn’t have really any contact with the White Sox leading up to the draft, so it was a little surprising that it was them, but that definitely didn’t make the moment any less special!
Towards the end of last season, you had to undergo Tommy John Surgery. How has your recovery been going, and how have you dealt with the physical and mental tolls that come from such an experience?
Tommy John recovery is going as well as it could go. I’ve been really happy with my progress both mentally and physically. It’s allowed me to take a step back and realize what matters and realize how lucky we are to play this game. I definitely feel like I have a clearer vision going forward and I’m excited to get back on the mound!
How – if at all – do you incorporate data into your work as a pitcher?
Pitch data is definitely a big part of my game. From shaping the type of pitcher I’ve turned into all the way to helping me game plan before games, it’s taken the gray area out of the game for me and allowed me to really see who I can be. It’s added another layer to the game for me as a pitcher that I really enjoy.
Your brother – Peter Lambert – is a pitcher is the Rockies organization. What’s it like to grow up with a sibling who is following the exact same path as you? How have you been able to help each other develop as professional pitchers? Have you ever gotten to pitch against each other in a professional game?
Growing up with Peter has been a huge blessing. I’d say it’s definitely an advantage to have someone so close to you go through exactly the same process. We are able to kind of balance each other and bounce ideas off each other and help each other be the best we can be. We are very similar pitchers so that helps as. Hopefully one day we can match up against one another at the highest level.
What’s your pregame routine like as a pitcher? Is there anything special or unique you make sure to do before every start?
I’m not a superstitious person, but I do believe in routines. I try and stay as loose as possible on start days and make it for the most part just like any other day, even though it’s not. If there’s one thing I have to do before going out to warm up, it is take a shower!
What do you think you would be doing if you weren’t playing baseball?
I really don’t know where my life would be if I wasn’t playing baseball. If I had to guess, maybe real estate! But that is a wild guess!
Is there a piece of advice you have – whether it’s something you’ve been told or something through your own experiences – that you would share with young ballplayers hoping to be where you are?
My advice to young ball players is to chase your dreams. Never let anyone put limits on you and don’t put limits on yourself. Only time can tell, no one else can. And as cliche as it sounds, always have fun. Sports are supposed to be fun!
On behalf of the entire Sox On 35th team, I’d like to thank Jimmy for taking some time out to answer questions for us – especially during this long stretch without sports. It’s nice to hear from the players and hear their stories. We wish Jimmy nothing but the best, and I look forward to seeing him on the South Side soon.
You can follow Jimmy on Twitter: @JimmyLambert12
Featured Photo: Birmingham Barons/Twitter