Adam Plutko (Glendora, Calif./Glendora) is a right-handed pitcher who will play at UCLA next season if he does not sign professionally by the August 15 deadline. Plutko was selected by the Houston Astros in the sixth round of last month's MLB Draft, though it is believed his strong commitment to UCLA head coach John Savage may have affected his value based on signability concerns.
Blair Angulo: Are you leaning one way or another?
Adam Plutko: I'm in the middle right now. It's difficult, very difficult.
Obviously there are players on UCLA's roster who were also drafted but decided to attend college, ace pitcher Gerrit Cole being the highest pick among them. Have you reached out to anyone for advice on your decision?
Me and Gerrit actually talk quite a bit. I talked to him maybe two days ago. He was just checking up on me and saying, 'Hey, you've got to come to school.' (laughs) He's been a really big help through this whole process because he's done it already. He's been a great guy to talk to.
How closely did you monitor UCLA's run at the College World Series?
I actually traveled. I was dying up there, sitting with my dad and Mr. Cole. We were both going crazy while my dad just sat there looking at us. I'm such an intense person, I wanted to be on the field so bad.
UCLA, with its youth and pitching, is favored to return to Omaha next year. Does that play a role in your decision at all?
This is all gravy. I was with them when they didn't even make the postseason. All this extra stuff is awesome. I was with them when they were 27-29 [in 2009].
The Bruins lose Sunday starter Rob Rasmussen, midweek starter Garett Claypool, probably closer Dan Klein, Erik Goeddel, Matt Grace -- a lot of pitching. Does the opportunity to make a contribution right away appeal to you?
It's actually a great time to come into UCLA. All their pitching is gone. You've got three young pitchers coming in -- me, Zach Weiss (Irvine, Calif./Northwood) and Nick Vander Tuig (Oakdale, Calif./Oakdale). We're all pretty tight. As far as a pitcher coming in, there hasn't been a better time since Gerrit and Trevor [Bauer] came in.
Do you anticipate this coming down to the deadline?
Yeah, the Astros have said that it's going to be a down-to-the-end decision. They're kind of seeing what money they have left and they're going to go from there.
How does the uncertainty affect your workout schedule? Does your preparation change based on what you choose?
I'm not playing ball right now, just working out. As far as I'm concerned, they're both going to be really tough. You get ready mentally for some tough baseball.
How big of a role does coach Savage play in the process?
Me and coach talk probably once a week. He's a great guy and the main reason why I committed to UCLA in the first place. It's been a great process to go through with him.