“The biggest thing for me is learning how to tunnel and make all my pitches come out of the same slot.”
Q: Speaking of Idaho Falls, you made 13 starts there this season and displayed terrific command. Just 4 walks and 38 strikeouts in 33.1 innings. What have you found to be so successful for you in limiting the number of free passes?
A: Going into my first pro season, I had some goals and one of them was to really limit the walks. I’ve always had good command but at ASU. I let it get the best of me because some times instead of pitching I would like to throw and just throw hard and not care where the ball went. I learned fast that, that is not who a pitcher is or needs to be to win. I went in with goals and felt like I exceeded my own expectations just because I worked very hard in that short 3 months to be as competitive and dominating as I could. The most successful thing for me was being able to command not 2 or 3 but all of my pitches in any count.
I was able to trust myself to throw off-speed behind in counts in order to get back into the count which I think is almost an advanced way of pitching, when you see guys pitch in the big leagues they aren’t throwing fastballs to these hitters behind in counts all the time because that’s what gets hit. Another way to think about it for me was I made it a point and it was the main focus that free 90 feet are not how you win, so I told myself I was not going to walk that person in the box if it was a situation where he might walk. Staying ahead was very important and I will only get better as my career carries on.
Q: In one of your final games of the season, you struck out 6 batters in just 3.0 innings of work. What pitches were working for you that day and what pitches, in general, do you feel still need some development?
A: It is pretty hard to tell which game this was because they all seem to morph together sometimes but if it is the game I am thinking of, everything seemed to be working together that day. That is another point I am making in my progression is to have consistency on all my pitches because some days one pitch might be better than the other but when all are working and I can use all my weapons, that’s when I am most effective. The biggest pitch for me that needs development is my 2-seam or sinker fastball. It is the only pitch that is inconsistent at times but has gotten 100 times better while I was in Idaho. Some times it flattens out and moves like a normal fastball rather than diving under a right-handers barrel and that’s what I am trying to do with that pitch. The more I work on it, the better it’s going to get with time.
Q: Were you exposed to any pitching analytics tools in college and at Idaho Falls? I am sure at some point you will be utilizing the Rapsodo machine to help improve spin rates, movement, etc.
A: I have worked with Rapsodo in college very briefly we just started using it in my junior year and I don’t think it was used very aggressively but I am very interested in it and I think it is cool to see how your pitches work together and what movements that make. The biggest thing for me is learning how to tunnel and make all my pitches come out of the same slot. I was not in Surprise long enough to use it with the Royals but I do know they use that technology and am excited to learn more about it and myself.
I roughly know my spin rates. I know my 4 seam is on average 2300 RPM and has been up to 2500 ish. I could not tell you my spin rates on other stuff, they are all pretty close together low 2000 to mid-2000s. The goal is to make off-speed higher and figure out how my pitches work and make them as efficient as possible.