“I don’t just want to lock down a future rotation spot I want to be one of the best the game has to offer as a starter”
Q: I noticed that you had played in wood-bat leagues during the summer of 2017 and 2018. Was there anything in either year that you were trying to specifically develop?
A: My freshman summer, I played in the Northwoods league and it was my first chance at starting as a college player. I came off a pretty rough freshman year and just wanted to get as many innings as possible, so the goal was to basically go out there and compete and win. I didn’t have a good idea of mechanics and my pitches at that time. I was, like I said, a thrower. I grew up and became a pitcher around my sophomore year when I went into the Friday night role at ASU and then that summer played in the Cape Cod League where I mainly served as a reliever and closed because I was on a short innings limit.
I then came across a pitching coach, Christian Wonders, who really helped me mentally and physically improve my mechanics and mentally on the mound. That summer is when baseball was becoming fun for me again and I was able to find what it took for myself to compete at my best level. I had a really bad curveball coming into that season and my main focus was figuring that out. I was first introduced to trackman and spin rates that summer and it allowed me to see how my curveball worked and what it meant to spin the ball. This let me completely revamp my curveball into a way better pitch and an effective pitch at that.
Once I got that down before I left the Cape (Cod League), I developed a slider in a bullpen just messing around with grips and became a better pitch than my curveball very shortly. That is what I think allows me to be a good starter because I have a good 4-5 pitch mix that are all different pitches. Another big point that summer was learning how my body worked on the mound and getting the most out of every pitch, so I believe that summer I turned into a complete pitcher and had a base to work off of for the future.
Q: A lot of the media attention for pitching prospects goes towards Kris Bubic, Jackson Kowar, Brady Singer, etc. Does that provide any fuel for you to become better as you progress and what would that mean for you to one day lock down a future rotation spot with the big league roster?
A: This gives me so much excitement and drives when people talk about these guys because not only do I want to be put in that group, I want to be the best. So I have a natural desire and drive to beat even my own teammates in whatever category it might be. I have only heard great things about those guys because they are all complete pitchers and have an elite level of competitiveness, which I feel we have in common and I can’t wait to be sharing the field one day with them.
My goal has always been to be one of the best in the game and that’s what I strive for. I don’t just want to lock down a future rotation spot I want to be one of the best the game has to offer as a starter, so it would mean the world to me once I make it and get called up. It will probably be the best day of my life but that would only be the beginning because the biggest challenge is staying there and then competing there for years to come.
It is nice having those guys to look up to as they are paving the way right now in the minors and tearing it up it just gives me more motivation to catch up.
A special thank you to Alec (@AlecMarsh8) for taking the time to speak with us!