*You’ll notice that a lot of my interview questions are the same. This could either work really well or really poorly, and so far–for me at least–it has worked well simply because it has shown me that the game is relative. You can ask the same questions to a bunch of different guys, and rarely will you get the same one. It has been really interesting for me to hear all of the different responses.
1. When you were drafted out of high school, did you know that you were going to have surgery?
I didn’t know. I got hurt at the end of the year,
and there was a little bit of injury still there, and we had tried to rehab all
summer. The Red Sox knew that there was something there, but we
had talked and hoped that rehab was going to work itself out. It wasn’t til
after instrux (ie. the Fall Instructional League), and throwing a few bullpens that we realized that the problem is
still there and we were going to need surgery.
2. What did the Fall Instructional League do for you and your development? What did you kind of see it as?
I saw it as a chance to just get into the routine: Pick up
things like clues that verterans leave–just little tips that help get you going
and pick your feet up a little quickly as a rookie. I saw it as a
chance to just workout, get better get my feet wet a little bit.
3. You were drafted out of Virginia Tech, but were you drafted out of high school as well?
I was drafted in the 34th round by the Atlanta Braves in 2008.
4. What was the deciding factor, or factors, in choosing to go to college first over going professionally?
One of the things is that at 18, I wasn’t the most mature kid,
and I will be the first to admit that. I just felt that college would be a
chance to develop my skills, improve my draft position, and it was something I looked
as an opportunity to just get better
How do you think going to college contributed to your development?
It taught me sort of how to carry
responsibility for myself, and it taught me the things of living on your own,
which is going to be some of the challenge in professional ball
Do you think you lose anything in going to college over going professionally first?
There are some drawbacks: I say if I went out of
high school that could have been two years I could have been playing [professional] ball and
working my way up the system, but I mean you kind of weigh it out: you know, you just
weigh the pluses and minuses of it.
How has your arsenal changed since you were in high school?
[In] high school, I was more the fastball, try to overpower you, throw a
curveball kind of guy. Then college… just complete role reversal so it turned
into fastball, changeup kind of guy. I shied away from my curveball. Just a bit of
a role reversal.
What was your biggest challenge last year, and how do you plan on overcoming that this year?
[There was a] little inconsistency, and that I think that had to do with
not fully having a routine, and that’s something that I look to improve this
year is finally having a structured routine, and just focusing on baseball 24/7
and not having distractions like school, work, or tests, or anything like that.
Do you let your catcher do the thinking and call the pitches, or are you more prone to doing that yourself?
I like to do it myself because someone once told me if [you have]
any doubt, throw your best pitch, and if you don’t know yourself or know the
situation then you wont have confidence in your pitching. That’s where I feel
like its good to know and be able to think for yourself as a pitcher.
Have you pitched in any summer leagues?
In high school, I pitched a lot for the East Cobb Team
structure out of Georgia, and in college I played in Cape-Cod my freshman and
How did that impact your development?
Cape-Cod was one of the biggest developments for me because
it helped build my confidence going into one of the
top summer leagues as a freshman and making the all star team: it really helped
boost my confidence as a pitcher.
What do you notice about hitters as the levels get higher, and how they transition, and their various levels of sophistications (yes, I made up a word)?
It’s pretty cool to watch: [When] you watch high school hitters, you
see sort of a lack of discipline. [With] college hitters, you see more [discipline], and then here
you just watch hitters, [and] they know the counts; they study the game; they know about
the game, and what theyre looking for and your tendencies; and it makes it a lot
more of a thinking and a battle between the pitcher and the hitter.
What is your opinion on the lefty-lefty matchup strategy? Do you think it is effective?
I think it’s effective. There’s not many lefties in the game
to start with, and if you can ever get a lefty-lefty combo, it’s just that much
more unique, so I think it’s definitely effective–especially if you need that
Do you change your approach depending on the matchup?
I always keep that in my mind–like if it’s a lefty, I’ll
probably keep two seam away from him, [and] bust him with a four seam vs if it was
a [righty,] [I]probably want to go four seam away, and two seam in. Just certain
characterisitcs like that I just keep that in mind
Are you prone to certain pitches in certain situations?
I had a little tendency in college: I got caught
up in my favorite pitch, which is a changeup. In ceratin counts if I got ahead
batters sometimes didn’t know that a changeup was probably going to be coming
so that’s definitely something to work on.
What about certain counts?
I think one of the things they teach you is variation. One
thing im trying to pick up on is, you know, one time through you can mix up
your look so the hitter never has a firm idea of what he should be expecting. That’s one thing im trying to work on right now
If you had to hit against yourself, what weaknesses would you take advantage of?
I wouldn’t look for the curveball as much. I would
probably look for the fastball or the changeup.
What do you think fans overlook the most when it comes to baseball?
I think when they watch the game they just kind
of get lulled to sleep, [and] they don’t kind of appreciate the talent that goes
into the game.
Are you going to have to change anything like your arsenal or approach because of Tommy-John surgery?
[No], I hope not and if its something that needs to happen,
then it will happen but right now I’ve been throwing for a few days, and
everything feels normal and hopefully that continues that way, and I don’t have
to change anything.
Tell us something about yourself: Fun Fact? Quirky tidbit?
I like to go bass fishing whenever I can.