You asked and Josh Zeid answered. A huge thank you goes out to Lakewood BlueCLaws Media Relations Director Greg Giombarrese for arranging this and asking your questions, and obviously to Josh Zeid who took time away from his day to answer your questions. Check out http://www.blog.blueclaws.com/ for all your Lakewood BlueClaws info including audio of the transcript below.
How has the bullpen been so far, and how do you prepare mentally as compared to your role as a starter? I enjoy it a little bit more because I like to come to the field knowing I’m going to play almost every day.That plays a big part in the happiness of my pro career so far. To prepare mentally, you have to work hard every day because it might be the day you pitch, or the next day or the next day. You have to stay prepared every day.
What changed when you got to Tulane from Vanderbilt and into the Phillies farm system? I changed, mainly, just my focus. At Vandy, I focused strictly on baseball. When I made the change to Tulane, academics became the focus and it all kind of fell into place for me. Now, all you have to worry about is baseball, and with that as the sole focus, as opposed to having to go to class and all that stuff.
What is the difference in your mentality in a save vs. non save situation? I havent had very many non save or save situations. Its still early on. I think every time I go out there, I try not to give up a run or give up a baserunner. I am going into every outing as a save situation….how can I save this game and give our team an opportunity to win.
You pitched in college. How did that help you prepare for minor league baseball? Looking back do you feel you could have made the jump into the minor leagues four years ago? I think out of high school, knowing what I know now, I wouldnt have lasted to long in minor league baseball.The long road trips, the long bus rides, the long days at the park. It’s a dream come true to play but you have to practice at it. College prepares you well. FOur or five hours in class, than practice, then a game. There is pressure in college to perform and now that you are getting paid, there is definitely some more pressure, but you are prepared to handle it. I think going to college was absolutely the right decision to make.
How much have the Phillies changed or tweaked your mechanics, motion or pitch sequence and what have you done this year moving into the bullpen? Since last year was my first year, I came right from college baseball. The coaches were not too worried about my mechanics. They were more concerned about outcome and staying healthy. On I got invited to the Instructional League, we started working on wind up, fine tuning a change up (straight change), but now that I have moved into the ‘pen, I’ve gotten rid of the wind up and am throwing a Fosh change rather than a straight change.
On the Fosh Change…A fosh change is more like a split fastball but it isn’t 90 mph like Roger Clemens…More of an up/down change rather than a straight change. This goes up a little in the zone and then hopefully the bottom falls out.
How would you compare the instruction you received in college with that which you receive at the pro level? Different things stressed and different methods of practice? How has your approach changed because of it? In college, they are more into the six bunt plays, the six first/third plays, they are really focused on tricking the other team. Here in pro ball, everything is very simply, with two or three plays for every situation. I think that’s one of the big benefits. Everything has been very applicable and we use everything.
23 years old, there are some younger guys in the league, do you feel any pressure or do you put pressure on yourself to move up in the organization? I think there is pressure on everyone to perform. Age matters. Obviously, at 23 there’s an advantage to be here but I am old for this league. I would have to make sure I can perform here so then I know that I can perform at the next level and the next level. As long as I do what I think I can do, it will work out.
Why do you think you were moved to the ‘pen? Did it surprise you? I wasn’t surprised. I’ve always said that I’m willing to do whatever they want me to. For the first 3 years of college, I was a pen guy. I put it together my Senior year to start, but my arm comes back pretty well. I can pitch on back to back days. I have 3 relatively hard pitches, starters usually have 4. My stuff plays well out of the pen and I enjoy it.
Out pitch to lefties? It’s my Fosh change. I’d like to think my fastball is my out pitch, but now that we are seeing teams again and again, I have to mix it up alot more.
What current BlueClaws have caught your eye? I played with him last year, but Nick Hernandez has been absolutely phenomenal. I don’t think he gets enough credit because he is a college guy pitching in Low A ball but anyone that can have 6 or 7 starts and go 7 innings eveytime out and have a sub 2 ERA is outstanding….Obviously, Jared Cosart has a ton of ability….I’ve always loved Jiwan James in the OF…He’s a great defender. I know he is struggling a little bit right now with the bat, but he will put it all together.