I have been asked by several family members, friends, and fans how I feel about being invited to Major League spring training and what my expectations and goals are regarding big league camp. When the Baseball Ladies asked me via twitter (side note: my twitter handle is mschwimer, for those of you who are interested in following me) to write about these same topics I was excited to share my thoughts, and be able to reference this entry when people ask me these questions in the future.
I am incredibly grateful to be given the opportunity to go to Major League spring training and compete for a job on one of the greatest organizations in all of sports. My goal for spring training is very simple; pitch, compete, and work my way onto the opening day roster. I understand that anyone that follows the Phillies closely would think my goal is unrealistic, but to be honest, I could care less what anyone thinks. Two and a half years ago, when I got drafted in the 14th round and signed for 5,000 dollars anyone that followed the Phillies closely would have said it is an unrealistic goal for me to be invited to Major League spring training. But here I am. My whole life people have told me I couldn’t do things, and my whole life I have proved those people wrong. That being said, I am a firm believer in actions speak louder than words. I can say this is the best shape I have ever been in, and I am fully prepared for this opportunity, but until I go out to prove it, saying all those things means nothing.
This off season I was able to watch a lot of film, compliments of the Phillies’ organization, of my pitching from the previous year and I have decided they’re two things I need to emphasize and improve on. First, the angle on my pitches. Being 6’8 I naturally am able to create good downward action, but I was sinking my back leg too much, which caused me to lose a few inches of potential angle. That dropping motion with my back leg also caused my head to drop, and anytime your head moves within your delivery, your location can be compromised. The second thing I need to improve is being able to get outs inside and outside rather than continually rely on back and forth outs. They’re three ways to get a hitter out… up and down, inside and outside, and back and forth. My greatest strength as a pitcher is my ability to throw 3 pitches in any count, at any time, and in any situation. This makes it hard for hitters to sit on anything I throw, so when I get them out it is usually because I am able to keep them off balance. Because of my ability to go back and forth I tend to lose focus on painting the inside and outside corners. If I am able to get better at inside and outside then even if a hitter is sitting on a pitch I throw he will not be able to do that much damage.
Hopefully this has helped to respond to some of the questions asked of my lately. Only 19 days to spring training!