Mental and Physical Thoughts Going into Spring Training

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!

20 thoughts on “Mental and Physical Thoughts Going into Spring Training

  1. Thanks Schwim – best of luck to you – we’re all pulling for you. One question for you (or probably many others on this that know the answer). Inside/out and up/down are pretty obvious what that is. But when you say “back and forth” – what exactly is that?

  2. Best of luck. Aim high (with your goals, not your pitches), impress the front office, and hopefully we see you in Philly this year!

  3. Thanks as always, and good luck! I’d have to say De Fratus is probably a bit higher than you on the depth chart, but I like your competitive spirit!

  4. Wow…I was just kidding about not posting recently. Made that yesterday and BAM…another Scwhim post.


  5. Best of luck, man. From everything I’ve read of yours, you’ll be a heck of a pitching coach in 12+ years when your playing career ends.

  6. Good luck, Schwim. It’s great to hear that you are getting support from the development folks with the Phils. Knock ’em dead!

  7. If you don’t make it this year ( I think there are only two spots open and about 15 or 16 guys competing for them) don’t let that get you down. In 2012, Lidge’s contract will be up, Baez and Romero’s contract will have expired and Madson will be a free agent. Only Contreras is guaranteed a spot. A strong spring as well as a strong season at Triple A could secure you a spot in the 2012 bullpen. Also, don’t forget injuries. I imagine injuries will occur for the Phils in 2011 and you might be called up in such a situation.

  8. Schwimm, I don’t need to tell you this, but attitude is more important than talent, and application more important than ability. Squeeze all the talent God gave you and learn to be the pitcher you are the most effectively, and you will succede in the majors. Hopefully this year, but no doubt you will.

  9. Im rooting for you schwim, and I like the attitude. I think you and DeFratus finish the year on the squad. Good luck in camp.

  10. Hey, Michael! If you think back to your Little League days, you may remember me. I’m Pete Scholl’s mom. I googled you last year and was so pleased to find out you were in the Phillies organization. So today, as we listen to the Twins play the Phillies, I had to check on you again to see if you might be on the roster. Congratulations on being invited to spring training! We wish you all the best and will continue to keep track of you! Say hi to your mom and dad for us! Jan

  11. I need to know from YOU, Mike — are there 2 M’s in your last name or just one? I keep seeing it spelled both ways, but I’m rooting for two, since I, too, am

    Michael Schwimmer

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