|Mitch Gueller, image- Jay Floyd|
The six-foot-three 220-pounder has struggled somewhat in the early going, posting a 0-1 record with a 9.58 ERA through three starts. He entered 2016 fresh off a strong campaign last year with short-season A level Williamsport, where he helped lead the team to the playoffs with his 10-1 record, 2.23 ERA and .229 batting average against in 12 starts.
Last week I spoke with the 22-year-old about his time table for reaching Lakewood, his pitch repertoire, his BlueClaws team, New Jersey and more. Read ahead for that full interview.
-Some people would feel that after you were drafted you took a long time to reach Lakewood. How would you reply to that type of assertion?
That's true, I guess. I would have liked to have been here sooner, but I didn't pitch well enough. I had a lot of development to do and I took it as part of the process and grinded through it. I was in Williamsport for three years, so I think I'm ready to go now.
-I got to see you pitch for Williamsport last year in Staten Island, good outing. Just talk about your season there last year, which was successful and included a postseason run.
I mean we had a good team. It was fun to go out and pitch for the guys and, you know, just knowing that we were going to put up runs and win ball games was a great feeling going out there, being able to throw in front of them.
-My key memory of you from that day, other than the good outing, was your mustache. Does that make a comeback this year?
I'm thinking it's got to come back this year. Yeah, definitely. You can expect to see that.
-I have spoken with the coaches here. There's a new pitching coach here this year leading the way, Brian Sweeney. How do you feel about the coaching staff and how they're helping you along this year?
They're great. They get after it. They get to work and they're positive and they're good to be around. Brian Sweeney the pitching coach is a great influence for all the pitchers. He's just working with us on all parts of the game and we focus on pitching and I really like his stuff so far.
-You mentioned the word "stuff" there. In regards to your stuff, with your offerings, is there anything new with the grips or pitches you've added, things like that?
My slider's been improving. It's only a pitch that I've thrown for two years now, but it's getting better and better. I'm really comfortable throwing it, so I'm excited to see that. I haven't really changed anything aside from that, but like I said the slider's coming along for me.
-What's the full repertoire aside from that?
Fastball, change up, sinker and that's about it.
-Do you have a lot of confidence in each pitch at this stage?
Yeah, I feel like I could throw any of them in any count to any hitter too, so I'm excited to just throw 'em.