PhoulBallz.com was fortunate enough to meet with Phillies prospect Jason Knapp just one day after he caught the attention of the baseball world with his 7 shut out innings, 14 strike out performance against the Indians' Lake County team.
- I asked Jason, the Lakewood BlueClaw, for some thoughts about his big game...
I had pretty good command of three pitches (fastball, curve, change up). I was on the same page with my catcher, D'Arnaud, and I ended up, ya know, I felt pretty good.
- In a great performance like that, how much credit goes to Travis D'Arnaud, the catcher?
More than you might expect, definitely. I didn't shake him off once. He told me what to throw and I do what I'm told. And if it works out, a lot of the credit goes to the catcher.
- Does the lack of run support (Lakewood has scored 3 total runs in his 3 starts), in your few starts, increase your stress level, or enhance your focus?
No, I just try to go out and do my job every outing. Ya know, we have a lot of good hitters and some games we score, some games we don't. I mean, it's just something you have to deal with. Being on a team, I'm gonna have a lot of starts and a lot of games, and it's gonna even out through out the season.
- You're from New Jersey. As a native of the state, have you acted as a guide to any of the players who aren't familiar with the area?
I'm a native of north Jersey, not so much...I don't know much about Lakewood. But it's been great. I've been fortunate, I have family up here. All my friends and family come down and see me and it's been good.
- Can I get you to comment on some of your goals going forward in 2009?
Well, no number goals necessarily. But definitely to work on trying to consistently command all 3 of my pitches, and trying to consistently go out, do my job and help my team to win every outing.
- What is your routine like between starts?
Well the day after I pitch, it's a lot of running. Mostly just running, a little throwing. The next two days are a light bullpen. Obviously, also with running. Then the day before (the next start) it's just a little bit of throwing, some sprints, ya know then mentally prepare and talk to pitching coach Bob (Milacki) who has helped me a lot throughout the last three starts. And basically the day before is a lot more mental preparation.
- And what has coach Bob helped you with so far this year?
Bob's been great. Between outings, he's with me in the bullpen. He's showing me some things. Some new things that I haven't heard before, which is great. He's teaching me how to keep my change up down, which is something I'm definitely working on. He's a real smart guy as far as pitch selection. I'm basically picking his brain as much as possible....trying to learn as much as possible, as far as pitch selection, when to throw which pitches, hitters and tendencies. And he's great with that. I mean, he can pick up exactly what pitch needs to be thrown at what time to a hitter and that's something I'm trying to learn.
- (With various Spanish speaking teammates chatting it up all around us) Are you picking up on the Espanol?
I almost have no choice. A little bit. They're teaching me a little bit. I'd say I'm somewhat conversational.
- What Major League park would you most like to pitch in someday?
Well, I've pitched in two. I pitched in the old Yankee Stadium and I pitched in Citizens Bank in the bullpen. I mean no one was there, no fans, but it was an unbelievable experience. (Yankee Stadium) is historical, monumental. But ya know, hopefully Citizens Bank pretty soon!
- With all the buzz going around after a game like yesterday, in that case would you look for what's being said on the internet or in the papers?
To be honest with you, I haven't had anytime to do any of that. After the game, me and my room mate (Rob Roth) went out to lunch, and after that we kinda just went home and went to sleep, then had to wake up and come here. You don't have much time to sit around on the computer.
Luckily for you folks Jay Ballz has PLENTY of time to sit around the computer. Stay tuned for more BlueClaws features in the coming days.