Thursday, June 4, 2015

Threshers Quotables: Mora, Pullin and Leiter talk successful seasons

After their top offensive contributor J.P. Crawford was promoted this week, some fans may have wondered which remaining players could be catalysts for the Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers lineup going forward. Middle infielder Angelo Mora now stands as the team's leading hitter with a .350 average while outfielder Andrew Pullin seems to be the club's most consistent batter, as he's tied for the team lead in hits (51) and total bases (72).

I heard from both offensive stars this week to gain some insight on their success at the plate and also got righty pitcher Mark Leiter Jr. to speak about his recent impressive efforts on the mound. Read ahead for those quotes.

Angelo Mora with Lakewood in 2013, image- Jay Floyd
-Mora, who is a 22-year-old Dominican Republic native, spoke on if players at higher levels inspire him to achieve bigger things and how his coaches on the field, and one off the field, have helped him...

"Yes, they inspire many baseball players.  And the coaches are very good and I also ask God to help me to keep working hard and keep hustling and keep a positive mind."

-With the help of a translator, Mora also shared some thoughts on the biggest difference for him this year, as his batting average has taken a considerable jump above the .227 mark he posted at the same level last year...

"The most important factor is to be on the ball.  If the ball is a strike, I concentrate on hitting it and put the ball in play no matter were it goes as long as you get a hit."

-Pullin, a 21-year-old 5th round draft pick from 2012, spoke about making the switch to the outfield, where he played in his youth, after spending two seasons in the pro ranks at second base...

"I made the switch during instructional league last fall. The coordinators talked to me about moving out there.

I was fine with the switch. It doesn't really matter to me if I'm playing infield or outfield as long as I'm playing. I'm pretty comfortable in the outfield because I played it my whole life."

-Pullin also spoke about his success and consistency for the Threshers...

"I feel like the season is going well. I feel like I have made good progress in the outfield from when I first started. It's feeling more natural.  Everything about my game is the still the same. The only thing that has changed is my position." 

-Leiter, who was a 22nd round draft pick out of NJIT two years ago, has been sharp since joining the Threshers' starting rotation. In six games since moving out of the bullpen, the 24-year-old has a 2-1 record with a 1.73 ERA and a .190 batting average against. Leiter offered some remarks about his recent output, giving credit to his battery mate...

"It's been a lot of fun.  Very happy with how things have gone.  Just trying to continue it and find ways to keep improving.  It's a great group of guys down here and (catcher Andrew) Knapp has done a great job calling and controlling the games.  That helps make you feel comfortable on the mound." 

-Leiter also spoke about the other pitchers on the club and how they feed off of one another...

We have a really, really good pitching staff down here and it's great to have that type of competition amongst each other.  Keeps everyone focused and pushing each other. 

With a 27-26 record, the Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers sit in second place, five games back in the Florida State League North Division. 
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