Wednesday, July 5, 2017

IronPigs pitching coach Dave Lundquist talks Appel, Thompson, Eshelman, others

Dave Lundquist, image- Jay Floyd
Recently, I talked with the pitching coach of the Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs Dave Lundquist.  Among the topics of discussion were well-regarded Phillies pitching prospects Mark Appel, Jake Thompson, Tom Eshelman, Edubray Ramos and much more.

Lundquist pitched in the major leagues with the White Sox and the Padres prior to joining the coaching ranks.  He has been with the Phillies developmental staff since 2008.

Read ahead for my full interview...

-Mark Appel has gotten back on track of late (posting a 2.20 ERA over his last seven games, after two weak starts in May).  What have you seen from him to help him improve?

He started out-- he had some good games early and he hit a rough patch.  For me really, he was just trying to do too much.  But he's made some good adjustments in his delivery, calmed himself down a bit and is throwing a lot more strikes.  He has gotten his secondary pitches a lot sharper, able to get them in and out of the zone and able to get the right reactions from hitters.

-Jake Thompson's had a couple shots at the majors and I'm sure that's very exciting for everyone around here.  He probably hasn't enjoyed the kind of success he'd have liked to (allowing five earned runs in five innings over three appearances).  How do feel about his struggles and what are your thoughts on his season?

Well, I mean it's been not what we were wanting, not what he was hoping for coming into this season.  You know, really just consistency has been the big thing with him.  He's had days where he's been pretty sharp and days where the command is not where it needs to be.  He's aware of it and he's doing things-- you know, I think he's on the right track now, getting things-- getting his delivery in order and getting himself back in the zone.

-Early impressions of Brandon Leibrandt?

I like what I saw.  You've got a strike thrower that has a good feel for secondary stuff.  Change up's good.  I like his curve ball and cutter.  I like him.  He's aggressive.  He goes right after guys and looks like he's got a feel for pitching, a good idea of what he's doing out there.

-Piggy backing on those guys, with all the roster movements, guys moving around, obviously, that's the nature of these levels and what goes on here, but does that make your job harder at all, or can that be something that you thrive on?

Well, it's kind of fun.  The job here is to have the guys ready to go to the major leagues and when they're called on, hopefully, they'll stay.  But, you have a plan of guys that can go in and some guys that can come of from Double-A and have stepped in and, you know, Cesar Ramos went from the bullpen to a starting role and he has helped us out there.

-Tom Eshelman's another guy that joined the team from Reading during the season and he has enjoyed plenty off success here (6-2 record, 2.15 ERA, 0.93 WHIP in 10 starts).  What can you share about him?

The numbers aren't lying.  What he's doing here has been pretty good.  With him, you've got a guy that's very aggressive, all over the strike zone.  Can pitch out of the zone, when he wants.  A lot of late movement.  You get some hitters in fastball counts that are looking for fastballs and he throws it and he gets bad swings.  It's something special there.  Has a feel for his secondary stuff and he, as well, for a young guy, he knows what he's doing.  Has a good feel for pitching.

-Reliever Jesen Therrien, I have seen at a few levels.  He might be an underrated name with the regard that he gets.  He's had a lot of success (2-1 record, nine saves, 1.55 ERA, 55 K's and just six walks in 46 1/3 IP in 32 combined games at two levels this year), throws hard and everything.  Can you talk about him a bit?

I like what he's done as well.  He's come up here and he made a very good impression immediately.  It's a heavy fastball with a lot of movement.  It cuts and sinks and he's got a plus slider that can finish hitters.  I think it's going to be a name that people are going to come to know.  He's got some nice stuff.

-This club sports an All-Star closer, Pedro Beato.  At 30 years old, is he a veteran leader for the pitching staff?

Yeah, Beato is definitely one of those guys.  Him and (Cesar) Ramos and (Pat) Venditte.  I hope I'm not missing anyone.  You've got some veteran guys that have been around and they steer the guys in the right direction.  All three out of the bullpen.  And now with Ramos in the rotation, he sees over that group.

-Are there instances where you see a veteran help a lesson sink in for one of your players and kind of take a load off your shoulders?  Jake Fox would talk about that a lot, that the tips can have more of an impact coming from someone that's still on the field doing the same thing.

It does.  It happens a lot.  We can hit 'em with stuff and drill 'em with the same message and, you know, even myself (when I was) a player, you hear it from a coach everyday, but when you hear it from a teammates, it hits a little differently.  So, I'm all for it if a guy has good info and a veteran guy's got advice for a young player, I'm all for it.

-You mentioned Cesar Ramos.  Is there anything he's working to improve on?

Right now, he's-- he's a veteran guy.  He knows what he's doing.  We're just trying to build him up and just trying to stretch him out into that starting role.  His stuff is fine.

-How about Edubray Ramos.  Raced his way to the big leagues, had some troubles there and is back with the IronPigs now.  What are your thoughts on him?

Love him.  I've had a chance to work with him a little bit the past couple years and he looks pretty good.  He had a little rough patch up there in Philly, but we're hoping to get him back on the right track and gets some confidence built up and get him right back out there.
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