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PhoulBallz Interview: Lehigh Valley pitching coach Steve Schrenk

Recently I chatted with Lehigh Valley pitching coach about his staff.  Topics included in the discussion were Ramon Rosso, Enyel De Los Santos, Cole Irvin, JoJo Romero, Josh Tols, as well as catcher Deivy Grullon and more.

Read ahead for that interview...


Deivy Grullon, image- Jay Floyd
-Catcher Deivi Grullon is having a very good season, continuing his development.  How has Deivi been for you this year?

Great. Had him for the last four years. I’ve had him for the past four years. Every year he gets better. He’s gotten better calling games. He’s gotten better working with the staff. He’s getting to know these guys. He knows a lot of them. And he’s been hitting, ripping the cover off the ball. He made the All-Star team, so—tremendous job blocking. Does a good job, I mean, some of the stuff, the new analytical stuff, he’s learning, as far as the heat maps and different things, but he’s doing a good job with them.

-JoJo Romero has a rough go of it here and was moved back to Double-A Reading.  Since he's returned here to Triple-A have you seen improvements made for him?

Definitely. I definitely saw a jump in velocity. Delivery’s smoother, cleaner. Using his slider more and trusting his fastball. I think that was the biggest thing. And he’s throwing it over the plate. That and the velo, so from the time I saw him (before the demotion) and the time I saw him when he came back, big improvements. So, hopefully, he can take off and keep doing what he’s doing.

-Ramon Rosso enjoyed a lot of success at lower levels and started to have a buzz about him building.  What are your thoughts on Ramon?  Is he buzz worthy?

Yeah, definitely. Size, right-handed, working on his off-speed pitches, taking his delivery and cleaning that up a little bit. There’s some things he needs to clean up here and there to make it a little more consistent, so he throws more strikes and has the ability to throw more strikes. But, he’s what you look for in a big right-handed pitcher. Size. He has three weapons. And he’s not afraid. I like the way he goes out and attacks hitters.

-What kind of feedback do you share with the guys that come to this level and struggle? The Leftwich’s, the Dohy’s, the Brogdon’s that breeze through Double-A, then come here and kind of run into the different ball, the different seams, their ERA shoots up. What kind of feedback are you giving them?

This is what they’re gonna face in the big leagues. The guys are gonna get better and the baseballs are the baseballs. There’s nothing we can do about them. They are what they are. But, they’re gonna learn. They have to learn. I think the only way they’re going to get better and learn is to go through the process. And that’s what all of them are doing. And they’re gonna have bumps in the roads, but I want to find out now how they’re going to react to bumps in the roads at Triple-A, not while they’re in the big leagues. I think that’s the key to the statement. But they did good. They earned their way here. They pitched well. They gotta continue it. Like you said, all the intangible things that we can’t control—they (only) need to control what they CAN control and they’ve done a good job with that. And they’re gonna have bumps, but I think every one of them have improved at some degree. Gone backwards a little bit, and gone forwards, gone backwards and gone forwards, but I think by the end of the year they’ll all be going forward in the right direction.


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