Notable Quotables: All’s good for Appel so far
By Jake Seiner / MiLB.com
Astros prospect and 2013’s No. 1 overall Draft pick Mark Appel on his pitch counts (Bandits’ Appel records first pro win):
“It hasn’t changed my approach. I felt good. I could’ve gone out there for another one or two innings. Obviously, the game will dictate how long I can pitch. I felt great and wanted to keep going. That’s just who I am as a competitor. You never enjoy being taken out, but those aren’t my decisions to be made. I’m not going to complain about it or anything like that.
“I guess I understand that there’s a bigger picture to everything. Right now, I might want to go out and pitch more, but the Astros have a plan for me for what’s expected from me this summer. I feel like this is a time for me to get acclimated with the Astros organization and really prepare for my first full season next year.”
Giants prospect Chris Stratton on developing his fastball command (Stratton goes eight in longest outing):
“They didn’t necessarily tell me, ‘Hey, go throw all fastballs today.’ I took it upon myself to work on that. I could’ve been in a situation to throw a slider and get the punchout, but I went with the fastball. It was something I wanted to work on. If you can locate that fastball, that’s big. You can’t keep moving up without it.
“It was something where I maybe threw too many fastballs two months ago, but it’s really paying off now. I’m actually getting to work in my other pitches, and I think it’s helped me develop those other pitches.
“When you can get down and away from any hitter [with the fastball], it’s tough to hit so far from your eyes. It looks forever away. It can be your safe pitch in a 2-0 situation. That’s something [pitching coach] Steve Kline talks about a lot, too. You always have to have one pitch in one spot you can go to that won’t be hit hard, will get soft contact. That’s really what I was working on, and it’s paying off now.”
Richmond pitching coach Ross Grimsley on pitching prospect Edwin Escobar (Escobar throws seven one-hit innings):
“He’s been a breath of fresh air, to say the least. He’s a guy that has come in throwing. Velocity-wise he’s in the low to mid 90s at times, but the big thing is he keeps the ball down. At that velocity with some movement, he keeps the ball at the knees. When he does go up, he gets swings and misses. They’ll chase balls out of the zone. He’s just been fantastic commanding his fastball.
“That’s the first step in any pitcher’s progression. If you can command the fastball, the other stuff will come. He’s done a great job working to the outside part of the plate and keeping it at the knees.
“He’s way ahead of schedule, from what I’ve seen. I know we had [Madison] Bumgarner here several years ago, and I can kind of compare them. He’s like a mini-Bumgarner to me. Just like I said, a tweak here and there in his delivery will affect his command of his offspeed stuff and possible his fastball command, make that better. He keeps balls down, and he works the outside part of the plate very well for a kid his age.
“He has a kind of slurve, somewhere between a curve and a slider, and he has an outstanding changeup. It’s a little inconsistent at times. He’ll overthrow it, and he does some other things we’re going to address. He’s done fantastic with the location at times, too. I think a few little tweaks here and there in his delivery will make him more consistent.
“He slows down on some of his offspeed pitches. I think when he gets the same delivery all the time, he will be even better and will be better against better hitting players. He slows his delivery down at times with the change and the breaking ball, and that’s something you don’t want to do.
“I think, like I said, for a kid who’s 21-years-old, he’s way ahead of schedule. I think he’s going to be an outstanding big league pitcher as soon as all his stuff comes together.”
Portland manager Kevin Boles on Boston prospect Henry Owens Double-A debut (Owens strikes out 11 in Double-A debut):
“If he had any jitters, he sure didn’t show it. That’s one thing. He had a plan. His mix for a [21-year-old], to be so unpredictable with that three-pitch mix was very impressive. The fastball, he commanded his fastball. He elevated it a couple of times and he leveraged it down into the zone.
“His breaking ball was above average tonight, had some sharp, downing curve. The arm speed with all three of his pitches was very consistent, and that’s very impressive.”
Dayton pitching coach Tony Fossas on Reds prospect Amir Garrett’s mutli-sport career (Reds’ Garrett fires on all cylinders):
“First of all, he’s a Major League talent. He’s very young and has very little experience in baseball. He’s been a basketball player just about all his life. That’s the situation, and only he can answer for that. He needs, in my opinion, to take baseball full-time. I think he could one day be a Major League pitcher. It takes time.
“It takes time to develop your delivery where your delivery can be consistent with all your pitches. He has a tendency to change his delivery with his changeup and his curveball. It becomes where he’s throwing a fastball with one delivery and the curve and change with another.
“I never really discussed basketball with him so I can’t really speak to that. I feel that if he’s going to continue his baseball career, he needs to dedicate himself full-time as a pitcher to be able to develop those secondary pitches, throw them for strikes and understand the feel for pitching and the running game.
“There are so many different things that go along to be able to pitch in the big leagues and slow things down when things are tough. Today, it was an easy game for him. He just dominated with the fastball. You can’t do that in the big leagues. He needs more pitches. Speaking in terms of how to be successful at the next level, he’s just breaking the ice.
“He’s definitely a big league talent. He has big league stuff. When you have big league stuff, from there what you need is innings, time and experience. You need to be able to jump levels. He needs to go to High-A, Double-A.
“He needs to be here for a full year, have a full season and have him throw 140 innings to make the jump to Double-A. Right now, from what I see, he’s only doing a little of what he could do. To me, definitely, you need to put your time in to be able to develop the attributes you need to be an MLB pitcher.
“He’s a real quality young man. He works extremely hard. You really have to give him a lot of credit on that. He’s a young man who doesn’t really have any time off. Last year, I had him for two or three starts in Billings, and then he went to play basketball, then he played a full season and then he was right into baseball. His body hasn’t had the chance to rest. He’s really a full-time go.
“I believe that a young man needs two to three months of off time as the body continues to grow and heal to go through a full season. Talking about Minor League Baseball, you’re taking bus rides and there are all types of different hours. There are a lot of things going on at the lower levels, and I should say in the Minor Leagues, that you don’t see in the Major Leagues. He needs to experience that long season to go through the ups and downs of a full season to continue to develop.”
- Posted on August 7, 2013 at 3:10 pm
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- Tags: Amir Garrett, Augusta GreenJackets, Boston Red Sox, Chris Stratton, Cincinnati Reds, Dayton Dragons, Edwin Escobar, Henry Owens, Houston Astros, Kevin Boles, Mark Appel, Portland Sea Dogs, Quad Cities River Bandits, Richmond Flying Squirrels, Ross Grimsley, San Francisco Giants, Tony Fossas