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Vince Horsman is the pitching coach for your Lansing Lugnuts. I asked him about a few pitchers when I was in Lansing last weekend.

BB: Let's start with a couple of guys who aren't here, Alberto Tirado and Jairo Labourt. What went wrong and what do they have to do to get back here?

VH: With Tirado he just lacked command and it got the point where he was struggling and he was lacking in confidence. His confidence started to wane a bit and it gave him to chance to go start again, a fresh start, and it was probably the best thing for him. With Labourt he was not used to throwing in cold weather and lack of command for a guy who does command the ball well. I think things snowballed a bit on him too, he needed a fresh start as well.

BB: So it was like this year was a trial and when they come back next year they will know what to expect?

VH: Absolutely.

BB: The hitters they are facing in Vancouver should be similar to those they face here, right?

VH: I don't necessarily agree with that because I have had guys who came here from Vancouver with unbelievable numbers and then they find out this league is a little bit different. I don't know if it is because this is full season and they get to pitch in meaningful games in April instead of June, and the grind, the 28 starts every fifth day, and the travel on the buses. But it was a good learning experience for those guys so when they come back here next year they are prepared for it and they know what to expect and what to do to be successful.

BB: Jeremy Gabryszwski is starting today, how has he developed this year and what are you looking for him to do today?

VH: I think Jeremy is just realizing the pitcher he needs to be in order to be successful. He has to be a command guy and when he is on he just lives down and away with all of his three pitches. When he doesn't command the zone and leaves the ball up he is like everyone else, he gets hit. He is not overpowering, he just needs to pitch savvy out there and command his pitches.

BB: And what about tomorrows starter Shane Dawson?

VH: I like Shane. Shane is a good competitor, very athletic off the mound. He has a good feel for what he is doing out there it just a matter of getting acclimated to the routines for his first full year out here.

BB: You preach fastball command, up, down, in and out. Is Shane doing that?

VH: If you watch Shane he will frustrate you because he will throw one fastball at 82 and the next fastball at 92. I'd say are you doing that on purpose and he goes yeah! He adds and subtracts off his fastball. He has some savvy for a young pitcher. Shane's command is not as good as it needs to be but last game he commanded the ball very well and the game before he was up in the zone and he got hit. I think he realises that what works at the lower levels won't work here and if you face the wrong club on a given night they will wear you out. The model of consistency is pitch down in the strikezone so you can pitch up when you want to because there is no money to be made upstairs no matter how hard you throw, especially if you are a starter.

BB: Jimmy Cordero throws hard, what are his secondary pitches like?

VH: His curveball is good, he just has a hard time getting it over the plate consistently. And I know he has a little bit of a changeup but Jimmy's success is all based on his fastball command. He doesn't have to be pinpoint, when he is down he is very good but when he starts sitting mid-thigh, as hard as he throws, it's just glorified batting practice and guys square him up a good bit. Jimmy is learning how to harness that good arm and incorporate some command with it and when he does that he is very, very good.

Thanks to Vince for talking with Batters Box.

I have heard Vince use the "there is no money to be made upstairs" line before and some pitchers have said it back to me. It is his way of telling them that if you want to get paid as a major league pitcher you better get the ball down in the zone because if you pitch up you will get hit. That saying does get the guys attention.

An Interview with Vince Horsman | 8 comments | Create New Account
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Mike Green - Thursday, July 24 2014 @ 12:06 PM EDT (#290365) #
The best pitchers can and do pitch up sometimes.  Pitching is an art; hard and fast rules are a recipe for mediocrity.  It probably is the case that most of pitchers in Lansing currently need to be down in the zone the great majority of the time.  Aaron Sanchez, Marcus Stroman or Noah Syndergaard all need to pitch up some of the time to be as effective as they can be. 

Thanks for this, Gerry.
bpoz - Thursday, July 24 2014 @ 01:02 PM EDT (#290370) #
Thanks Gerry. We were all disappointed with the Lansing young arms this year. I was. So quite a few may repeat Lansing to start next year. IMO that could be a lot of pitchers. With M Castro, J Labourt, S Dawson & C De Jong going 5 Innings in some starts this year, maybe we do not do tandem pitching next year.
Gerry, the 82 mph FB was Dawson's change up right?
Gerry - Thursday, July 24 2014 @ 02:24 PM EDT (#290378) #
No the 82 mph was a fastball. Dawson was changing speeds. Dawson also tries to throw his curveball as slow as possible, sometimes in the 50's. I think he is experimenting with speeds and trying to deceive the hitters.
MatO - Thursday, July 24 2014 @ 02:40 PM EDT (#290384) #
Dave Stieb used to do that with his fastball. I think he called it a "dead fish".
Thomas - Thursday, July 24 2014 @ 04:07 PM EDT (#290403) #

Based on Horsman's comments, it seems like Dawson's experimenting with his fastball speeds is something the Blue Jays aren't actively encouraging him to do. Is that an inaccurate impression?

Gerry - Thursday, July 24 2014 @ 04:09 PM EDT (#290405) #
Yes Thomas I got the sense from Vince that "you can try these things now and get away with them but you won't later so stop messing around".
greenfrog - Thursday, July 24 2014 @ 11:18 PM EDT (#290419) #
Thank you, Gerry, for these interviews.
Lugnut Fan - Friday, July 25 2014 @ 07:53 AM EDT (#290433) #

Thank you for this Gerry,

I would agree with Vince's assesment that the pitchers in Lansing need to live down.  There really isn't anyone overpowering in Lansing right now.  Tirado and LaBourt may be able to live up one day, but I would like to see them work on the fastball command and the changing speeds with the fastball as well.

I think struggles are a good thing.  What you're seeing De Jong go through and what Tirado and LaBourt go through I think are valuable learning experiences.  It isn't much fun to go through, but it preaches the importance of location.  The old saying I've always heard is "velocity get you drafted, location gets you a career".


An Interview with Vince Horsman | 8 comments | Create New Account
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