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?
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.