Last season was big for Pirates lefty Joshua Poytress.
After coming out of short-season ball in 2011, where he pitched thirty three innings for the New York Penn League State College Spikes, Poytress, 22, had to be ready to take on a heavier workload. He did a fine job, splitting time between High-A and Low-A, as well as recovering from an early-season injury to his forearm.
He began the season in the Low-A South Atlantic League, going 2-0 with a 0.79 ERA in eleven innings for the West Virginia Power. He spent the majority of the season with the Bradenton Marauders of the Advanced-A Florida State League. In 41.2 innings of relief, he gave up 36 hits, 26 walks, with 29 strikeouts, and picked up a save.
Here's what he had to say about last season, the off-season, and what he's focused on heading into Spring Training.
"I've always started out slow getting command of my change-up. It's a good pitch for me, but I struggle with it starting out. I have to show it off while I'm [at spring training]."
"I struggle to get finger command of [the changeup]. It still has life and movement starting out, but the command part takes time. I had a little injury [early in season], and then I lost it again. Lately, it's been easier to get a feel for it."
"Adjusting was [the most difficult]. Hitters that I faced more would catch on and I had to counter that. I got the hang of it. But it was good experience for me. I was only in Low-A [short time]. High-A was a little bit tougher. They were seeing me more often."
"I was able to work my off-speed pitches off of my fastball. Even when I wasn't ahead, then I could drop a cutter or curveball in and keep hitters off balance. I used all of my pitches in any count."
"My fastball averaged about the same speed or a little bit higher. But the difference was that I could maintain it longer, it didn't drop [in velocity] as far. My command was better with my fastball and all of my pitches."
Biggest key for 2013
"Fastball location and more consistency. I can hit that spot, but I need to get it to where I can hit it ten times out of ten. That's what will get me the farthest."
Also read this interview with him from April 2012- http://www.highheelsonthefield.net/my_weblog/2012/04/pirates-joshua-poytress-makes-early-jump.html
Follow him on Twitter @Poys_Tres_29