Pirates Prospect Interview: Kyle McPherson

Kyle McPherson

Right-hander Kyle McPherson is putting together a pretty nice season. The 23-year old is a combined 11-5 at Single A Bradenton and Double A Altoona with a 3.02 ERA. PiratesDugout.com's George Von Benko spoke with McPherson recently.

GVB – Are you pleased with your season thus far?

KM – Yes sir I am. Starting off in Bradenton I had high hopes coming out of spring training that I would start off with the Altoona club, but once I realized I was going to start at High A I just figured I needed to continue to produce numbers and do what I needed to do and control the things I could control to get out of there and it wasn't much longer after that I got the call up to Double A and I continue to focus on the little things and not really let the overall atmosphere of being in Double A and being at the highest level that I've pitched at interfere. I just really tried to focus on the little things and keep working on the things I needed to work on to reach my overall goal.

GVB – Was there a noticeable difference in after you got to Double A as far as what you were facing at High Single A?

KM – There was a slight difference, the guys in Double A have had a few hundred more at bats than most of your High A guys and with that comes more experience and they've seen a little bit more pitching and it's more challenging and that's what I was looking for to challenge myself on the way up and Double A has definitely done that and I feel after each start that I really went out there and got better at something.

GVB – Your strikeout to walk ratio is excellent – 20 walks and 116 strike outs, you have to feel good about those numbers?

KM – Yes sir definitely, I pride myself on attacking hitters. It's a mentality that has been instilled in this organization from our short season team and GCL team all the way up. The ability to command the strike zone puts the hitter at a disadvantage and anytime I have an opportunity to do that – that's my main goal there to do that and that results in a high strikeout to low walk ratio.

GVB – Talk about the pitches you throw and what is your comfort level with those pitches?

KM – I throw a four seam fastball and it's my primary pitch and I'll move in and out to righties or lefties and I don't have a fear of pitching in to guys. I also have a sinker, a two seam fastball , that I use for affect to really focus on getting the ball on the ground when I need to. I throw a change up to get them off my fastball and the speed differential there helps. I also throw a curve ball that I use to really bury down in the dirt to get some swings and misses as well as get strike one on the hitter.

GVB – Do you have a good comfort level with all those pitches at this stage of your career?

KM – I would say the sinker has still got some work to become more effective. Just staying through that pitch and letting the grip take over more than me supplying the action, that's the hill I'm trying to climb over right now and I really need to get out there and throw the pitch and not try and manipulate it. The rest of my pitches I feel pretty confident I can throw in any count, especially with the change up and the breaking ball, being able to locate the pitch and not try and do too much with the pitch. Throw it to the mid or the tip of the plate and let the hitter do the rest.

GVB – What is velocity on the fastball?

KM – This year it has been all the way up to 97. A median range for me is anywhere from 90 to 95 on just about every start, but that's just what I've been told. I'm not really concerned if it's been any higher than that or lower.

GVB – What areas of your game has the organization told you to work on?

KM – Really it's just mentality and they just keep preaching just go out there and try to close down innings, pretend you are a closer and take that mentality out there with you and let that care over to your starting mentality. The tendency for starters is a laid back mindset that you have – you know five, six or seven innings and get the job done instead of going out there and attacking each inning. That's what they've really preached to me and besides that it's just go out there and compete and let the athletic ability take over.

GVB – Are you happy with your progress through the system and do you have any sort of timetable for your progress?

KM – I remember telling myself coming into the season that I wanted break at least Double A out of spring training, if not then High A and try and turn some heads and take it step by step. Overall progress everything happened pretty quick coming up to Double A. This isn't an overall goal for me, I had high hopes and a goal set that I would really like an opportunity for a September call up. Right now I'm trying to put myself in a position to do that with each start.

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