Pitching through adversity has forced Daniel Gossett to develop mental toughness this summer, something that will be a valuable tool as he pursues his goal of reaching the Major Leagues.
Gossett, a right-hander with Class A Beloit, has been working on his delivery and developing secondary pitches in his first full professional season after the A's made him their second-round pick in the 2014 Draft.
The 6-foot-2 Gossett's numbers this year may look underwhelming -- he's 4-10 with a 4.81 ERA for a Snappers squad that is 40-61 overall and 12-20 in the second half.
But Gossett has fought through Beloit's struggles to forge progress. In his last six starts, he is 1-3 with a 2.91 ERA. His WHIP is 1.47, but in the past six games, that has shrunk to 1.02.
"I'm just staying within myself and letting my pitches work," Gossett said. "I'm using a two-seamer and a little sinker a little bit more. That's helped out a lot. I'm trusting that my stuff is good enough."
A former Clemson University star, Gossett has had plenty of challenges to confront.
"I haven't had my best stuff this year," Gossett said. "I've had to learn how to pitch, and that's helped me out a lot. Battling the elements, it was freezing at the beginning of the year and it's blazing hot now. It's a mental grind."
Beloit pitching coach Steve Connelly said that the Snappers are a young team full of fight and effort. And though the Snappers make progress every day, errors in the field have made development challenging for pitchers.
"From a pitching standpoint, it's been tough," Connelly said. "We're a very young team. Usually, when you get a young team, that comes with errors. So these guys have learned to pitch through adversity."
Adversity means that Beloit pitchers frequently had to get four or five outs in an inning. Early in the season, it was particularly a struggle, but Connelly has seen his pitchers learn and develop.
"One of the biggest pleasures to see is how mentally tough these kids have become," Connelly said. "They get an error behind them, or two errors behind them, or a play not made, and you never see slouched shoulders. You see them wanting the ball, and picking their teammates up. They're making pitches to prevent damage from happening. I feel the pitching staff as a whole has come into their own."
Gossett said that the focus of the Minors as opposed to the highly-competitive emphasis on winning at Clemson has been a tough transition.
"I went to a pretty big school, and a lot of people were very invested in the outcome of each game," Gossett said. "You wanted to win every game as a team. When you get to the [Minors], it's not so much about the team winning, it's more developing individuals. Sometimes, we struggle playing 140-some odd games. You have to think about the bigger picture and you have to think about your development. You try to think more about your success in three years. That's probably the hardest thing. You have to stay with the process."
Gossett has had the focus to add pitches that complement his Major League slider.
"You don't want to be reliant on just one pitch," Gossett said. "I was the guy who was going to throw you sliders. Now, I want to be able to work a whole repertoire. I want batters to think about four pitches, not just two."
According to Connelly, Gossett is making significant progress in that regard.
"Daniel's changeup is a fantastic pitch," Connelly said. "I would call it a plus changeup. He's got a good breaking ball. What we've worked on, for the most part, is developing more action with his fastball. It has a tendency to stay true. It doesn't have a lot of action, but he's come a long way in developing his two-seam fastball. That's a really good pitch for him of late.
"He's got a little bit of an unorthodox delivery. He struggled with putting too much effort out with his delivery," Connelly added. "Sometimes he would have difficulty repeating his delivery. For the most part, our primary focus this year has been staying within himself, staying within his posture ... and really working on being able to repeat his delivery. There have been minor tweaks so he can repeat his delivery consistently."
Rough road: Fort Wayne came off of a 2-7 road trip, but the silver lining for the TinCaps was strong pitching. The Padres affiliate's pitchers combined for a 2.34 ERA in the nine road games (19 earned runs in 73 innings pitched). Fort Wayne committed nine errors in the nine road games, which led to eight unearned runs. The TinCaps' bats were quiet, as the lineup only averaged 2.3 runs a game on the road trip.
Short stay: Shortstop Alex Bregman, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2015 Draft, has been promoted to Class A Advanced Lancaster in the California League. Bregman, the Astros' No. 1 pick, hit .259 with five doubles and one homer in 29 games for the River Bandits.
Roadblock: Bowling Green put the brakes on West Michigan on Tuesday in a 2-0 victory when Yonny Chirinos (seven innings) and reliever Kyle Bird (two innings) combined to prevent West Michigan from getting a baserunner past first. Chirinos earned the victory and is now 3-1 0.75 ERA. The game took just two hours and six minutes.
Curt Rallo is a contributor to MiLB.com.