New Page 1
Timber Rattlers pitching coach Chris Hook is getting ready to open his second
. He has kept busy this past
off-season. There has been
Instructional League, his work with At The Yard, a pitching symposium with the
Brewers, and just his all around creativity to keep him busy.
Before he heads out
to Spring Training, he has to make it through The Interrogation Room.
One of the stories that fans of the
Brewers have been following is the pitching
symposium in January that included: club officials as well as pitching coaches, trainers and medical
personnel from throughout the system. What was the result of this
A. Basically, we discussed as a
whole how we can do a better job of developing quality long term major league
pitchers including what kind of pitcher we want to draft, how we develop that
pitcher and how we can maintain his health for the long term.
Q. It was noted that pitching coaches could submit topics for
discussion. What were some of your topics?
A. The great thing about this
symposium was that everyone had a chance for input. I mentioned topics
like max pitch count per inning and a more flexible total pitch count. All
things were discussed as a group and in the end Gord [Ash], Lee Tunnell, and
Reid [Nichols] will come up with the protocol in which we will follow as a
pitching development staff.
Q. Rick Peterson is the new pitching coach for the Brewers
and he has a system that: is based on
biomechanics, which focuses on assessing a pitcher's chance of injury while also
maximizing performance. Can you put that into terms so easy that a
radio announcer can understand it?
A. Biomechanics is the reading of
a stress test done on the pitching delivery. With this approach, techniques that
you might see used in video games and movies will be incorporated into looking
at pitchers' delivery by using silver reflective balls and a body suit. A
computer will analyze the delivery and point out deficiencies and stress points.
Once the organization has this type of information we can determine if we should
change delivery, workload, side work, etc. I have not been associated with a lot
of this testing but I understand the concept and look forward to learning more
about it as we move to integrate more into our Pitching Development system.
week, we asked Corey Kemp for his opinion on the development of Wily
Peralta, Cody Scarpetta, and Efrain Nieves -- since those are the three pitchers
from last year's team who are getting a lot of publicity from prospect magazines
and websites -- from a catcher's perspective. From your point of view
as a pitching coach, what did you think of the development of those three?
A. Wily made a lot of progress in
terms of having an understanding of what it takes to prepare to be a major
league starter. Obviously the stuff is there but I think he will look back to
the '09 season and know that is where he started to understand what he had to
do to prepare physically and mentally to tackle a full season. If he can
continue to get better with core stability I think we will see some wonderful
things out of Wily.
Cody Scarpetta developed as a professional throughout
the year. He made adjustments to his work routine; he made some slight delivery
adjustments and, most of all, in game adjustments such as controlling the rhythm
of the game and learning how to finish off innings. Cody has a slight advantage
over some other 21-year-olds out there - he knows what a professional pitcher
goes through and, of course, his Dad has helped with that. Cody also made some
adjustments in Instructional League that I think will help with his breaking
ball consistency which he struggled with at times this past year.
Efrain really had a mentally tough
season and for a 19 year old kid he really stuck it out well. I had to
constantly remind myself that he was 19 and to really stay focused on the big
picture with him and not what might be unfolding in front of him at that moment.
He was a joy to work with, always a smile on his face and he is a kid that wants
to get better. I think he understands now that being a command guy... who he is;
he will have to be able to repeat his delivery and location with a little more
consistency to continue to make progress. I know he did well after he left
us for the World Cup and I hope he continues that path.
Q. The three pitchers mentioned above got a lot of the off-season press.
Who are some of the overlooked guys on the staff from last year who may be
making some noise in the Brewers' system this year?
A. The one guy that really stands
out to me is "Big Fred". Evan [Frederickson] had some delivery issues that
did take some time to iron out. During Instructional League he was able to take
on some late season delivery adjustments and just go out and throw and the
results were fantastic. He was hardly recognizable! The great thing about that
is you could really start to see a guy who was not only confident but
comfortable in his delivery because it felt good. Sometimes a whole season can
be turned around by one pitch... and with Evan I think he would probably say he
felt that turnaround in late August.
When Jeff Isom was in The
Interrogation Room earlier this year, he was asked about '09 draft
picks Eric Arnett and Kyle Heckathorn possibly being Timber Rattlers in 2010.
Instead of asking you if Arnett and Heckathorn will be in
, I'll ask you this: What do you think of those two pitchers from
what you may have seen yourself or heard from others in the organization?
A. I think they are really big
humans! I really enjoyed getting to know each of them in Instructional League
and much like the guys previously mentioned they have a lot of work to do. They
also need to learn what it takes to be big league starters. Will the
organization have them at Time Warner in 2010? Time will tell but I think both
of them will end up where the organization feels that can achieve a certain
innings mark and do it with moderate success as they develop.
You're on twitter
You are obviously Chris and ATY stands for At The Yard. What is At
A. AT THE YARD has been a lot of
things for me. It started in 1997 as a website as I was winding down my playing
career - it turned into a magazine in 2003 that was distributed throughout Minor
League Baseball until 2006.
THE YARD is also a
located in my hometown in the Northern Kentucky/Cincinnati area.
ATY is in its 8th year of developing young players in NKY and I (along with
former Big Leaguer, Brandon Berger and a host of other staff) enjoy working with
the young kids immensely. It creates a nice balance for me and provides another
way that I can help make a difference in my community.
On twitter - I think I am finally
getting into a groove! It was hard to grasp at first but I am enjoying
connecting with people and sharing some of my ideas and thoughts on the game I
care deeply about.
Jeff and I are big fans of
technology and computers, it wouldn't be an odd thing for us to be on the
internet looking for the next tech goodie or concept.
Q. Have you collected/designed any more Hook-A-Tees?
Man oh Man, I had to shut down production because of
overwhelming demand. Once you released
that pic on your blog... Hook-A-Tee HQ's phones and emails were
blowing up! I had to shut it down to make sure I maintained focus on developing
's next pitching superstars. We did get a few W's out of the
Hook-A-Tees though, didn't we?! :)
Q. The bullpens at Time Warner Cable Field will be beyond the outfield
fence this season. Would you use a bullpen car at any time to get to
or from the new bullpen location?
Be sure to crank up the heat during the first month of the season so I can
defrost my toes. In all seriousness we'll have to see how that works out - as
long as my starter doesn't mind, I don't.
Q. How much are you looking forward the to 2010 baseball
A. I am looking forward to coming back. By the looks of
the Instructional League, our scouting staff has once again brought some nice
looking players into the organization and our young pitching looks very good. We
will see what we break with in April and who goes where... I look forward to
developing some new guys as well as winning some ball games for all those crazy,
tailgating T-Rat fans!
Past editions of The
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.