Former first-rounder Kyle Drabek continued to impress in 2010, winning an Eastern League-best 14 games, tossing a no-hitter and making his Major League debut.
The right-hander, who turns 23 on Wednesday, struck out 132 batters in 162 innings and he posted a 2.94 ERA over 27 starts before his September callup to Toronto.
Drabek spoke to MiLB.com about making the jump to the Majors, fine-tuning his mechanics over the offseason and the type of pitcher he wants to be remembered as. In addition, the two-time Eastern League All-Star shared some secrets from the Fisher Cats locker room, spilling the beans on who likes to hide people's clothes and who keeps the atmosphere loose by dancing to techno music.
MiLB.com: Since being drafted four years ago, how have you handled the pressure of being a first-round pick and the son of a Cy Young winner?
Drabek: It hasn't been too hard. My dad [former Cy Young Award winner Doug Drabek] did a good job of raising me and I was able to talk to him about everything. He just told me to not even think about it and just play baseball. He pretty much taught me everything I know about the game. He taught me how to play from a young age and he's a big reason why I'm where I am.
MiLB.com: In 2008, how worried were you that the Tommy John surgery you needed would stop your career before it even really began?
Drabek: I actually wasn't even that worried. The doctors were telling me that there was a 97 percent chance that I'd be able to come back. And after talking to guys who have had [the surgery] before, I started to feel a little bit better about it.
MiLB.com: What did you learn from your three starts in the Major Leagues this season?
Drabek: Just little things here and there from the players. When I got called up, I tried to learn as much as I could so I could take whatever I learned and take it into next year. The way you handle yourself on the mound is a big part of the game. You have to be able to stay calm out there to help yourself throughout the game.
MiLB.com: What's the biggest difference that you noticed between the Eastern League and the Majors?
Drabek: From [Class A Advanced] to Double-A, I thought it was a big jump in how good the hitters were and how tight the strike zone got. But in the Majors it gets a little bit tighter and the hitters are that little bit better. The hitters are the biggest thing, though. They are all pretty much amazing, that is why they are up there.
MiLB.com: What's your favorite thing to do during the season when you have extra downtime?
Drabek: Play golf. I love playing golf. It's definitely fun when we get a day off to go and play a round of 18. I know what I'm doing and my shots aren't always the best, but I'm okay. I also like listening to music and I'm a big country guy. I kinda like everything, but I prefer country. I'm a big fan of Tim McGraw. He's my favorite.
MiLB.com: What areas do you want to improve to take your game to the next level?
Drabek: I want to be able to be consistent with my windup. To be able to stay consistent so I don't tip pitches and things like that. It's mechanical. I just need to work on that and tune up all my pitches, because if I want to make the club, I have to fight for my spot. That's what I'm going to go into Spring Training and try to do.
MiLB.com: What was the first big-ticket item you purchased after signing your professional baseball contract with the Phillies?
Drabek: Nothing really. I haven't bought anything big and I don't have any plans at this moment. Maybe a few years in the bigs and then we can start talking about houses. My dream car would be a Bentley, though. That is something to look forward to in the future.
MiLB.com: If you had to compare your game to one Major Leaguer, who would it be?
Drabek: I'm not even sure. There's a few guys like Roy Halladay, who is able to go out there and almost throw a no-hitter whenever he wants practically. He's got the stuff to do it. I kinda want to be known as a competitor. Someone who is tough to hit against and he's got that kind of game.
MiLB.com: Inside the Fisher Cats' locker room, who's the biggest prankster, the sharpest dresser and the smoothest dancer?
Drabek: The biggest prankster is [Brian] Jeroloman. He thinks he's pretty good and he's done a few things. He's a big clothes guy so he'll either hide your clothes or put things in them. The sharpest dresser is Darin Mastroianni, because he always dressed very nice even when he didn't have to. I have to go for Eric Thames for the best dancer. It's all fun and games in the locker room, and it was always fun to put on some techno and watch him dance to that. Randy Boone's pretty bad and I'm not very good. There's a few who can't dance at all.
MiLB.com: What is the best advice you have ever been given?
Drabek: My dad always tells me to have fun. It is a business, but it's also a game. If you can't go out there and have fun every day then it shouldn't really be your game.