You were acquired by the Marlins at the trade deadline last season from the Rangers. Did you have any idea there was a chance you would be moved or was it a complete surprise? Going with that, how does it work when you’re traded? Which team makes the arrangements for you to get from one place to the next?
The trade was a wild experience. I had no idea I was going to be involved in any trades. I got a phone call on the way to the ballpark one day saying I had been traded. They said I no longer played with the Rangers organization. After that phone call, I was officially part of the Miami Marlins. The Marlins managed all my travel arrangements as well as my flight information and hotel stays.
Once you joined the Marlins organization, your walk rate went down considerably. Did the Marlins coaches and staff have you focus on anything different or give you any new advice as compared to the Rangers coaches and staff?
The walk rate was nothing more than a coincidence. Both coaching staffs taught me things I’ll carry until my career is over. Every coach I’ve had in professional baseball has done nothing but help me.
You were a relief pitcher in college and continue to work in that role in the minors and will presumably be a reliever when you reach the majors. Did you always know that you wanted to be a reliever or did things just kind of fall into place that way? Would you ever want to give starting a shot?
I started as a high schooler. Once I got to college I understood my role. I wanted to be the best reliever in the country. I wanted to be in the game when the game was on the line, the toughest situations, with the best hitter at the plate. That’s just how I was raised and that’s the situation I wanted to be in.
While the odds that any relief pitcher gets an at bat in a game are quite low, they grew exponentially when you were traded from an AL team to an NL team. How do you think you’d fare in the batter’s box against a big league pitcher?
Being a hitter in college gave me the fire to want to face the best of the best. I’m not sure how I would prevail against a big league pitcher, but I’d love the opportunity to try.
You helped your team reach the College World Series in your last season at Louisville. How do you think that experience has helped you and will continue to help you in your professional career?
The pressure that we put on ourselves and our teammates at Louisville have helped me tremendously. Every teammate of mine held me to the highest standard and expected my best every single day. Taking that into professional baseball has been huge for me. The expectation of being your best every day and never taking a day off has been a mind set of mine since Louisville.
Growing up, did you always know you wanted to be a baseball player? If so, did you always want to pitch or were there other positions you wanted to play?
Growing up, I knew baseball was my natural talent. Baseball was my relaxation; it was more than just a sport. I always played multiple positions, even through college. I played outfield at Louisville for two years and loved every minute of it. As I developed, I knew my future was going to be on the mound. From that day forward, I made it my goal to become one of the best relief pitchers in college baseball.
Do you have any superstitions or routines you go through on game days or before coming into games?
I do not have any superstitions. The only routines I go through are the ones to get me game-ready. Things such as stretching and being mentally ready to go into the game, no matter the situation.
Do you read into Sabermetrics and advanced stats at all or are you more about the traditional aspects of the game?
I do not read into any stats. I just want the ball and to compete every time I take the mound.
In High A, righties hit better off you than lefties, then in Double-A it was the opposite. In a small sample at Triple-A, you did not allow a single hit to a lefty hitter. What adjustments did you make between levels that you think contributed to these changes? Also, when you’re facing a hitter, how much do you take his handedness into account when planning out your attack?
I didn’t really pay attention to who I was facing. As I moved levels I understood that every single guy I faced was good. I could never think one player was an “easy out”.
What are the biggest differences in your daily life comparing A ball, Double-A, and Triple-A?
Moving up in an organization is an honor. The meals and travel are definitely better. Once you hit Double-A, there is a lot more help with your bags and equipment to the bus and to the field. Each level has its perks and you have to adapt as you progress in your career.
I want to take a moment to thank Cody for doing this interview with me. He took time out of a busy schedule to answer these questions, and I greatly appreciate it. You can follow Cody on Twitter at @cpege13 and keep an eye on him during Marlins Spring Training.