Drafted in the 4th round in 2010 out of Texas Tech, Doran did not fare well in the launching pad at Lancaster in 2011. But what a difference a year makes! I anticipated that Doran would show improvement this season since he had already learned, sometimes the hard way, how to pitch effectively in Lancaster. In addition, being more of a groundball pitcher (as Doran is) works in your favor in a park where the wind drives any hit that is elevated.
But I can't say that I anticipated just how much of an improvement we would see from Bobby. In 11 starts this season, he is 5-3 with a 3.31 ERA and a 1.250 WHIP as compared to 1-3 in 22 appearances (13 starts) in 2011 with a 9.94 ERA and a 2.010 WHIP. His strikeouts are up and his home runs and walks are down.
On to the questions ~
WTH: First a general question. Baseball-Reference has you as having been born in Oklahoma City and MiLB.com says you were born in Flower Mound. Which is right?
BD: I was born in OKC but I call Flower Mound, Texas home.
WTH: Can you tell me what pitches you throw, velocity, movement, etc.? What is your best pitch? Are you working on anything?
BD: I throw a fastball (2 seam and 4 seam), curveball and changeup. My fastball this season has been 90-94 and has touched 95. My best pitch is my 2 seam fastball. I'm working on using my changeup more right now.
WTH: Since Lancaster isn't available on MiLB.tv and I haven't gotten to see you pitch, what would I see given the opportunity?
BD: You would see a rapid pace, some ground balls, and hopefully a win!
WTH: You are in your second year at Lancaster. In a season preview, I predicted good improvement from you due to your season of experience there plus your tendency toward groundball outs. What do you think has been the key to your early success this season?
BD: Early key to this year has been my health. I worked real hard all offseason to get stronger and healthy. So far it's paid off.
WTH: I'm always ragging on Lancaster as being a particularly difficult venue for pitching. What do you like about it, from a pitching perspective or just in general? Also, did pitching in the windy conditions at Texas Tech prepare you for Lancaster at all?
BD: What I like about Lancaster is the team. We have great chemistry together and have a lot of fun. I also like our catchers Rene Garcia and Ben Heath. They do a great job with the staff. I thought my first year that the Lubbock weather would help me but nothing compares to Lancaster... Nothing!!!
WTH: If you could steal a pitch from any pitcher in the Astros system, whose would it be?
BD: Jason Chowning's slider would be a nice addition!
WTH: What player in the Astros system would you least like to face in the batters box?
BD: Right now, Domingo Santana! Dude is super hot at the plate right now. [Note: This response was written before Santana unfortunately went on the DL.]
WTH: What has proven to be the most difficult aspect of minor league life for you so far? (I would think being 6'6" on long bus rides can't be much fun.)
BD: I have a great seat on the bus so I can't complain about that although commuters aren't very fun!
WTH: Can you tell me something about yourself that most people don't know and might be surprised to hear?
BD: I drive my roommates crazy because I'm always playing music around the house! It's mainly Texas country too. Gotta have a fiddle in the band!
Thanks for your time Bobby! Keep working hard and having fun. And maybe you can get Chowning to teach you that slider now that he's there.