Astros RHP Jake Buchanan had a bit of an up-and-down year in 2012, but I look for the 2011 Astros Minor League Pitcher of the Year to come back strong in the new season. Earlier this season, I learned a little more about Jake in a somewhat unusual way by interviewing his girlfriend Chelsa Messinger, a Columbus, Georgia sports anchor. Now it's Jake's turn to talk.
JB: It was a sweet playoff beard, so I forgive you.
WTH: You were named Astros Minor League Pitcher of the Year for the 2011 season, but the 2012 season didn't go quite as smoothly as planned as you experienced some ups and downs. What went right? What went wrong? And what did you take away from the season?
JB: It didn't go as well as I would've liked. For me it felt like a lot went wrong more than right but you have to learn from that and I feel like I did the last part of the year for the most part and hopefully I can build off that going into this season.
WTH: You had been used exclusively as a starter prior to this season, but you were used out of the bullpen toward the end of the season. Did you enjoy working out of the bullpen?
JB: I really enjoyed pitching out of the bullpen the last month. I feel like I can be more effective that way by pitching off of adrenaline. I think I would be good at filling the role of long relief since I was formerly used as a starter. I think that will be my best shot at making it to the big leagues.
WTH: Can you tell me a little about your pitch repertoire, best pitch, velocity, movement, anything you're working on, etc.
JB: Sinker - normally 88-90, Curve - 76-78, Changeup - 79-81, Cutter - 84-87, and I am working on a slider. Hopefully it turns out like Jason Stoffel's.
WTH: You're more of a groundball pitcher. Who did you particularly like playing behind you in Corpus this past season, helping you get those groundball outs?
JB: All of them were great, but I'd say Ben Orloff, even though he was only there for the last part of the year. But he made every play and then some.
WTH: What Astros pitcher has a pitch you'd like to steal?
JB: Jason Stoffel's slider - it was lights out for him all year and is one of the best I have seen.
WTH: Which Astros hitter would you least like to pitch to?
JB: I would have to say Jonathan Singleton. When he's locked in, there isn't much you can do as a pitcher. [You] just hope he hits it at somebody.
WTH: Who on the team made you laugh?
JB: Andy Simunic is probably the funniest guy on the team with his pregame dancing and shenanigans.
WTH: What have you done to prepare for the 2013 season and what goals do you have for Spring Training?
JB: Just trying to get in the best shape possible and get my arm ready to go on day one. My goals are to just have fun and enjoy playing baseball. I didn't really do that last year and I think that's what led to the down year for me.
WTH: What would you do if you couldn't play baseball?
JB: Well if I couldn't find anything in baseball, which is about all I know... But I have been watching a lot of food network this off-season and that really makes me want to run a restaurant maybe one day. lol
Thank you for your time, Jake, and good luck in the new season. Hopefully, you can put your restaurant career on hold for a good long time.