Monday, December 5, 2011

An Interview with LHP Kyle Hallock

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer a few questions, Kyle.

This is what John Sickels of SB Nation had to say about your first pro season:

“Kyle Hallock, LHP, Astros: 10th-round pick in 2011 out of Kent State, was brilliant at times for Tri-City in the New York-Penn League, posting 2.63 ERA with 61/17 K/BB in 62 innings, 58 hits, 1.95 GO/AO. Threw harder than expected, and he knows how to use his curveball, slider, and changeup effectively.”

And Baseball America singled you out for having the best pro debut of all of the 2011 Astros draft class.

Now, on to the questions.

WTH:  Let's start at the beginning.  You were drafted by the Phillies in the 49th Round in 2010 and opted to go back to Kent State for your senior year.  Was that a difficult decision?  What did you do in that final year to elevate your stock to the 10th round (aside from being named Mid-American Conference pitcher of the year)?

KH:  The 2010 Draft was an extensive process. I waited until the beginning of August to make a decision on whether to sign or head back for my senior year. I would say yes it was very difficult because I was eager to start my professional career. I also knew we had a great team coming back at Kent State so I felt it was in my best interest to go back and up my stock while playing with some of my best friends while chasing a fourth championship ring. The biggest thing that changed my senior year as opposed to my first two and a half years was my mindset. If I wanted to be as good as I could be I needed to think great. Our pitching staff last year pushed each other, raised the bar each weekend and that forced me to elevate my pitching.

WTH:  Tell me a little about your short season experience at Tri-City.  Any comments on John Sickels’ take? Highs?  Lows?  What did you take away from the experience?

KH:  I greatly enjoyed my time in Tri-City. I can't say enough good things about the coaching staff, front office and fan base. I looked forward to throwing at home because the support for our team was tremendous. I appreciate John Sickels’ evaluation of me. The high for me personally was being named the starting pitcher in the NYPL All-Star Game and performing well with that opportunity. The low for me was when the team was eliminated from playoff contention. The experience gave me a solid base for next year. I have a good understanding of how professional baseball works on a daily basis because of this summer and my time at Kent State has prepared me for this experience.

WTH:  What are your best pitches?  What kind of velocity do you have?  Are you working on adding a pitch or refining any of your pitches?

KH:  I throw four pitches and my fastball is my best pitch because I utilize that the most. My fastball velocity sits in the 87-90 mph range but I am able to reach back for a little more if I need it and top out at 92. I am always looking for ways to get better so my focus is to command all of my pitches while adding sharpness to my breaking ball and depth to my change up.

WTH:  What is your basic philosophy as a pitcher?  How do you approach the hitters, make adjustments, etc.?

KH:  My philosophy is quality strikes early in the count and pitch in the present. I have really worked on making pitch to pitch adjustments so I can minimize damage and stay away from big innings. I spend a good amount of time learning from hitters swings and tendencies during games I do not pitch as well as the games I am a part of.

WTH:  You were used as a starter at Tri-City this year.  Do you see yourself more as a starter or can you see yourself in a relief role?

KH:  I was a starter and reliever in college so I am comfortable with both. My pitching coach in college, Mike Birkbeck, told me "whether it's two outs in the 6th or the first out of the game you have to get, all 27 outs are important." Being a pitcher, I approach every opportunity with that mindset.

WTH:  What MLB pitcher would you compare yourself to?  Any role models growing up?

KH:  My dad, Dan Hallock, and I watched Tom Glavine a lot. I looked at how he attacked hitters and had success as a model for when I was younger. As I have gotten older, I have wanted to be the best pitcher I can be and let other people make comparisons.

WTH:  What do you do in the off-season to prepare?  Are you given specific instructions by the Astros?

KH:  The offseason is a chance for me to get better. I break down my mechanics and go over film of my games from this spring. I am also long tossing, conditioning and lifting to make myself as good as I can be. I am a firm believer that hard work pays off so I take that attitude in everything I do. Yes I have received an itinerary workout wise from Houston.

WTH:  I'm sure that you're aware of the impending move of the Astros to the American League.  Do you have any thoughts or opinions about that?

KH:  Yes I am aware of the league change. I don't have an opinion either way to be honest. I have great respect for both leagues.

WTH:  Last question.  Can you tell me something about yourself that most people don't know?  It doesn’t have to be baseball related.

KH:  Something most people don't know about me is that I will be graduating college on December 17th with a Bachelor Degree in Sport Administration and my sister Kimberlyn will be enrolling at Kent State in the fall of 2012. (My mom, Jennifer Hallock, is a fourth grade teacher in the Perkins Local School District and this will be her favorite accomplishment of mine to date.)

And Kyle's final words to me?  "Go Astros!"

1 comment:

  1. Awesome interview! Hallock is one of my favorite picks from the Astros 2011 draft class.