Monday, July 23, 2012

An Interview with Jason Stoffel

I didn't intend to blow off my interview with Jason Stoffel from last month. I just got ridiculously busy and I ended up with more material from my Corpus Christi trip than I had time to use, and then I got the big interview with Bobby Heck, and then I went on vacation. Yada yada. In all fairness though, I did use his advice to the new draft class here, and I did this profile on Stoffel here so I hope he forgives me for being so slow in posting this.

With that said, Stoffel has continued to do a stellar job out of the bullpen for Corpus Christi. Through Friday's game, he was 1-1 with a 1.83 ERA, a 0.966 WHIP and 16 saves in 38 appearances. He has allowed 10 walks to 36 strikeouts and has held opponents to a .200 batting average. In his last 10 outings, he has allowed only 6 hits.

When I talked to Stoffel, I was struck by his quiet demeanor and his discomfort in talking about himself. He is not the type to blow his own horn. On to the interview ~

On his much improved results this season: "It's been a mindset change for me. I kind of got away from trying to strike every one out, which I've been trying to do for the last few years, and trusting my stuff. [I'll throw] it in the zone instead of maybe wasting a couple of pitches trying to get a strike out, then I'm 3-2 on guys and walking people and just getting myself in trouble. I think that's been a huge part of it."

On his pitch repertoire: "Mainly fastball/slider. My slider's around 80-82. Fastball anywhere from 90 to 94, 95 some nights. Pretty consistent around those numbers."

On closing: "I've been closing for a few years. Obviously that's my goal in the end, but I'm not fooling myself thinking I'm going to break into that role but if they put me up there, wherever they want to put me is fine."

On his 2011 trade from the Giants to the Astros: "I was kind of shocked because I wasn't having a great year with San Francisco and I didn't think I was on anyone's radar. We were just out taking BP one day and I got called off the field. 'Hey, you've been traded.' It's just kind of surprising. It was real out of the dark and [I] didn't really see it coming at all. Obviously, any time you get traded, the team you go to is giving up someone to get you. It's a good feeling but I felt like I had a little pressure on me to perform."

On whose pitch he'd like to steal: "I'd probably take Oberholtzer's change up. It's nasty. Or Villar's change up."

On his goal for the rest of the season: "That I can keep doing this the rest of the year. I'm going good right now, but this is baseball and things can change around in a hurry. I hope that they don't. It's nice to go out and be consistent and see if I can continue that for the entire season."

On something most people don't know about him: "I can juggle. I'm a dork. I love reading. I was a history major. I read everything. Growing up I was a WWII [enthusiast] ... loved military history and I'd just read the same book over and over and over because it was the only book in the library that I'd check out. Kept it out for about a year straight. They got mad at me."

Reserved, quiet and bookish, Stoffel does seem at times to have more in common with a college history professor than a baseball player but, personally, I'm glad he chose baseball. I won't be the least bit surprised to see Stoffel get a well-deserved promotion sooner rather than later.

Copyright  © 2012 Jayne Hansen
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