Friday, July 19, 2013

An Interview with Tri-City RHP Andrew Thurman

Andrew Thurman just got his first professional win last night. Having seen him earlier this month in person throwing four one-hit innings in Tri-City, I knew that it wouldn't take the second round draft pick long to get to that first win. In six appearances, he has a 2.00 ERA and a 1.167 WHIP.

I spoke with Tri-City Manager Ed Romero regarding Thurman and this is what he had to say, "What I've seen so far is a guy with good poise on the mound, good composure, knows what he's doing. He's under control on the mound. He has a pretty decent fastball that he knows how to spot. He has a very good curveball that he throws any time in the count whether he's ahead or behind. He's got control and command which is very important at this stage. He throws strikes, basically. He's a very good competitor. I think down the road he has a chance of being a quality starter."

Andrew Thurman - July 2013
Photo by Jayne Hansen

I spoke with Andrew earlier this month and this is what he had to say (edited for brevity and clarity) ~

On his draft experience: "Honestly, I hadn't really talked to the Astros too much prior to the draft. I was talking to a bunch of clubs, regarding the questionaires, where I thought I was going to get drafted and things like that. Come draft day, I didn't really know where I was going to go. But I was talking with my agent and when he let me know that the Astros were thinking about taking me with the first pick of the second round, I was beyond excited and very thankful."

On his college experience: "I went to UC Irvine. It was great. I enjoyed it very much. This past year, I lived down at the beach with a bunch of baseball guys and had a great time. I enjoyed going to school. I plan on finishing up. [Major?] Political science [If he couldn't play baseball?] Possibly law school. Possibly teach. One of those routes. Teach and coach baseball."

On his pitch repertoire: "Fastball pretty much goes any where from 90-92, usually sits 90-92. I like to throw that most of the time, start pitching aggressively with that, in and out. Probably next best pitch ... change up. I'll pretty much throw it in any count, probably the off-speed pitch I'm most comfortable with. Curveball ... I like throwing that more to lefties. I would say it's more of an out pitch and slider to righties. The slider I've been working on since this past summer. It's kind of coming along. Still working on it, but I like that too."

What does he need to work on?: "I just think consistency. Throw well each and every time out, and establish command of my off-speed pitches a little better."

Biggest surprise from his short time in pro ball?: "I think just being able to come out here every day and play baseball has been the biggest surprise. It's been great. Enjoyed every minute of it. Being out here, playing in front of 3000, 5000 people every night is a big change from college ball where I'm used to not playing in front of that many. I can't ask for much more I guess."

Whose pitch would he like to steal?: "I would probably have to say ... can I say Mark Appel's fastball? [laughter] No, Adrian Houser's curveball is a pretty good pitch. I was playing catch with him the other day and he was throwing it. It's tight and it's a good pitch for sure."

Which teammate would he least like to face in the batter's box?: "Ronnie Mitchell. He takes some healthy hacks out there. If I left one over the plate, he'd probably hit it way over the bullpen at least. He gets up there and swings it.  He's a good player. He plays a good right field too."

Which teammate makes him laugh?: "Either Chan Moon or Tony Kemp. Chan's a character and I live with Tony Kemp and Conrad Gregor, and Tony's a funny guy."

I didn't talk to Andrew for long, so I will leave you with a couple observations. As I was waiting to interview him, he was finishing up a "light" workout on the field with Mark Appel. He was out there doing side planks with leg lifts which I think will attest to his strength and athleticism (and perhaps his competitiveness, if he was showing off for Appel). He is very comfortable in his own skin and displays an easygoing attitude, ready smile and a good sense of humor. And, most importantly, he wears high socks, "That's how I've worn them all my life, through college, and carried it over here."

When I asked Andrew for any final thoughts about the Astros, he left me with this, "[I'm] very thankful. This is everything that I thought it would be and I'm very thankful for the opportunity that they've given me."

Thank you for your time, Andrew, and the best of luck as the season continues.

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