Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Getting to Know Astros/JetHawks LHP Bryan Radziewski

LHP Bryan Radziewski, a 2014 9th round pick out of the University of Miami, Coral Gables, started his season with Quad Cities, putting up a 2.05 ERA and 0.909 WHIP in 5 appearances (3 starts) before his early May promotion to Lancaster. Following his first three appearances in the California League, Radziewski now has a 1.96 ERA and a 1.064 WHIP for the season. He has walked 10 batters and struck out 37 in 36.2 innings.

Bryan Radziewski - May 2015
Photo by Jayne Hansen

When I spoke with Radziewski last week, I asked his opinion of what I had written in my Astros MiLB handbook over the offseason:
According to Tri-City Pitching Coach Chris Holt, Radziewski's slider is one of the best breaking balls in the Astros system. The key for him is good fastball command and effective use of his fastball/changeup combo to set up the slider for best effect. Radziewski's fastball, reported to be in the high 80's when he signed, has seen a slight jump in velocity (88 to 92 mph) through better use of his lower half. When all is said and done, he should end up with a low 90's fastball and a plus slider.
After Radziewski declared that description to be spot on, we discussed his development so far this season, In describing his accomplishments in the new season, he said, "I've gained more confidence in my fastball and I can use my changeup now as opposed to just throwing straight sliders. In college, after shoulder surgery, I was throwing about 82 to 83 mph, and I was just afraid to throw a fastball which is why I developed bad habits with throwing my slider so much."

Radziewski's fastball command is the key to everything for him. According to Lancaster Pitching Coach Don Alexander, "I don't care how good your secondary stuff is or how good your breaking ball or changeup is, if you can't command your fastball, if you can't pitch off your fastball, you're going to have a hard time." Alexander is working with Radziewski on trusting his fastball, but likes what he has seen in Radziewski's short time with the JetHawks, "He's got the chance to have some pretty good stuff if he just learns to trust it more. He's another guy that you like how he goes about his business. He just comes right at you, he's not afraid to challenge you. He's not afraid to be aggressive in the strike zone, and he's also got a good mix of pitches. I think there's more coming with him, but he's riding a nice little wave of success right now."

When asked what people who have never seen him pitch before can expect to see from him on the mound, Radziewski responded, "They'll just see someone who's not afraid of a challenge. When it's second and third or bases loaded, I have more of a chance of getting out of it than most people because I just have that confidence in myself, making pitches in big situations."

Who in the Astros minor league system has a pitch that Radziewski would like to steal? "Whoever has a good fastball! [Adrian] Houser throws like 97. I'll take his fastball. Whoever throws hard, I'll take their fastball." And what hitter would he want to avoid? "I'll say probably [Nick] Tanielu or [Mott] Hyde because I lived with them and they know exactly what I would throw them. (Hyde) is having an incredible year ... humble, works hard."

With the current depth of talent in the Astros system, I asked Radziewski if there was someone he thought might be flying under the radar somewhat. According to Radziewski, "I'll go with Bruno [Tyler Brunnemann]. He's been doing real well. And [Albert] Minnis. The good thing about Minnis is he gets a lot of groundball outs and that's going to go a long way for him. Those are two people who are low key that people may not know about that are doing well in a league you're not supposed to do well in."

As a final question, I asked Radziewski what he would do if he couldn't play baseball. He responded, "I would teach baseball, some way, somehow become a coach. I like teaching. I learn as much as I can. I ask stupid questions, even if it's not about me. I just want to learn and share that information with other people."

Thank you for your time, Bryan, and the best of luck as the season continues to unfold.

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Other recent interviews:
1B Jon Singleton

You can find more on virtually every player in the Astros minor league system in the 2015 Houston Farm System Handbook available on Amazon for download to your kindle, iPad, laptop, desktop or smart phone.

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