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SoxProspects News

March 31, 2009 at 7:50 PM

Q&A with Brock Huntzinger

The Red Sox selected Brock Huntzinger in the third round of the 2007 Draft out of Pendleton Heights High School in Indiana. He signed a few weeks after the draft and pitched in only four games in 2007. In 2008, Huntzinger broke out with the Lowell Spinners going 5-0 with a 0.64 ERA before struggling after a promotion to Greenville. He looks to break camp with the Low-A Greenville Drive to begin 2009. Jonathan Singer of SoxProspects.com recently caught up with Huntzinger to talk baseball at Minor League Spring Training.

Jonathan Singer: How did your off-season go? What things did you look to work on prior to spring training?
Brock Huntzinger: One of the things I looked to do was to gain some more muscle mass. I probably gained 7-10 pounds of good weight. Going into this year I just wanted to get a lot stronger, since last year I got tired and my production fell off. I had never thrown that many innings before, and I just wanted to make sure I was stronger and more physical coming into this season so I would have a better chance of staying strong towards the end of August and into September.

JS: You were a third round pick out of high school in Indiana. Could you describe the scouting process that you had with the Red Sox organization? What were your thoughts on the whole process in general?
BH: They (the Red Sox) were very extensive with their background checks. They had a bunch of visits to my house and had a bunch of scouts come see me play, [including] the cross checker, the national guy, the scouting director. [I] could definitely tell they were interested. The process was very in depth, but it was fun as it got me to throw in front of them, even though the talent level here is not like a California, Florida, or even a Texas.

JS: Did you want to sign out of high school or was there a part of you that wanted to go to Indiana?
BH: You know, I was a kid and I am still a kid. All my friends back home were doing the college thing. I always dreamed of playing professional baseball, the opportunity presented itself and I jumped on it. I always knew I could go back to school, but you do miss out on your friends and the social scene that comes with college, but I feel playing professional baseball is a pretty good trade off.

JS: What are some of the things the Red Sox have set out for you this coming season?
BH: I think the biggest thing is the development of my changeup and the continued development of my slider. They also want me to repeat my delivery over and over again, as well as being able to be more consistent mechanical wise. Right now it’s my second full year, so basically it is getting on a program, being able to get your routine down every five days in order to be a starting pitcher,where you know that every fifth day you will feel good. A lot of it is pretty much a continuation of what I worked on last year and when I signed.

JS: Please give us a self scouting report on Brock Huntzinger.
BH: (Chuckling) Fastball is my best pitch. My pitches are much better when they are down in the zone. When I get tired, I tend to get lazy with my mechanics and that is when I start to get the ball up in the zone and opponents start to beat me around. Overall, I think I have a pretty good mental approach on the mound. I don’t get easily rattled out there, and I am someone that can keep my composure when things aren’t going right. My stuff is pretty above average at times, and I just need to continue to put it all together in order to be consistent every time I am on the mound.

JS: You dominated competition in Lowell before getting promoted to Greenville and struggling mightily. Can you describe what you went through in Greenville and the adjustments you will need to make to succeed at higher levels?
BH: I think the biggest thing is just staying strong. Again, coming out of high school I threw 43 innings and I threw an additional 16 innings in the GCL and Fall Instructional League. Last year, from start to finish I threw 130 innings in spring training, extended spring training, Lowell and Greenville. When I got to Greenville, my mechanics were not sharp because I was weak. My fastball didn’t have the life on it that it normally does. It was good for me to struggle like that because coming out of Lowell, I had thrown 42 innings and given up only 3 runs, and then you are on a high. You feel like you are on top of the world and at some point you have to come down. I think it was good for me to realize you are not as good as your numbers are sometimes, and at times you are not as bad as your numbers are. I know what I learned from it and what I have to do to get better.

JS: Did you have a favorite major league team growing up?
BH: I didn't really have a favorite team growing up, but I had favorite players. I am a big fan of Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, Randy Johnson, and Curt Schilling. I would go to Cubs games, Reds games, [and I've] been to a few Cardinals games, but there really is no hotbed for major league baseball in Indiana.

JS: Who were the most influential people in your development as a baseball player?
BH: There was a scout for the Chicago White Sox from my hometown who went to my high school by the name of Mike Shirley. I would say he is the reason I’m where I am today. I used to be a punk kid. You can have tools and raw ability, but if you don’t listen to anyone, then you are just going to waste it. He had teaching methods in order for me to shape up or ship out. He wouldn’t take any crap or disrespect from me like I would give out to a lot of other people. I would also say my dad was very influential as well, as he pushed me to become confident to myself.

JS: Have you set any personal goals for yourself this season?
BH: Just to get better in every aspect of the game. I just want to start strong, keep the stride going throughout the year, and finish strong. Obviously everybody is going to have a bump in the road here and there where you are going to go out and give up 4 or 5 runs in a game, and you just got to go out the next day like nothing happened. I just want to keep developing as a pitcher, not just physically but mentally as well, and to keep it all on an even keel.