Prospect Interview: Garrett Mock (Part 1)

Prospect Interview: Garrett Mock (Part 1)

Big, hard throwing right hander from Texas. Tough guy right? Of course. Garrett Mock is a tough guy, so tough that when he broke his ankle with a month left in his senior season at the University of Houston, he just kept on pitching. In the first of a two part interview with Garrett Mock, FutureBacks.com asked him about the ankle, his 'comfort zone' and being drafted.

James Renwick:  I know you broke your leg, was it in the Cape Cod League?  Is it 100% now?

Garrett Mock:  Actually it was a month and half before the draft.  I started the next day, and then for the next two weeks after that, but once I got drafted I took an extra two weeks off after I got to Yakima.  We were doing some defensive drills, and a guy bunted a ball down the first base line and I didn't try to rush because I was starting the next day.  Coach started griping that nobody was going at game speed.  So the next guy bunted the ball and I charged and spun and my whole body went to first, but my ankle stayed right where it was.  I didn't tell anybody, I just walked off the field and said I was done for the day.  The next day I threw a complete game with no earned runs, and I lost 1-0.  I just started pitching better because I had to 'pitch' instead of just throwing as hard as I could.  If it had been arm or something that could affect my career I would have stopped playing, but I knew where my team was in the season, and so I just kept running out there.  I broke my leg three-quarters of an inch above the ankle.

James Renwick:  Some said you had a tendency to nibble, but your control has been fantastic since you went pro.  Was there an adjustment, or did things just come together?

Garrett Mock:  I'm a two seam fastball guy, and that pitch moves a lot.  It can be hard to control especially if you get into a funk.  I know it sounds weird, but it's not that I was nibbling it's just that they weren't swinging.  I just wasn't throwing enough strikes, and really the only adjustment was talking to my catcher back at the University of Houston, and him saying to me, "Look, we've gotta start getting ahead in the count."  When I broke my ankle I took a couple of miles an hour off the fastball and I started getting it over more.  When you start getting ahead of hitters they become much more suseptable to pitches out of the zone. 

James Renwick:  Did it surprise you that you went in the third round despite the broken ankle?

Garrett Mock:  Coming out of the Cape Cod season I thought I was going to go higher, but I'm glad that the D'Backs noticed.  I pitched well in the Cape League and then I just kinda fell apart and I was really afraid people would just forget about me.  You start out 0-4, finally win a game and then break your ankle.  I just thank God that I get a chance to put on a professional uniform and get on with the career I've always wanted.

James Renwick:  In 2004 you finished your first pro season with more than 75 innings.  Not an incredible amount, but for a guy coming off a full college season and the ankle it was a lot.  How's the arm and how tough will that adjustment to 150 type inning season be?

Garrett Mock:  I think it has a lot to do with your routine between starts.  For me, once I got into pro ball setting where you're not in classroom half the day, and then on the field the other half, the stability and routine has helped me.  I know what to expect, and after a few starts learned what to do.  I attack things the same way every day.  My whole life my dad and my brother will do 'extra stuff' for me, just giving me pieces of advice.  My dad was a pretty good pitcher at LSU, and for my brother baseball paid for college, so once I stepped into college, Grayson County Community College and U of Houston, my father and my brother have always helped me.  I've had all different kinds of coaches.  Some were hard nosed, don't let up kind of guys, some were easy going types who are always explaining things.  Once I got into pro ball, Jeff Pico was my coach at South Bend, and he told me exactly how to handle my business.  It's tougher for pitchers I think, because everybody has a different way to throw strikes.  Some of the things coaches have said were good for me, others were just good info to have.  One of my coaches was a lefty finesse pitcher, and we would talk about pitch selection, and it was good to hear his ideas about things, but his pitch selection is totally different from what mine would be, because I'm a big hard throwing righty.

James Renwick:  Speaking of which, you were throwing in the high 80s when you were drafted, but now you're getting as high as 94, is that about where you're at now?

Garrett Mock:  I started at U of H, and in my first game at Minute Maid Park I was throwing 94 to 96 and stunk up the field.  I think my comfort zone is 90 to 93 consistently, because that way everything else I throw is just complimentary to that.  If you're not learning on the field you need to quit playing.  Every guy you're facing is there for a reason.  If I'm throwing 92 with a little sink and he's right on it, that's when you need to reach in your back pocket and pull out a 5 or 6 and blow the ball by him.  I can do that, and now that I've learned how to pitch, instead of just throwing, I can when I need to.

James Renwick:  Is there anything the Diamondbacks tried to change about your delivery or the way you pitch right away when you got to Yakima?

Garrett Mock:  No, what they told me, and what last season was really about, was acting like a professional athlete day in and day out.  That's the the way I hope the coaches perceive me, as a guy who carries myself like a pro day in and day out and I guy who's always working on his game.  I'm going to the park everyday and I'm doing things to make myself a better pitcher.

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