FutureBacks: I know your record didn't necessarily reflect it, but you had a pretty good season, a 3.99 ERA, a 3:1 strikeout to walk ratio, almost six innings per start. How would you evaluate your season?
Adam Bass: I felt like it was a good, solid year. I definitely feel like I made progress, felt like I showed I belong in Double-A. That was important to me, because injuries were what allowed me to start in Tennessee instead of Lancaster. I know my record might not have showed it, but the minors is more about development than wins and losses.
FutureBacks: You got yourself an invitation to Instructionals, so that had to feel good.
Adam Bass: I'm pretty excited about it, I got to pitch for Dan Carlson last year in Lancaster, and then again this year in Tennessee, and now in Instructs. Our roving pitching coordinator, Dennis Llewellyn, has also worked with me, and he'll be down there as well. I think the big focus for me down there is just going to be getting more consistent, especially with my changeup.
FutureBacks: How much can Instructs really help you, your arms got to be tired.
Adam Bass: Sure, but when you show up in Spring Training there are a hundred and however many guys there, you're preparing for games, and it's so intense because everybody is fighting for a spot. Instructs isn't as intense, you just have to go out and get your work done. There's only about 30 guys or whatever, and you get a lot of one on one instruction. That's why I think it's going to be great for me, because to be honest I'd say my change up was just adequate this year, at best, and in Instructs I'm going to be able to specifically work on it, with all these great pitching coaches. I really think if I can be more consistent with that pitch it's going to make a big difference for me next season.
FutureBacks: How do you take what you're learning in Instructs and work on that in the offseason?
Adam Bass: Once I get the basic feel for the change up here in Instructs, I'll have an idea of what I'm trying to do, both in throwing it and in what situations to throw it, and then when I amp it back up later in the offseason I'll be able to carry that over, make some minor adjustments myself and really focus in on that pitch. I think that when Spring Training starts again that this is really going to help me get back on track quickly.
FutureBacks: You skipped Lo-A, spent a full year at Hi-A, and now a full year at Double-A, are you happy with your progress thus far?
Adam Bass: I guess so, I don't really know what to compare myself against. I feel good about the way I'm progressing, and I don't think I've fallen behind the curve.
FutureBacks: Like you said, you weren't even supposed to start the season in Tennessee, and you were in a rotation with a lot of top prospects, guys like Dustin Nippert, Tony Pena, Clint Goocher, and Enrique Gonzalez. How tough is that, and can you learn from those guys?
Adam Bass: You can always learn from somebody who's ahead of you on the prospect list, that's why they're ahead of you. I think it actually made it easier, because I watched those guys pitch and I really was able to see how those guys are handling hitters, how in control they are on the mound. You watch a guy like Nippert, and see the competitive fire he's got on the mound, and it just showed you how focused you have to be on every pitch.
FutureBacks: Pitchers always talk about the mental aspect of the game, maintaining focus and pitching through errors and such. You went through a span of five starts at one point where you gave up two earned runs or less and still were 0-1 at the end of it. How do you learn to just accept that and not get down on the team or start feeling like they're letting you down?
Adam Bass: It's obviously frustrating, because everybody who plays this game plays to win, but I think situations like that balance out. Sometimes you pitch well enough to win and you lose, but sometimes you don't pitch well enough to win and your guys put up 11 runs. There are breaks against you and breaks that go in your favor, and I can't really do anything about either one. I can't help a play that isn't made behind me, but I also can't help a diving catch that should be a double, so I think you just have to try and take all the plays, good or bad, exactly the same way.