The FutureBacks Interview: Koley Kolberg

The FutureBacks Interview:  Koley Kolberg

The former Arizona Wildcat talks to FutureBacks about pro ball, big game pressure, and how every once in a long while it's nice to just sleep in.

 

FutureBacks:  What pitches do you throw, and what is it that you're really working on this offseason?

Koley KolbergI throw a fastball, slider and change up, and that's the pitch I'm working most on.  I've been throwing that change for about three years now, and if you have the same arm slot, the same arm speed, it's the most effective pitch you can throw except for a fastball.  Righties never really expect a change up, especially at the Lo-A level, but really at all levels, it's just a great pitch. 

FutureBacks:  How hard do you throw?

Koley Kolberg:  As a reliever this past year I was throwing pretty hard, but I usually sit between 88 and 92MPH.  I definitely think in the right situation I can amp it up a bit if I needed to, but I've got one of those sneaky fastballs, because my arm action is really quick.  For me though location is the key, I'm not blowing the ball past many people, so keeping it down and hitting my spots is really important.

FutureBacks:  You struggled on the road for most of the regular season, and then in the playoffs went on the road and threw a gem.  Did pitching on the road affect your game, and how did you overcome it in the playoffs?

Koley Kolberg:  I don't really think it was a road thing.  I had a horrible game pretty much once a month and it just happened to be on the road a lot of the time.  I don't want it to be a road thing, but if you just look at the number you'd say I was lying.  In the playoffs I think it was just a good game for me, the first time I'd faced West Michigan I was a little more nervous, because in the back of my mind I was thinking that they were all good hitters, and on their mound it's a little different, because it's a drop off mound.  So the next time I faced them I made some adjustments, just making sure I stayed back in my delivery and stayed aggressive in the strike zone.

FutureBacks:  You've elevated yourself into the upper echelon of starting pitching prospects in the D'Backs organization, how quickly do you think you can move through the system?

Koley Kolberg:  There's really no telling for me.  I wouldn't say my stuff is better than anybody else's, so I'm just concentrating on having a good first half, and I'll go where ever they tell me to go.  I'll definitely be disappointed if I don't go to Lancaster, but I'm not going to be mad, I'll just go out and do the best I can, and they'll evaluate me and send me where they think I'm going to have the most success.

FutureBacks:  You started the season late, what was the injury?

Koley Kolberg:  It was minor as far as an arm injury goes, but I'll tell you, it felt like my career was over.  They just had me in Arizona rehabbing and various things.  They said I was just throwing too much.

FutureBacks:  It seemed like you were really comfortable pitching in the playoffs, is that something you've always had, that 'big game' mentality?

Koley Kolberg:  For me I'd pitched in playoffs before, when I was at [the University of] Arizona I had a good first two rounds, and that was a big show with lots of people, but in South Bend I was just mentally prepared and that was a much bigger difference than being more physically prepared, because I'd pitched a lot more innings in South Bend.  The soreness and being tired just isn't that big a deal, because I've been in playoffs almost every year since high school, so I'm used to pitching late in the year, for me it was all about having the right mental preparation.

FutureBacks:  Offseason training/focus?

Koley Kolberg:  Right now, I'm sleeping, that's the focus.  I had to get a job, but I'm getting back into it, so I enjoyed the time off, but I've been pitching for a long time.  I got to spring training last year as early as I possibly could, and because of the playoffs, I left South Bend as late as I possibly could. 

FutureBacks:  Were you okay with not being invited to the Instructional League?

Koley Kolberg:  You know, I know it's a great honor to be invited, and I would have gone if I had been, but to be honest I just wanted to be done, to get away from the game a little bit and clear my head.  The playoffs are such a ride, because you feel empty after they are over, you just put so much emotion into every game.  Win or lose, that's the way it is, and I just needed a break when it was done.

FutureBacks:  Evaluate your 2005?

Koley Kolberg:  I feel like I had a very good season, I had a pretty good ERA, did some damage control when I didn't have my best stuff and really worked hard, so I feel like it was a good year, and I'm looking forward to an even better 2006.

Want to write for FutureBacks.com?  FutureBacks is now opening internships for the upcoming 2006 season.  If you live in or near one of the six minor league affiliates, have a knowledge of, and love for, baseball, and a writing background, send resumes and two sample pieces of writing (at least one of which must be a journalistic piece about baseball) to futurebacks@cox.net, subject line 'INTERNSHIP APPLICATION'.  Applicants must be able to attend a minimum of three games per homestand and students looking for course credit must get approval from their instructors.  Schools or professors looking for class projects may also contact FutureBacks.  Please do not include pictures, ages, or any biographical information beyond the standard resume.

 

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