Monday, June 24, 2013

Tim Penprase Interview Transcript

Ewan and Chris talked with Phil Bickfor's high school coach for the podcast this week, and Ewan was ever so kind to make transcript it for us to read. You can listen to the show here.

Ewan – And welcome back to the bluejays plus podcast.  Joining us now is the coach of Oak Christian High School in California, Tim Penprase.  How’s it going Tim?

Tim – Doing well guys, thanks for having me.

Ewan – While most bluejays fans wont be familiar or interested in California high school baseball, Tim is the coach of first round pick Phil Bickford, so very interesting to Blue Jays fans.  Why don’t you start off by letting us know background information, how is Phil as a kid?

Tim – You know, he’s a great kid.  He comes from a great family.  He’s got a good background.  He’s one of the favourite guys in clubhouse, great teammate, but when he walks out on the field he’s a bulldog.  He’s a team first guy, loves playing baseball, loves going to the beach, hanging with his friends, and he’s just a happy go lucky good kid.

Ewan – What we want to hear.  Quality Character.

Chris – First thing I noticed about him, in the short video I watched was that he seemed a bit rushed.  I had no idea what inning it was, cause these are 3 minute videos.  So I was just wondering if there were any issues with his stamina.

Tim – No, never any issues with his stamina.  He was usually actually stronger in the late innings.  In those videos he probably looked a little rushed, cause there are times he didn’t really get to his balance point.  He likes to work quick, be quick to the plate, and sometimes he would rush his balance point, and he would get away with it sometimes.  That’s probably what you were seeing.  Never any problems with stamina, he always threw a lot of pitches in his outings.  I know in the championship game for us for us this year, he was throwing 96 in the 7th inning.  Never any problems there.

Ewan – You mention the championship game.  How was your season with him this year?

Tim – Unbelievable.  Absolutely unbelieveable.  Every start he had hegot stronger, and the championship game was definitely his best outing of the year.  Like I said he’s a bulldog.  He loves those high pressure games, loves being in high pressure situations.  In that championship game, he was sitting 96, and struck out 18 of the 21 outs.  I think he threw 11 balls in the entire game, so he was pretty impressive this year.

Ewan – That’s so unfair.  Guys like this against high school kids.  When you say championship game, what level are you guys at in California?

Tim – We are CIF Southern section division 4.

Ewan – One of the major criticisms of him by the scouting community was that his breaking ball lacked some sharpness, and said that needed development.  What has been the progress on that throughout his career?

Tim – It gets better.  He drops his arm a lot on that breaking pitch.  When he keeps his arm up, he’s got a lot more movement, a lot better break on it.  I think that’s one thing they’re going to find some consistency with.  When he finds that I think it’ll be a lot better.  He has a changeup, but he never really throws it.  When you’re sitting that fast, especially in high school doesn’t make a lot of sense to slow the ball down to a lot of hitters.  If you’re slowing it down, you stick with the slider and let it move a bit.  I think if he makes some adjustments, he finds that consistency and keeps that arm up on the offspeed I think it’ll be better.  He locates it well now, so I think it’ll improve. 

Chris – We were also just wondering if he’s suffered some adversity on or off the field, and how did he handle himself?

Tim – Sure, he’s suffered adversity both places.  Off the field, on the field.  He’s been with us for four years on varsity, so he’s definitely had some failures earlier in his career with us.  And he deals with it well.  He fails and he learns from it, and is determined not to make that mistake again.  And I think that’s why he’s developed so well in his high school career.  He has really good perspective for his age, so any adversity he’ll learn from it, and power through it, and he’ll be better off for it. 

Ewan – I’m just curious about the development curve of someone this talented.  What is his fastball touching and sitting?

Tim – He’ll sit, depending on the day, 93 and 95.  He’s touched 97.

Ewan – When did that occur?  I’m curious was that the case when he was a junior, or is this a recent thing?

Tim – You know, he was sitting probably 91 at the end of last year, and he was throwing all the time.  He really took some time, and took like 3 months off to let his arm rest, and focused on strengthening his core, and strengthening his legs because he hadn’t really focused on doing that kind of work.  So he took some time strengthened those areas, and let his arm rest for a couple months.  When he came back he started throwing harder, kept doing his long toss routine, and kept strengthening everything.  The velocity kept increasing.

Ewan – He is a long tosser?  We’ve seen a lot of that with the Trevor Bauers and the like coming up.

Tim – Yeah he is.  He loves his long toss routine, and it seems to have helped him.

Ewan – In a similar vein, Phil rose very quickly from being perceived as being a fringe first rounder a couple months before the draft to being the #10 overall pick he eventually was.  What changed late in the season that would’ve impacted a scout’s opinion like that?

Tim – I cant speak directly for it, but I think the velocity definitely had a big part to do with it.  When you’re throwing that hard, from that arm slot, and when you’re locating that well with it.  I think he only had 11 walks on the year as opposed to 140 something strikeouts.  When you’re throwing that hard, and locating that well, I think that’s what brought him up.

Chris – Given his draft position, we assume that Phil’s the most talented player you’ve ever coached, but have you ever had anyone else you’ve coached make it to the show?

Tim – Nobody in the show, but I have Trevor Gretzky.  Probably recognize the name.  He got drafted by the Cubs a two years ago.  And we’ve got probably 9 or 10 guys after this season who’ll be into division 1 ball.  So we’ve got a handful of guys who can play.

Chris – We know the Gretzky name pretty well up here in Canada.

Tim – Absolutely.  Definitely recognizable name.  We had the pleasure of having Trevor around.  Playing with the Cubs organization now, and they’re a great family as well. 

Chris – Did you notice your guys acting any different, since I’d imagine there’s a lot of hype around with Gretzky’s kid around?

Tim – There is hype, but you know in that situation he’s just another teammate, and they’re parents.  So, even though there’s a lot of hype, there’s a lot more hype with opposing teams.  But it’s a normal situation.  Trevor’s a great kid, and Wayne’s a great guy, and you try to keep it at that.

Chris – I imagine there’s a lot of hype in high school ball in America, you have to coach up your guys how to deal with scouts at the game.

Tim – Absolutely, I think that’s part of learning how to growing up, learning to deal with some of that stuff.  You definitely try to guide them along a little bit, there’s still teenage boys, but I think that’s part of our job.

Ewan – As blue jays fans we’ve had to deal with a lot of injury issues with our pitchers in the past few years.  Has Phil had any problems like that coming up?

Tim – He’s never had any issues like that.  He’s always taking good care of himself.  He’s got a really loose arm, he’s really the typical power pitcher that puts a lot of strain on his arm.  He’s really smooth through his mechanics, and he can throw a lot of pitches, and come out and throw long toss the next day and not be effected.  He uses his body well, and he’s never been injured.

Ewan – Finally, as Jays fans we also had to deal with our high school pick two years ago Tyler Beede not signing, so we’re had some concerns taking another high school pitcher.  I don’t know how much you can speak to this, but if you had to say, what do you think the odds on him signing?

Tim – I cant speak directly to it, but I think when you’re in that situation as a 17 year old kid, I think its hard to definitely not to look at the opportunities in front of you, especially being with a good organization.  I think he’s definitely open if the right offer is there I think he’s definitely open to signing.  He’s gonna see what’s come his way, and make a decision.  I don’t think he’s stuck one way or the other, I think he’s gonna see what’s put in front of him and make a decision.

Ewan – Where is he committed college wise?

Tim – Cal State – Fullerton.

Ewan – I think that’s all we have for you, Tim.  Thanks for being so generous with your time.

Tim – I appreciate it.

No comments:

Post a Comment