This week, Prospect Roundtable is under a new format.
All of the Pirates Prospects writers are getting the week off, so that they can prepare next week’s feature, looking at the first half results.
Last weekend, I was in Tampa, covering the Pirates/Rays series. While I was there, I had the chance to talk with a lot of players about their mindsets and when the game shifts away from mechanics.
I also had the chance to ask a few guys when they first knew that they would be Major League players. I had the idea after asking the same thing to Pirates farm director John Baker, who said his moment was his first big league Spring Training in his playing career.
This week, we’re going to try something new. I didn’t have these guys sitting at an actual roundtable. It was difficult to pack for the road trip, to be honest. All interviews were conducted separately — which is similar to the normal roundtable submissions.
Each player was asked when their mindset shifted and they knew they were or would become a Major League player.
Zach Thompson, RHP
“Last year. With the White Sox we were still trying to mechanically figure some stuff out. In the offseason going into last year I kind of tried to iron in some mechanics. And then you get on the mound and you start thinking of some stuff, but once I had that talk with Preston [Guilmet] and Brett [Eibner], and got to the big leagues, it was like who cares? If your arm is out here for one pitch, and you got the guy out, and you made that location, who cares? I think definitely last year, that’s when it hit for me.”
JT Brubaker, RHP
“I would say my first big league Spring Training, and then even into 2020. Stuff might not go your way. It’s Spring Training. Everybody is trying to do stuff. Not everybody is fully polished for the rest of the year. To be able to work out of situations like that in Spring Training, you get yourself into a jam, and you work yourself out. It’s like, ‘Yeah, I can trust myself to get myself out of these types of situations.’
“I think first Spring Training is a big one, if you go in with the right mindset that this is my first opportunity in big league camp. I’m going to go out there, and I’m just going to be me. I’m not going to try and be anybody else. I’m going to do what has carried me through the minor leagues up, to get me to this point. As long as you go into it with that mindset, you can learn a lot about yourself.”
Mitch Keller, RHP
“When I got to Double-A and started seeing success there, that’s kind of when I knew I was a really good pitcher. I knew before I was really good, just having success in Low-A and High-A. Just even in Double-A, ‘Alright, these are the best players I’m facing, I’m having success. There’s no reason why I can’t just keep going.'”
Bligh Madris, OF
“Probably last year in 2021 when I had a lot of success. It gave me a lot of confidence. It gave me a lot of confidence in the changes that I made. After having a successful year last year, and then taking into big league camp and showing the staff what I can do, and kind of showcasing myself to the big league club, it was nice to have that opportunity. It was just nice being around with some of the best minds in baseball on this team. I think a lot goes to them, and a lot of teaching points, they taught me a lot of stuff, and a lot of knowledge was thrown at me. I’m just taking it and running with it.”
THIS WEEK ON PIRATES
Tim is the owner, producer, editor, and lead writer of PiratesProspects.com. He has been running Pirates Prospects since 2009, becoming the first new media reporter and outlet covering the Pirates at the MLB level in 2011 and 2012. His work can also be found in Baseball America, where he has been a contributor since 2014 and the Pirates' correspondent since 2019.