INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – For many players, canned and pre-prepared quotes of trying to ‘keep it simple’ and ‘get better each day’ come off as disingenuous and cliche at times.
However, it has the opposite effect when Carmen Mlodzinski utters those phases.
“I am just trying to get better each day as a pitcher and as a human being,” Mlodzinski said. “That’s just something that’s been a part of my process. It helps me keep it simple. It’s just trying to keep getting better each day and things will just turn in your direction usually.“
The difference is the 24-year-old Mlodzinski actually puts these word into action. In his first year of pro ball in 2021, Mlodzinski had an outing as high as Triple-A and got a trip to the Arizona Fall League. Last season, he made waves in Double-A all year, striking out just under 10 per nine innings.
Finally, he appeared in six games with the Pirates this spring. In those, he allowed a couple of runs, but struck out six over 6.1 innings of work.
With Indianapolis in 2023, command has been a struggle for Mlodzinski early on. However, consistent with his mantra, he has shown improvement of late. In his second, third and fourth appearances of the season, Mlodzinski hovered right around 50 percent strikes. In his last 11 appearances, spanning 15 innings, he’s has walked four and is at 64 percent over the plate for strikes.
The strikeouts have been there all season, but the walks have dropped from the early season struggles. Not coincidentally, Mlodzinski has not been scored upon in nine of his last ten appearances. He has even gone more than an inning in four of those appearances.
Pittsburgh has been ultra-aggressive with Mlodzinski, a former first rounder. His stuff, featuring a high-90s fastball has been up to the challenge each step though.
“I think over the course of my minor-league career, I have worked on my stuff quite a bit,“ Mlodzinski said. “It feels like it’s in a better spot now than ever. Hopefully, next year at this point, I can look back and say it’s even better than last year. It’s just about trying to keep getting better each day.“
When asked about the biggest contributor to his arsenal improvements, Mlodzinski showcased that he has soaked in anything more experienced hurlers are willing to offer.
“I would say experience and just having things you continue to look forward to working on [has led to the improvements],” Mlodzinski said. “Looking to other players who have been in the major leagues for a while, or guys at this level who have been up and down. You look to guys to have that experience, and try to apply it to your own game.“
With this approach and motivations set solely on improvement, it appears that the Pirates approach has fit Mlodzinski like a glove.+ posts
Ryan has been following Indianapolis baseball for most of his life, and the Pirates since they became the affiliate in 2005. He began writing for Pirates Prospects in 2013, in a stint that ran through 2016 (with no service time manipulation played in). Ryan rejoined the team in 2022, covering Indianapolis once again. He has covered the Pirates in four different big league stadiums. Ryan was also fortunate enough to cover the 2015 Futures Game in Cincinnati.