LHP Ryan Feierabend (Photo: Seattle Mariners)
LHP Ryan Feierabend and RHP Brian Stitt were chosen last week as the two Wisconsin Timber Rattlers representatives for the 2004 Midwest League All-Star Game. Dan Larson, the newest beat writer to join InsidethePark.com, spoke with each pitcher about the big news.
“Hey now, you’re an all star, get you’re game on - go play.”
Yes, at a time like this Timber Rattlers’ pitchers Ryan Feierabend and Brian Stitt must not be able to help themselves from singing along to Smashmouth’s hit single, All Star. Why, you ask. Well, the reason is simple. They have both been chosen to represent the Rattlers at the Midwest League’s All Star Game on June 22 in Cedar Rapids.
“I’m just happy to get selected,” said Stitt. “It’s an honor to be picked to play on the all star team.”
Feierabend echoed the same sentiment, and also said it is particularly special to have been selected along with his teammate and fellow pitcher, Stitt.
There is no doubt that both pitchers are deserving of the honor. Feierabend has been the Rattlers’ most consistent starting pitcher this season, with an earned run average of 3.51 and team leading six wins. His six wins are also good enough for fourth in the league.
“Go out and don’t be afraid,” said Feierabend, noting his key to success this year. “Pitch your game the way you know how.”
The 18-year-old also said his aggressive style and exceptional command have helped him greatly in the first half of the season.
Stitt, meanwhile, is the Rattlers’ closer and is third in the league with 12 saves.
“I thrive on pressure situations,” said Stitt. “There is nothing that really bothers me.”
But in the rare event that he does blow a save, Stitt says he knows he has let his team down and uses that feeling to motivate him even more.
“I’m irritated and just make sure I’m ready to go out the next day and not let it happen again,” he said.
Through last Friday, Stitt had a team-best earned run average of 2.76 and was holding opponents to an incredible .105 batting average with runners in scoring position, two big reasons why only four of 18 base runners he had inherited scored on him.
“I’ve got pretty good command on my fastball and can pretty much throw it wherever I want,” he said, analyzing what he has done to achieve such great numbers. “I move it in and out real well and keep them off balance with my change-up and curveball.”
Both guys are young, as Feierabend is 18 and Stitt is 21, and each recognizes the role their pitching coach, Brad Holman, has played in what they have been able to accomplish thus far.
“He has helped tremendously,” said Feierabend. “He’s a great guy and a person you can talk to about anything, for baseball or away from baseball. He has helped me learn a lot about the mental approach to the game as well as worked on my mechanics with me.”
Stitt also recognizes Holman’s role in the development of his mechanics.
“The main thing he has said to me is when I throw to a spot, I go there with aggression,” said the closer. “That’s really helped me to get command of my fastball.”
Both guys were selected by the Mariners in one of the first 10 rounds of Major League Baseball’s annual amateur draft, with Stitt being picked in the 10th in 2002 and Feierabend going third in 2003. They way they have performed so far this season, it looks like the Mariners are not going to be disappointed.