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Q&A with Braves Pitching Prospect Cole Rohrbough

Atlanta Braves pitcher Cole Rohrbough. (Photo by C.B. Wilkins)
Atlanta Braves pitcher Cole Rohrbough. (Photo by C.B. Wilkins)

One of the most disappointing performances from a Braves prospect last year came from left-handed starting pitcher Cole Rohrbough. A lot was expected of the young draft-and-follow player last season, after he had a breakout performance in 2007, with so many scouts raving about him. Instead his performance regressed from his already disappointing 2008 showing.

I caught up with Cole yesterday at the Braves Minor League complex in Orlando, Florida, and it certainly looks like last season was an eye-opener for the young lefty. He's spent the off-season working on his mental approach and completely changing his mechanical approach to pitching. Here is my Q&A with Cole Rohrbough:

Q:  Looking back on last season, how do you feel about it now?

A:  Very disappointing season. It wasn't the way I wanted it to go. Looking back I'd like to say I don't have any regrets as far as how hard I worked, and grinding through it. My game plan, my mental approach, wasn't quite where I think it needed to be, and that's what I'm trying to work on this year.

Q:  How have you been working to change your mental approach?

A:  I've just really been thinking about the times where I felt the most comfortable on the mound, and what my mental approach was then and what I was feeling like on the mound at those times. Last year I think it comes down to I was really overanalyzing stuff. I was thinking about too much and this year I need to think about a lot less, and just keep it real simple.

Q:  Let the catcher to the thinking for you?

A:  Well, yes and no. Hopefully do a lot less [shaking off the catcher] this year.

Q:  Did you work on anything mechanical or pitching-wise this off-season?

A:  I changed my mechanics around this year.

A:  I basically just decided that if there's a way that everybody's been doing it all these years, and the majority of the people have been doing it this way, there's probably a good reason why. Of all the people I talked to made it seem like if you have the right mechanics it's going to take a lot less stress off your arm. My number one goal while playing baseball is to just stay healthy, and I feel like having better mechanics is going to help me do that.

Q:  So your mechanics previously put a lot of stress on your elbow or arm?

A:  It's hard to say, but I'd like to think a lot more than they are right now. The new mechanics feel better. I think it's going to be a lot better on my arm.

Q:  It is weird having pitched one way for so long then completely changing?

A:  I haven't pitched that way my whole life, it was basically something I started doing in college, and it worked really well. It worked really well my first season here, and I really didn't want to change anything. Once I started struggling a little bit I used some common sense and went back to the conventional way.

Q:  Did the Brave get you to change or encourage you to change?

A:  Yeah, they've been encouraging me to do that for a while, and I'm kind of just now doing it.

Q:  Do you have any goals for this coming year?

A:  My goal this year is to not throw one single pitch without conviction. I want to get beat with my best stuff this year

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