I recently conducted an interview with New York Mets pitcher Chris Schwinden who was kind enough to answer a few questions for me to share with our MMO community. Schwinny was totally cool and I hope you’ll leave him some nice comments. Enjoy!
First of all Chris, congratulations on a terrific season in 2011! Anchoring the Bison’s rotation all year was quite an achievement, and of course being named to the mid-season AAA All-Star team was sweet too. But then to be called up to make your debut in the Major Leagues must have been an unbelievable thrill. And to have realized a dream like that, well that thought is something that fills the rest of us with wonder. Thank you so much for sharing a little of your time. The readers at MetsMerizedOnline.com will really enjoy reading about you and getting to know a little more about one of our newest Mets.
Petey: When the Mets drafted you out of Fresno Pacific in the 22nd round of the 2008 MLB Player Draft, how did you first hear about it, and what was that feeling like?
Chris: I was sittiing at home just watching TV and watching my computer screen. Then when I saw my name pop up, I was shocked and excited at the same time.
Petey: Is there one person, a coach, a friend or family member, or even another player, who you learned the most from, or who inspired you to chase your dream of becoming a major league baseball player?
Chris: All my friends and faimly are always there to motivate me. The main person to push me in baseball and who was always encouraging me is my mom and my dad. Mom was there on the encouragement. My dad was making me better. There is also my high school coach Tom Buckley, college coaches from C.O.S. (College of the Sequoias), Jody Allen and Dana Gomez. This list is actually endless. Too many people that made me the person and player I am today.
Petey: Tell us a little bit about your arsenal. What pitches you throw, at what speeds, and are you working on any new pitches moving forward?
Chris: I throw a four-seam fastball, curve, cutter, change-up, and sinker. This off-season I’m going to work on throwing the sinker on both sides of the plate.
Petey: Quite a bit of positive things happened for you between the end of 2010, and the start of the 2011 season. When you arrived at Binghamton for the second half of 2010, you struggled for the first time in your professional career. But by the time the 2011 season rolled around, you had obviously made some adjustments which enabled you to move up a level to AAA, and find success there. What was it that changed for you between the end of 2010, and the start of 2011?
Chris: Well the big thing to focus on after the 2010 season was saying to myself, “Its only going to get harder.” Other than working on command and mechanics, I had experienced failing. For me to go through that was a big hurdle in itself I thought.
Petey: What kind of things will you do to stay in shape over the winter? Can you describe your regimen? Do you plan on playing winter ball?
Chris: No winter ball for me this year. I have thown too many innings this year. The plan is to workout, get stronger, improve my mechanics, and be ready physically and mentally come ST.
Petey: When you got that call to the big leagues this year, what was it like? How did they inform you that you were headed for the “show”? Did any one player, or players, go out of their way to welcome you to the Mets?
Chris: We had just played our last game in Scranton and Rickey Bones our pitching coach came in and pulled me into the manager’s office and told me I was heading to the bigs. Chris Capuano was very welcoming along with a few other vets.
Petey: You got 4 starts for the Mets under your belt in September, and despite not picking up your first win yet, you pitched quite well. How did that experience prepare you, and motivate you heading into next year? What do you need to work on to maximize your opportunity to make the big league club coming out of ST in 2012?
Chris: Having experienced that, I know now how things are done. What I can do at that level. Facing the hitters that I faced taught me something about myself and I learned a lot from others. To break with the big club, I think it will take a lot of hard work and preparation, executing when it is my turn to pitch. When a player starts worrying about another, thats when things don’t go your way.
Petey: Was there any one hitter you have faced so far in the majors, where you said to yourself, “oh-my-gosh, I can’t believe I’m about to pitch to this guy!”
Chris: Haha pretty much all of them! But I would have to say guys like: Chipper Jones, Albert Pujols, Joey Votto. Facing those hitters was amazing, and I cant wait to face them again.
Petey: What was your favorite baseball team growing up? Your favorite player?
Chris: My favorite team growing up was the Giants. My favorite player was Will Clark.
Petey: And to finish up Chris, just a little personal info, not pertaining to baseball. What is your favorite movie? Favorite musician or band? Favorite food?
Chris: My favorite food is Fettuccine Alfredo. I really don’t have a favorite movie. I have a lot of movies that I like. My favorite band would be Killswitch Engage.
Petey: Thanks again Chris for being so gracious as to participate in this interview! Take care, and looking forward to seeing you on the “bump” next year!
Chris: Thank you, its been a pleasure. I hope to be there!
Wow, what a nice guy! We’ll have to check in with Schwinny again one day in the future. Perhaps when 2012 ST rolls around, we can get a progress report from him. Hope you enjoyed the interview!
Check back for my 2012 Top 20 Mets Prospect List, which debuts later this morning with #20 right here on MMO.