MMO Q&A With Cyclones Catcher Kevin Plawecki
Note: This interview was conducted on July 3rd, so references to the game from the night before were actually the game on July 2nd.
Petey: I am talking today with NY Mets 2012 1st-round sandwich pick, catcher Kevin Plawecki of the Brooklyn Cyclones. Kevin how does it feel to be in your first season in professional baseball with the Mets organization, and what do you think of the New York Penn League?
Kevin: It’s great so far. It’s a little bit of a transition from college ball to here. Obviously the velocity of the pitching, the consistency of the pitching, just getting used to my pitchers and the guys on my team as well. But so far it’s been a great transition, and I’m looking forward to what the rest of the year has to offer.
Petey: You had a big part in the win last night, an 11-inning victory. You hit a big home run in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game, and then got on base to lead off the 11th and got on when you were hit by a pitch, and that eventually led to the winning run scoring. What were you trying to do with the at-bat when you came up in the ninth inning and hit the game-tying home run?
Kevin: I was just looking for something to drive. Obviously we needed to get a rally going cause we were running out of time. At the plate, I was fortunate enough to run into one good enough to leave the park for me, but by no means was I trying to hit a home run. I’ve been struggling a little bit at the plate so I ran into one like that, and that’s always nice. It boosts your confidence a little bit. I’ve been frustrated at the plate a little bit but I’m just sticking with it and the hits will come.
Petey: What kind of stuff are you working on now in the cage to break out of it?
Kevin: Just working on drills that have gotten me to this point. So there’s no reason to change anything, no reason to over-think anything. Like I said, it’s a transition. Coming out here I took about a week off, I don’t know if that had anything to do with it. I’ll figure it out and last night was hopefully a good block to build off of and moving forward here. We got a long season ahead.
Petey: You guys have a very strong catching core with yourself, Jeff Glenn and Nelfi Perez.
Kevin: Yeah, both guys are great baseball players, great guys to be around. They’re doing a great job and they’ve been doing it all year. We all work together as a unit, I don’t see any problems there at all.
Pete: Let’s talk a little about the pitching staff, which you handle so well. First of all the starting pitching, They rank number one in just about every category in the league. That must make your job easier to have five or six guys like that.
Kevin: Yeah, it’s always nice when you’re working with guys who can hit their spots well, and who can throw all their pitches for strikes at any time in the count. And when you can do that with guys it makes it a lot easier on my end because I know they’re confident in the pitches they are throwing. It keeps the hitters off-balance and the other team off-balance when all those things are working, and it has up to this point this year. I don’t see anything changing and I look forward to their continued success as well.
Petey: Are you calling your own games?
Kevin: Yeah. Sure am.
Petey: How is that coming along? It must be a challenge getting to know the hitters and figuring their weaknesses out.
Kevin: Yeah, I mean it is a little bit of a new challenge, but it also has to do with me getting to know my pitchers. Like I said, just knowing what they can throw for strikes and what they feel comfortable throwing in certain situations. That’s the main thing really, having my pitchers throw the pitches they want to throw and not feeling uncomfortable throwing certain pitches. So far we’ve been on the same page most of the time. We’ll just continue to get to know one another and go from here.
Petey: The other night you DH’d when Mateo pitched. But you have caught him before, what kind of stuff does he throw?
Kevin: He’s good. He spots up with his fastball very well. He’s got a great slider. His change-up’s good as well, so when he’s got all three of his pitches working and he’s throwing mid-nineties, it’s kind of hard as an opposing hitter to really figure out what he’s going to throw you next. He keeps the hitters off-balance and keeps the other team guessing and I think that’s important to his success up to this point. He’s a great pitcher.
Petey: What kind of movement does he get on his fastball?
Kevin: He gets quite a bit. It moves different directions. I don’t know what he does I’m just out there catching it, I don’t know what to expect either back there. I don’t know if it’s his arm-angle that he comes in at, or the way he grips the ball. I have no idea, he definitely does find a way to get it done.
Petey: How bout his change? How much of a speed differential does he get off his fastball?
Kevin: I don’t know exact numbers, but it’s enough to keep hitters off-balance.
Petey: Does it have good movement too, the change-up?
Kevin: Yeah, it’s a great pitch, a good secondary pitch to go to. He’s been doing really well for us.
Petey: How about the relief corp? Any of those guys really impressed so far?
Kevin: Matthew Bowman and Paul Sewald have been good out of the pen. Last night John Mincone, I don’t want to forget any guys.
Petey: And how about David Wynn, and Tyler Vanderheiden, Logan Taylor, Ernesto Yanez and Matt Koch? They’ve all been very effective this year.
Kevin: Yeah they’ve done a great job, all of them are doing really well. I can’t really pinpoint one over the other.
Petey: Yeah. and we are gonna leave someone out, but the pen’s been simply outstanding this year too. Well Kevin, I’m gonna let you go, but thanks so much for taking the time to answer some questions for all of us at MMO. We really appreciate it and I’ll be looking forward to speaking with you again.
Kevin: Sure. Sounds great.
About the Author: Peter Shapiro
The first time I went to Shea was not for a Mets game, it was for the Beatles concert there in August of '66. My first Met game was '67, a guy named Salty Parker was the interim-manager then. My first pennant race was 1969. As a 12 year-old that summer and fall, I managed to get to the park for 3 games. The first was the beginning of the Miracle which actually started on Tuesday July 8, 1969 with a day game against the Cubs. I was there a lot in '73. I saw games 3 & 5 of the 1973 NL Playoffs against the "Big Red Machine", from the upper deck behind home plate. It was from there that I witnessed the fight between Bud Harrelson and Pete Rose, and the mayhem that ensued. And that sweet victory in game 5! I saw a couple of WS games at Shea that year against that legendary Oakland A's club. I was there in 1985 for every single game Dr. K pitched including his two 16 strikeout performances, and the day he one-hit the Cubs on an infield single and the Mets won 1-0. I loved being a Met fan in those days. Hopefully we are once again preparing to emerge from the darkness.
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