Evan Hildenbrandt was the Reds 6th round draft pick in the 2007 draft. After a successful year for the GCL Reds, he is now in Sarasota in Instructional League. I contacted him about doing an interview this offseason and he agreed, so here it is. Obviously RML = Redsminorleagues and EH = Evan Hildenbrandt.
RML: Who was your favorite player growing up?
EH: I didn’t really have a single favorite player, rather I just liked power pitchers in general. I enjoyed pitchers like Randy Johnson, Kerry Wood and Roger Clemens who blew hitters away and racked up strikeouts. However, now that I have matured more as a pitcher I have come to appreciate guys like Roy Halladay who change speeds and use movement to put batters away.
RML: Growing up in Canada, there isn’t a ton of ‘baseball weather’. Joey Votto has said in the past his seasons were maybe a month long growing up. How were you able to make the best of your environment and get in as much baseball as possible?
EH: Im not sure about Joey Votto but where I am from in British Columbia I would play baseball from March until around the beginning of October. Many of the Canadian players in the MLB are from around where I am from so there aren’t really any disadvantages when it comes to climate other than during the winter.
RML: What pitches do you currently throw?
EH: I currently throw fastball, curveball and change. The last half of the year Ive been working on mixing in a sinking fastball to get more groundballs.
RML: Your curveball was rated by Baseball America as the best secondary pitch of any Reds draft pick last year. Is it your go to pitch when you really need to make a pitch?
EH: My curveball is my go to pitch when I need a strikeout, and I have the confidence to use it in any count.
RML: What do you feel are your strengths and weaknesses as a pitcher?
EH: I feel my strengths as a pitcher include being able to throw three pitches for strikes as well as making necessary adjustments in order to be successful. As for weaknesses, I am a young pitcher and I still need to work on consistency as well as maturing mentally and physically.
RML: During the offseason, do you have baseball related activities or do you just rest up (baseball wise) and stay in shape for the next season?
EH: During the offseason I mostly stick to the program the Reds have for me. I like to give my arm rest, especially this year since I have thrown a lot more innings than any other year, and stay in shape through running and swimming.
RML: You played most of the year in Florida with the GCL Reds but got a late promotion to Billings. What was it like going from Sarasota where there were no fans to Billings where they were in the first season with their new stadium?
EH: The biggest thing going from Sarasota to Billings was being able to play night games instead of games in the middle of the day in 100 degree heat. The second thing was definitely the amount of fans, since there were few to none in the GCL and two to four thousand in Billings. The fans made it more enjoyable to play because they added an energy and an atmosphere that made it easy to get amped up for games.
RML: Did you have any goals coming into this season and how were they met?
EH: When I went into spring training this year my goal was to make the Dayton team. Since I hadn’t played Professional baseball before I was quite naïve to the fact that I couldn’t go from pitching 30 innings the year before to 130 this year, as well that I needed a lot of work on finding consistency. Out of that though I was able to pitch in extended spring training and attain better command, develop a change-up, and mature a lot on the mental side of the game. Playing in the GCL, I have been able to develop different parts of my game and get myself ready for the next level.
RML: What are your goals going forward to next year?
EH: My goals for next year are to come back stronger, accomplish things that I wouldn’t have expected to, and make the Dayton team.
I would just like to thank Evan again for agreeing to doing this.