Zach Stewart was the Reds 3rd round pick in the 2008 draft out of Texas Tech. He would spend 2008 relieving in Dayton and Sarasota, but this season the Reds have put him into the rotation and he has spent time in Sarasota and Carolina with outstanding results. Zach took some time to answer some questions for me this past week. Check them out below the stats for Stewart this season.
What kind of things do you enjoy outside of baseball?
I would have to say my favorite things to do besides baseball are hunting and fishing.
Who is the most played artist on your iPod?
Lately it has been Eric Church, but overall its probably between Todd Snider and Cross Canadian Ragweed.
Back in college you were both a starter and a reliever. The Reds used you as a reliever last year but this year they have you working as a starter and the results have been very good so far. Do you like starting more than relieving or did you like relieving more than starting?
I honestly don’t care at this point. I feel more and more comfortable starting after every outing and I’ve never had a problem with relieving, so it really doesn’t make a difference to me.
Kind of going off of that, first what are the pitches that you are currently throwing? Have you changed how you attack guys now because you are going to see them more than once a game as a starter?
4-seam fastball, 2-seam fastball, slider, and change-up. The only difference I would say is the fact that I don’t come out throwing as hard as I did as a reliever so I can go more innings.
In the past you were always a fastball and slider guy. I have heard you added a change up now as well, how do you feel about the pitch? Are you comfortable throwing it whenever or do you go to other pitches more often?
I developed a change-up in junior college with the help from my pitching coach Mark Allen, but this past intructs I was forced to throw it more and it really help me get more comfortable with it.
What do you feel are your strengths and weaknesses as a pitcher?
It’s hard to say what my strengths are I just try go out and do what I have to to get through a game. As far as weaknesses I guess I would have to say sometime I have trouble throwing away to right handed batters.
Is there anything specific that you have been working on this year?
Mostly this year it has just been about adapting to being a starter and my approach over a whole game as opposed to 1 or 2 innings.
Despite being a guy who gets a good amount of strikeouts you also get a ton of groundballs. Is that something you try to work into your game or is it just a result of how you pitch?
I just try to keep the ball down and throw my 2-seam alot.
You were recently promoted to AA Carolina from the Florida State League. The numbers seem to suggest the transition was pretty easy for you, but I am sure it hasn’t been that simple. What is the biggest difference between the two leagues as far as you can tell so far?
The biggest difference is the hitters are more experienced and have better approaches at the plate therefore they are harder to fool.
Is there a pitcher that you model your game after or do you just have your own thing that you grew into over the years?
I don’t know if I model myself after any certain pitcher but growing up I watched Nolan Ryan alot and I feel like I try to pitch aggressively like he did.
Again, I just wanted to thank Zach Stewart for taking the time to answer some questions for me. Lets all hope the best for him the rest of the year.