Andrew Benak was drafted in the 14th round of the 2012 MLB Draft out of Rice University. He spent his first professional season as a starter in Short Season Staten Island, pitching to a 3.98 ERA in 61 innings, but in 2013 he has moved to the bullpen and upped his strikeout rate to 9.2 K/9 in 19.2 innings. Benak was nice enough to talk to me about pitching and his 2013 season.
Did you do anything differently in order to prepare for the transition from starter to reliever?
I didn't do anything differently to prepare for the transition other than try to condition my arm to get warm quicker.
What have you done to up your strikeouts and lower your walks this season?
I've just tried to trust my stuff more and let everything else fall in place.
What is the strongest part of your game?
I would say the strongest part of my game has been the improvement of my slider this year.
What are you looking to improve on the most this season?
What I am looking to improve on most this year is just throwing strikes and trying to get hitters out in three pitches or less.
How has your pitch selection and approach changed since moving to the bullpen?
My pitch selection hasn't changed too much but I have started to find out that there are times to go at people with my fastball and times to pitch backwards.
What was the greatest lesson you learned in your first season of pro ball and how have you brought that over to 2013?
The greatest lesson I have learned is to take everyday as it is and not to worry yourself with the future or what has happened in the past.
Follow Andrew as he tries to make it as a reliever in the Yankees organization and follow him @abenak30 as well.