Mariners Hot Stove Show: A visit with Marco Gonzales plus an expert’s look at the farm system’s top talent
A view from the outside and an inside look. A starter and a reliever. This week’s Mariners Hot Stove Show had a little bit of everything, and if you missed it, never fear, we have a podcast.
Hour 1 kicked off with a visit from Marco Gonzales, who after the requisite hair talk with Aaron Goldsmith shared some of his secrets of how to thrive in a high-velocity world when you throw 88-90 mph.
Health, experience, adaptability, the ability to read swings and a no-fear attitude have all played large roles in his success, but the biggest learning perhaps has been understanding the importance of game planning and sticking to that plan.
“It’s extremely difficult and it’s taken a lot of practice,” Gonzales said. “I think as I have gotten to become a better pitcher it is because of my ability to game plan and visualize a plan of attack the night before. Visualize these hitters standing in the box even three days before in the bullpen. But the game plan the day of I think has been crucial for us.”
Gonzales also touched on the topic of command, pitching to the corners and whether or not it can be taught, a behind the scenes look at Kyle Lewis, and revealed which teammate he feels is holding him back from winning his first Gold Glove Award.
Up next was assistant director of player development Emanuel Sifuentes, who has made the interesting move from the scouting department to player development.
“We’ve never had someone who had been in scouting or advanced scouting and then player development,” Sifuentes pointed out. “It is a unique perspective, I hope fresh perspective perhaps I can add to the table. I’ve seen the player pool from the major leagues all the way down to high school level and somewhat at the international level as well. I think I bring a good understanding of the player pool and what it takes to get to the big leagues. Hopefully I can help out the players and staff in that regard.”
Part of Sifuentes’ new job will be to manage and implement the content that has been developed in the remaking of player development that had occurred since general manager Jerry Dipoto and director of player development Andy McKay were hired.
“It’s about taking that content and making sure our programs and systems are being held to a high standard every single day throughout the organization,” said Sifuentes.
Listen to the first hour podcast at this link or in the player below.
The first guest of the second hour was lefty reliever Anthony Misiewicz, a player who graduated to the big leagues and has benefited from those systems Sifuentes spoke about. Misiewicz, who led Mariners relievers in a number of categories last year, joined the show from his home in Michigan and recounted what he could remember memories from his debut opening day against the Astros.
“I remember striking out (José) Altuve, that’s about it honestly,” he said. “I kind of went blank when I faced my first three hitters. The only thing I remember was getting him 3-2 and him swinging out of his shoes. It was quite an experience.”
Among other stories Misiewicz was able to share was the unique experience of getting both traded by and traded for by the club that developed him, his thoughts on transitioning from starter to reliever, and the most hilarious mispronunciation of his name he has ever heard.
Following My Sandwiches, er, Misiewicz, was Kyle Glaser, senior writer for Baseball America. Glaser and the good folks at BA have been busy getting out the annual Baseball America Prospect Handbook, which this year features Mariners outfield prospect Julio Rodriguez on the cover.
It was an interesting year for prospect evaluation as there was no minor league season and no access to players at MLB teams’ alternate sites. Despite this, Glaser was confident that the Mariners possess some of the best top-of-the-system talent in the game. How this translates at the big league level remains to be seen, but Glaser gave his thoughts on what it would take for the Mariners to hit their contention window and come out atop the American League West standings.
The final spot on the show was handed over to director of marketing Mandy Lincoln, who gave the rundown on the upcoming Mariners Care “Virtual” Community Tour, which will this year take the place of the annual Mariners Caravan. The tour will include online events that begin Jan. 19 and feature Q&A sessions with outfielder Braden Bishop, infielder Ty France and Mariners play-by-play man Rick Rizzs. Information can be found at this link.
The Hot Stove Show can be heard from 7 to 9 p.m. every Tuesday leading up to spring training on 710 ESPN Seattle.
For the second hour of the most recent Hot Stove Show, visit this link or use the player below.