Q&A with Lee Gronkiewicz
Lee Gronkiewicz

Posted Sep 2, 2005

Free Preview of Premium Content Interview with Lee Gronkiewicz

InsideTheDome: Being selected by the Blue Jays during the Rule 5 draft, what was your reaction to that last winter? Did you expect to be claimed by a team or did you expect to remain with the Indians?

Lee Gronkiewicz: I was very excited about being drafted last December by the Blue Jays. It was my first time being drafted in baseball in any draft. Therefore it was the first time I have really felt like an organization wanted me.

InsideTheDome: Do you believe that the Indians gave you a fair chance? You put up outstanding numbers year after year, but it seems you never got that promotion to challenge you.

Lee Gronkiewicz: The Indians had been very honest with me my whole career. I have deserved some promotions with them, but that was not my job at the time. They told me that I was going to be a year to year guy at every level. So I knew I would not move up at anytime any of the years. I was very surprised last year when they gave me some time in Triple-A with Buffalo. I am thankful that the Indians gave me a chance to play professional baseball. There are not many hard feelings there.

InsideTheDome: Going into spring training did you think you could begin the season at Triple-A, and where you disappointed repeating Double-A after performing well with Akron in 2004?

Lee Gronkiewicz: I thought I had a good chance to start the season this year with Syracuse, but some things you can not control in this game. I was pretty disappointed, but I feel like that gave me some fuel for the fire this year. Every time I pitched in Double-A this year I had a chip on my shoulder. So it might have been a good thing to get my season rolling in the right direction.

InsideTheDome: Give us a little scouting report about yourself on the mound. What pitches do you throw, how hard, and what pitch would you consider your best pitch?

Lee Gronkiewicz: I have 5 pitches in my repertoire. I throw a fastball in the 88-91 range, a curve in the 68-70 MPH range, a slider/slurve which is in the 75-76 MPH range, a changeup in the 78-80 MPH range, and a cut fastball which clocks at 82-84 MPH range. Recently I have lost my cut fastball and it had turned too big. So it is little slow right now. I am working to getting it back in the 80's

InsideTheDome: Is there a pitch you are currently working on to improve on, or even one that you are trying to learn and add to your repertoire?

Lee Gronkiewicz: Well I am always working on locating my fastball. I feel like I have done a good job with that this year and am working on getting better always. Right now my focus is on getting my cut fastball back to 82-84 MPH. It has slowed down to 78-79 MPH and it is too close to my slider speed. It has recently turned into the same pitch, which is not good.

InsideTheDome: If there is one thing you would like to work on to improve in your game, what would it be?

Lee Gronkiewicz: Well I can’t grow five more inches so I guess I will have learn how to gain maybe a mile or two on my fastball. I would like to improve on my location of all my pitches. I can throw all my pitches for strikes. I think the next step is being able to throw all my pitches for quality strikes. What I mean by that is to be able to throw my curve and slider on the black of the plate. Right now I leave it on the outer third of the plate.

InsideTheDome: Have the Blue Jays told you if you will be a September call-up, and do you expect to join the Jays in September after your incredible season?

Lee Gronkiewicz: They have not said anything to me. They did not let me go to the World Cup for Team USA so I hope I get a chance in September, but that is out of my control. I have put myself in good position to do that this year. I know JP has some tough choices to make. I hope I am one of them either way.

InsideTheDome: Whether in spring training, with New Hampshire or now with Syracuse, has there been one pitcher in the Jays system that has really impressed you and that you believe has a good shot of being successful in the majors.

Lee Gronkiewicz: I think Shawn Marcum has been real impressive to me. He really has a good concept of pitching. He throwing strikes down in the zone, and working fast. Teammates really like playing behind someone who attacks hitters quick. I really feel that is why he has won a lot of games this year.

InsideTheDome: Whether in spring training, with New Hampshire or now with Syracuse, has there been one hitter in the Jays system that has really impressed you and that you believe has a good shot of being successful in the majors.

Lee Gronkiewicz: In Double-A I was impressed with Rob Cosby. He started off real slow, by the time I left he was maybe the hottest hitter in the league. In Triple-A, Gabe Gross has really taken a liking to leading off. He has set the table lately for Kevin Barker and John-Ford Griffin. Both of them are RBI machines

InsideTheDome: Have the Jays told you what they want you do this winter? Will you pitch in winter league, or attend instructional league, or anything to that extent?

Lee Gronkiewicz: They have not told me what they want. Right now I have signed to play in Mexico. Last year I was in Venezuela and Puerto Rico.

Related Stories
BMLN: David Smith Hits .373 During August
 -by FutureJays.com  Aug 31, 2005
Week 18: Minor League Power Rankings
 -by FutureJays.com  Aug 26, 2005
Q&A with Fisher Cats Third Baseman Rob Cosby
 -by FutureJays.com  Aug 24, 2005

> Members-only Forums
> Insider Information
> MiLB &
   MLB Draft News
> Expert Chats

Sign Up Today!

Free Email Newsletter
Don't miss any news or features from FutureJays.com. Subscribe to our newsletter to have our newest articles emailed to you on a daily or weekly basis.
Click here for a list of all Team Newsletters.

Add Players to My HotList
Get free email alerts with news about your favorite players. Click name to add to My HotList.
IF Kevin Barker (profile)
3B Rob Cosby (profile)
P Lee Gronkiewicz (profile)
OF Gabe Gross (profile)
P Shaun Marcum (profile)
[View My HotList]
Add Topics to My HotList
Get free email alerts with news about your favorite topics. Click link to add to My HotList.
Baseball > Auburn > Alumni
Baseball > South Carolina > Alumni
[View My HotList]