Spring Training '07: Jesse Litsch Interview

Spring Training '07: Jesse Litsch Interview

Right-handed pitcher Jesse Litsch recently sat down with InsideTheDome to talk about his breakout 2006 season, what he worked on during the off-season and the upcoming 2007 season.

InsideTheDome: Jesse, you made tremendous progress this past season. Can you talk further about your development?

Jesse Litsch: It was a big step for me. I felt that I had a good year. I feel that I threw the ball well. I moved higher than what I thought I would. I'm extremely happy with my progression. It's definitely a motivation. It makes you think you can reach this lifetime dream at any moment.

InsideTheDome: What are some of the differences between High-A and the Double-A level?

Jesse Litsch: The hitters don't miss much. I had a decent amount of strikeouts, but I felt I could strike out more batters at High-A. When you reach Double-A you notice that the hitters really battle you. My pitch count went up in Double-A but I found myself pitching less innings each start compared to High-A because hitters really worked the count. I realized I couldn't live off my fastball. It's a learning experience and you realize you need to continue developing and adapt to each situation.

InsideTheDome: At this stage in your career what would you state as the strongest aspect in your game?

Jesse Litsch: I would have to say my mentality on the mound. My teammates call me ‘The Bulldog', and that's me. I want to win, and will do whatever it takes to get my team the victory. I hate losing. When I'm on the field I give it my all and leave it all on the field.

InsideTheDome: What are some adjustments you made this past season?

Jesse Litsch: I was working with Daryl Knowles in Dunedin on my mechanics in terms of learning how to pitch in certain counts and what pitches to throw in different situations and to certain type of hitters. You learn about pitch sequences more. I was throwing a slider at High-A and when I went to Double-A Dave LaRoche, the pitching coach there, told me to put the slider away and throw it a few times each game. My focus was on improving my curveball and I did to the point where my curveball is a plus pitch for me and really a stepping stone in my development. I used to throw it 2-3 times a game and my coaches kept telling me it's a really good pitch and to throw it more often. I began throwing it in my first game at Double-A and had 10 strikeouts in 5 innings. I have confidence in my curveball right now.

InsideTheDome: You walked just 8 batters while you pitched in Dunedin and your command stayed consistent when you were promoted to New Hampshire. To what do you contribute your plus command to?

Jesse Litsch: Our thing in the organization is to let opponents hit the ball. They want you within three-to-four pitches to record an out. My theory is I'd rather have them get on base by hitting the ball, than giving them a base for free by the walk. When you walk batters that's when runners start scoring, therefore I focus on getting ahead in the count and make them hit the ball.

InsideTheDome: What was your off-season like?

Jesse Litsch: I was at the complex every day. I'm 20 minutes away from the complex and Roy Halladay is there a lot so I got to work with him, and he showed me a bunch of stuff. What more could you ask for. You have the chance to work with one of the best pitchers in the game and you have to take advantage of the opportunity.

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