Part one of this interview can be found here: Rays Prospect Q & A: Jake Floethe (Part 1)
Rays Digest: You went to Cal State-Fullerton and the Rays drafted another pitcher from there this year, Dylan Floro. Going back to your days there, can you tell me a little bit about him? Did you call him and give him some advice on being a pro?
Jake Floethe: I definitely gave him a call and told him congratulations and that the Rays organization was going to be a great organization for him and that the pitching coaches we have throughout the system he'll really, really enjoy. I knew that he was headed to Hudson Valley and he'd be working with [Kyle] Snyder and [Jared] Sandberg and those two are great guys. I got to know Snyder in spring training. I got to sit and talk to him about the things he went through throughout his career and I really think that will help Dylan down the road.
He's a hard worker and has plus, plus sink on his fastball and I think that is really going to help him throughout minor league baseball. With the kind of sinker he has, he made guys look silly in college baseball and I can only imagine what he is doing in Hudson Valley. He has a great life to his fastball and he is kind of a go-getter. He just attacks the hitter and gets ahead. I think he's going to have a bright future with the Rays.
Rays Digest: Your dad [Chris Floethe] pitched in the A's organization in the 70's. What kind of influence has he had on your career? Do you guys sit around the dinner table and talk pitching and mechanics and stuff? Does he help you with coaching at all or does he just cheer you on as a dad?
Jake Floethe: He's there when I need him to be as a coach. He's kind of let me do my on thing and work with different coaches after I was about 13 or 14 years old. He's there when I need him to be. It's not like it's nonstop baseball talk - which is nice. Whenever I'm having trouble or a certain situation is going on - he's been through it in the minor leagues. He understands the situation I'm in and the grind of being a minor league baseball player. So, whenever I'm having trouble and I ask for help, he is there. He's dead-on with mechanics and is good with how to attack hitters in certain ways or in a different way then I did. That really helps me throughout the season. Not being strictly baseball has really helped me too. It's nice to have a father-figure there and not just a coach.
Rays Digest: Of course the season is a grind on you physically and mentally, but what about off the field? I don't think a lot of people realize the lifestyle of a minor league baseball player and how hard it is. You have those long 10 hour bus rides to Michigan for games. How has that adjustment been for you always living out of a suitcase and staying at hotels and spending a lot of time on the road?
Jake Floethe: It's taken awhile to adjust to, especially taking those 8 to 10 hour bus rides and having to pitch the following day. It's nothing that has taken a toll, but it's something that I've gotten used to and our entire team has gotten used to. We probably have the worst travel schedule out of the whole Midwest League. Being a young team has helped us I think because we have young guys and that kind of stuff usually doesn't faze them. Taking 10 hour bus rides and arriving to the field and being ready to play I think has motivated us more than anything. We spend a lot of time together on the bus and on the road, so we have become close as a team. I think that is why we are doing so well this year, because we all get along and hang out off the field.
Rays Digest: I ran across a blog you wrote during spring training. Is writing and blogging something you enjoy doing? I know you are on Twitter too. How is doing stuff like that good for you and for fans?
Jake Floethe: When I was at Cal State-Fullerton I majored in Communications and as an internship I did a blog for a baseball team. During the off-season I was doing camps and I told them that I would do a couple of blogs for them to kind of show the kids what it takes to go through spring training and a little bit of the minor league season. I do enjoy it and I think it helps me as a ballplayer sit back and realize that what I do is a privilege. It's something that kids can read that will encourage them to want to do what I'm doing. I'm doing something that I've dreamed about my entire life and writing about it makes you sit back and enjoy the stuff that I'm doing on a daily basis to play baseball for a living. I do like writing about it, but it's tough to stay consistent with it throughout a long season. But I do like doing it and reaching out to Rays fans and letting them know what we go through on a daily basis.
Rays Digest: As you're winding down your first full season, is there anything in particular that you want to focus on going into the off-season and next season? Is there anything regarding conditioning or mechanics or your delivery or maybe learning a new pitch? What do you want to work on going forward?
Jake Floethe: Mechanically there are two things I definitely want to work on. I want o develop a cut-fastball to go with my sinking fastball, something that crosses with it to change a hitter's eyesight and kind of keep them guessing when a fastball is coming. That's one thing I need to develop along with my alignment. I tend to throw across my body a little bit and I need to straighten that out just a hair so I can stay more consistent with my landing. That will help with my stride and keeping my arm slot in the right position.
Physically, I think I want to focus on putting on some weight. Throughout a long season you tend to fluctuate with weight up-and-down. So my goal is to put on about 15 pounds this off-season and hopefully come into spring training a little bigger. Hopefully that will help me throw 130 to 140 innings next season.
You can also keep up with and support Floethe by following him on Twitter at @JFloethe38.
John Gregg is Publisher and Senior Editor of Rays Digest. You can follow him on Twitter at @RaysDigest. He can also be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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