Dennis Raben, a lefthand pitcher, went 9-0 with a 0.64 ERA during his senior season at St. Thomas Aquinas. In his junior year of high school at Hollywood Hills, Raben went 7-0 with a 1.44 ERA.
Why have the coaches wanted to try you as a reliever this season?
"Last year I tried pitching a little bit, but I didn't do so good early in the season, so we shut that down, but I think the coaches want to try it again this year. I think I have been doing well in the intersquad games so far. I have only pitched 5-6 innings, but I have looked pretty good, so the coaches want to give it another try."
Did you come to the coaches and say you wanted to try pitching again?
"They came to me. They want a lefty coming out of the bullpen because Teddy Kaufman is a little hurt right now with a sore arm, so they asked me if I would be willing to come out of the bullpen and I said I would love to."
What type of pitches do you have?
"I throw a mid-80s fastball. I feel like my best offspeed pitch is my curveball. JD has taught me a cutter that I am throwing and I also have a changeup."
I know during the fall, you weren't hitting the ball like you wanted, how is your bat coming around in the preseason?
"I feel good so far. I feel like the only thing I have to work on is my discipline with staying off of pitches that are out of the zone. Other than that, I am doing fine at the plate."
You had a nagging toe injury during the fall, are you fully recovered from that now?
"I had surgery during the offseason on my big toe, and that has recovered pretty good, so I am looking forward to having a healthy year."
The expectations are high this year for the team, can you talk about how the team is handling the expectations?
"Expectations are high being ranked second in one poll and sixth in another, but we thrive off of that. We want people to be shooting for us. We want to be at the top and people to be coming after us because then we have to step up our game—we can't let our guard down against everybody. I think we will be fine being ranked so high to start the season."
Can you talk about the sophomore class and the type of impact your class had on the team last season and what type of season you expect from the sophomores this year?
"We stepped in as freshmen last year—we all started as freshmen—and I feel like we have a good core coming back this year. Freitas has also been hitting the ball well and he might have a shot in the outfield. He has got a big bat with a lot of power. Then you got me and Blake in the outfield along with Jemile and Yonder in the infield. We have some good sophomores, but we also have some good freshmen who are stepping up and will help us out this year too."
Pitching Coach J.D. Arteaga scouting report on Raben:
"Raben throws a lot of strikes. His opportunity really has kind of come at the expense of others. PJ Fisher, a Miami-Dade transfer had shoulder surgery in the summer and he is not ready to go yet. Teddy Kauffman had surgery his senior year of high school and he is having some problems with his elbow now. We are really only down to Erickson as the only lefthander in the bullpen. Raben would be another lefty in the bullpen and if we have to use him, we will use him, but he will be in the middle of our batting lineup and starting in the outfield, so it is not that easy to put him in at pitcher whenever we want because we do need him in the lineup every day."
David Lake can be reached at email@example.com
Dennis Raben Q&A
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