Operating under the radar while fellow pitchers Raul Alcantara and Michael Ynoa did their thing early this season, right-hander Seth Streich provided a steady presence in the Beloit Snappers' rotation. But now that those two have moved on to Stockton, Streich has elevated his play to another level.
A sixth-round selection in the 2012 draft, Streich has a 4-2 record and 1.79 ERA in the second half of the season. He's allowed 10 earned runs on 44 hits in 50.1 innings of work, compiling a 36:10 K:BB ratio.
"I like the consistency that Seth has given us throughout the year," Beloit manager Ryan Christensen said. "He's one of our go-to guys that I feel good about running out there each time he goes out. He's a great competitor on the mound and works with a good pace and tempo. When he has consistency and command, he's very good."
The Ohio University product opened the season in Beloit and has been a quality start machine, with the exception of two lackluster performances – April 26th against South Bend (2.1 IP, 6ER, 7H) and May 12th against Cedar Rapids (2 IP, 10 ER, 7H).
Streich says he has remained on an even keel since the start of June, when he began a stretch of 11 starts in which he's allowed more than two earned runs only once. During June, Streich had an ERA of 1.54 and earned Midwest League Pitcher of the Week once.
"It's been a lot more consistent as of late," Streich said. "Mentally it's just trying to keep things as simple as I possibly can and not trying to over-analyze everything I do. I'm taking it one pitch at a time and filling my head with positive thoughts.
"To start the year I was really struggling, riding the emotional rollercoaster and getting too low during low times and too high during high times. Lately I've been more consistent with my approach and trying to be persistent with it."
In an organization that stresses fastball command, Streich is excelling with a 91-94 MPH sinking fastball. Now it's a matter of perfecting his change-up and breaking ball as secondary pitches. He experimented with a cutter during instructional league, before scrapping the pitch. But the added focus on his breaking ball is paying dividends.
"I'm changing speeds and locating my fastball – those are the things that keep you consistent against teams," he said. "Fastball location has always been pretty consistent for me. It's been a matter of getting my change-up and curveball more consistent. I worked on a cutter, but Emo [A's minor league pitching coordinator Scott Emerson] said it's best for me to focus on these three pitches before moving to anything else."
With a months-long string of quality starts under his belt, Streich will look to wrap up his season on a high note and lead Beloit into the Midwest League playoffs.
"Right now I'm just focusing on finishing strong," Streich said. "We hear it once a day – it's not how you start but how you finish. My focus point is living in the present and taking things one day at a time."