As the highest drafted player from the Oakland A's 2014 draft class currently on the Beloit Snappers' roster, it’s easy to see how starting pitcher Daniel Gossett could be pressing a little bit early in his first full professional season. Not known as a power pitcher, the right-hander acknowledges that he’s been trying to do too much on the mound.
The results have been mixed for Oakland’s 2014 second-round pick out of Clemson, as he’s compiled a 1-4 record and 4.94 ERA through the first six starts of the season. Gossett is taking everything in stride, realizing the season is a marathon and not a sprint.
“I’ve started off kind of slow and the numbers show that,” Gossett said. “It’s just a thing. It’s a long year and we’re going to keep working like we have been. I’ve been getting better each time out. I’m staying focused on the bigger picture. This is a long season and I can’t get overwhelmed.”
The former ACC pitching standout seemed to find something during starts at Peoria on April 30th and at home against Burlington on May 5th, a stretch during which he allowed just two earned runs on five hits and struck out 14 batters in 11.2 innings.
The back-to-back appearances made sense to the 6'2'' right-hander, as he felt like he was his relaxed self on the mound.
“My pitching coach Steve Conley and I were talking about how I was overthrowing and trying to do too much,” Gossett said. “It was a new season and I felt like I had to prove myself all over again. I was reassuring myself that my stuff was good enough.
“It was staying smooth, not trying to overthrow and having a plan. I’ve always had a problem with trying to overpower my fastball. I don’t have a power arm and then I try to make it a power arm – it’s just me being mature enough to know I have a plan when I’m pitching.”
Gossett prides himself on controlling the strike-zone and cutting down free passes. However, walks have been an issue thus far for Gossett, as he’s allowed 17 in his 31 innings of work.
“When things are going well for me, I’m staying smooth, staying within my mechanics and pounding the strike zone,” he said. “That’s kind of been my M.O. from day one. I like to throw strikes and am going to throw strikes. I need to cut down the walks and beat up the strike zone.”
After being drafted last June, Gossett made 12 appearances, mostly in relief, at short-season Vermont. He allowed six earned runs on 16 hits in 24 innings, posting a remarkable 24:1 K:BB rate.
Gossett has already noticed a big difference during his month-long stint with Beloit, as far as the competition goes.
“We’re obviously playing against better hitters,” Gossett said. “Even from short-season, you can see the caliber of hitters is going up and everybody has a better plan and approach. It’s not so much just throwing a fastball.
“You can’t make a mistake up here or they’ll make you pay. I can only assume it’s going to get more advanced as you go up. It’s kind of exciting – you keep bettering yourself with a chance to move up in the organization.”
Sharpening up a three-pitch arsenal that includes a fastball, curveball and change-up are also at the forefront for Gossett.
“We throw a ton of changeups in this organization, so just working on throwing those for strikes as well as swing-and-miss pitches,” he said. “If you prove you can prove to a hitter you can throw all your pitches for strikes in any count, they’re going to have to respect that and it makes your job easier.”
Gossett makes his seventh appearance of the season on Saturday night at Peoria.