Schreiber hoping for another solid season

Zach Schreiber saved 21 games for Mississippi last season, and so far he's off to a solid start this year in Double-A with two saves in his first four games. The Braves Show's Bill Shanks has more with the former University of Duke baseball star.

SHANKS: You were in big league camp a great deal this spring in Orlando. Describe what it was like to be in a big league clubhouse, even if it was just for spring training.
SCHREIBER: It's just a great atmosphere, really. To be in there and see how they go about things is really great. Hopefully I can start to get used to it. I hope I'll be up there sometime. It was nice to be up there though to get to know some of the guys. Some of them I already knew, some I don't. But it was nice to get to know some of the new guys as well.

SHANKS: You had to feel pretty good over the winter reflecting back on your 2006 season in Double-A.
SCHREIBER: Last year I started to get really comfortable with my mechanics. It's a credit to Kent Willis especially because I got to a point to where if I felt something was wrong I could correct it since I knew what I was doing wrong. Once I figured that out, my velocity started to improve and my location started to improve. I started out last season with a lot of walks. Then toward the end of the season I really cut down on those walks. I had a few intentional walks here and there just because of situational things, but at the beginning of the season I had a lot of walks that were not intentional. They were just walks and that was my fault. But I saw my control start to get better, and I started to click with my mechanics.

SHANKS: And to have that part of your game under control, particularly as a closer, must be good. You can't walk people as a closer.
SCHREIBER: Exactly. I don't know what the statistic is but it's something like over 80% of the walks usually score. As a closer you have to come in and shut things down. If you let guys on base, it's going to bite you in the butt later in the games.

SHANKS: How much does it help to see your control improve like that? Is that important in your development to see yourself improve on an area that you struggled with?
SCHREIBER: Oh yeah it definitely helps your confidence because when you come in at the end of the game you have to be flawless. You have to go in there with the mentality that you're not going to give up any runs. So once I got more comfortable that helped me out a lot. I always had that mentality, but I wasn't always comfortable with my mechanics. So it didn't always work out like that.

SHANKS: When you take a big step forward like you did last season, how important is it to keep that going and not go backwards?
SCHREIBER: My goal is to make it to the big leagues. I don't want to take a step back. I want to be able to pitch and get some innings under my belt just so I can stay sharp with my mechanics and hopefully at some point get an opportunity to go up there and show what I can do.

SHANKS: Kent Willis has talked about your aggressiveness on the mound. Did you feel yourself, as you became the closer, become more aggressive in your approach?
SCHREIBER: Well I think I've always been aggressive when I've pitched. Being in the situation I was last year and taking over that role it increased a lot. My competitiveness definitely came out. I'm real competitive, so it was a good spot for me to be in because that's the way I like to play. I like to have a little pressure on me. It was almost like sometimes I'd let guys on base and then I'd start to kick it in.

Bill Shanks is the author of Scout's Honor: The Bravest Way To Build A Winning Team, a look inside the Braves‘ traditional scouting and player development philosophies. He can be heard on 680 the Fan in Atlanta, 105.5 the Fan in Macon, and the Atlanta Braves Radio Network. Email Bill at

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