Swing of the Quad Cities Report – Week 12

Our exclusive weekly report on the 2007 edition of the Swing of the Quad Cities of the Single-A Midwest League focuses on starting pitcher Tyler Heron.

This week, the Cardinals purchased the contract of Tim Dorn and added him to the roster for the Swing of the Quad Cities. The 6-foot-8 first baseman was brought in to replace the recently-promoted Brandon Buckman. I haven't seen him play yet, but it sounds like he's got the goods to step right into the role. In a slightly related move, Kyle Mura joined the starting rotation as P.J. Walters was moved to Palm Beach.


Our featured player this week is Tyler Herron. How can I help but to be impressed with this young pitcher? His talent on the mound is unsurpassed. However, that's only part of the story. It's hard to remember, as I sit here wiping sweat from my face as I type, that the season started on a MUCH colder note. When the team arrived in Davenport in April, many of the players were completely unprepared for the low temperatures. Tyler helped several players get warm jackets to help survive the end of winter. I'll leave it to Tyler and his Mom to share the details of the story, but he doubled over laughing when I asked him about his Mom's meat loaf!


Tyler is just 20 years old, so there isn't any reason to hurry his promotions, but I will be surprised if he misses a call up to Palm Beach in July or August. His fastball hits the low- to mid-nineties with great control. He started off slow this season, but has now racked up seven consecutive wins.


Recently, I shared an evening of dinner and baseball talk with Tyler. Here's the highlights from our conversation:


Jon: What do you do as part of your daily routine to keep yourself in shape and ready to play?


Tyler: Unlike most pitchers, I don't ice my arm; I like to keep it warm and loose. I like to throw every day, especially the day after I start. That just keeps me in better shape for the long season.


Jon: What part of your game are you concentrating on improving this year?


Tyler: I need to keep consistency in my off-speed pitches. My fastball is good this year, but I'm working on the off-speed.


Jon: What can you tell me about how you have transitioned from the game of baseball, and all its fun, to the job of baseball and the work that's involved?


Tyler: Wow, that's a good question! I don't think of it as a job. It's a game that I love to play. It's awesome that I can get paid to play it!


Jon: If you couldn't play baseball anymore, what would you do instead for a career?


Tyler: I have NO idea! This is all I've ever thought about for a job. I guess I'd like to move to Costa Rica and surf.


Jon: Do you have a nickname that the team uses for you?


Tyler: They call me "T."


Jon: What about hobbies? What do you like to do to relax?


Tyler: I love to surf. And I like golf.


Jon: What's the worst thing about playing baseball at the class A level?


Tyler: I don't like the piggyback starter system. I think it is ok for rookie ball, but at this level I need to be developing my stamina more and I can't do that in only five innings. I also have a hard time getting used to the "free swingers" at this level. Some guys will swing at the filthiest pitches that nobody tried to hit in high school.


Jon: Who's your favorite Major League team?


Tyler: I really don't have one, but I guess it would be the Braves.


Jon: What other guy on the team do you think your pitching is most like?


Tyler: Kenny Maiques and I throw a lot alike. We both have good fastballs. It's good to have someone on the team to challenge me.



Swinging this week:  Jared Schweitzer, Luke Gorsett, and Christian Reyes continue to lead the team in batting average. Gorsett, Chris Grossman, and Daryl Jones lead in doubles. (Jones is a surprise to me, since he's still batting below .200.)  Gorsett, Donovan Solano, and Grossman lead the team in numbers of hits.


Missing this week:  Tommy Pham has played in 14 games this year. He's still carrying a batting average of .063. Tim Dorn is still too new on the team to include here, but in two games, he's 1-for-7. He was batting .344 before his arrival. I want that Tim Dorn. I remain concerned about Daryl Jones. It's time to set aside the personal pressure and start hitting the way we know he can.


Other news to note:  The Swing home page has been recently updated. Check out some new features, including the projected starter for each day's game. The Fan Club recently gave away the David Eckstein autographed jersey. Special thanks to Mulligirl (I hope I spelled that right) for her donation. I'll be at the Thursday game in Clinton, so I'll be giving you a better report on Tim Dorn and the rest of the team next time.


I'm grateful that some of you have suggested new questions to add to my interviews. If there's something you want to know about any of the players, please email me at jon_p_qc@hotmail.com.


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