In 26 innings, Fornataro is 1-2 with a 2.08 ERA. The 20 year-old has struck out 14 compared to six walks and is allowing a .238 batting average against.
As the 2008 Gulf Coast League season is coming to a close, Fornataro was gracious enough to take the time to discuss his first summer as a professional athlete.
Dustin Mattison: As your first professional season is coming to a close, how do you feel you have progressed since being drafted?
Eric Fornataro: I feel I am progressing a lot faster than I expected. During my college career, I was throwing in the 89-93 range topping out at 94 every now and then. Since playing with the Cardinals and the good coaching (I have received), I have been able to improve on my game. Also, not having to worry about school and just putting all my attention on baseball has helped me become more focused and have better consistency on the mound.
DM: Has your velocity improved?
EF: My fastball has gotten up to 96 a couple of times already this summer. I have been consistantly in the 91-94 range.
DM: How are your secondary pitches coming along?
EF: Right now I am mainly using my curve as a secondary pitch. I haven't been using my change and slider as often. My curve has come a long way and I have been told my curve and fastball are plus pitches, even at the major league level.
DM: You mentioned the good coaching you have received as a professional. What, if anything have they changed? Is your improved velocity due to a change in mechanics?
EF: The coaches haven't really changed anything with my mechanics. It's just more of the approach to the game and how to be more of a true pitcher, being a bulldog on the mound.
DM: What are your expectations going forward?
EF: I expect big things from myself next year during spring training (throwing consistant 93-95 and topping out around 98) and look foward to moving up in the system as fast as possible.
I congratulate Eric on his initial success and with his confidence (which I believe is very obvious) he could very well reach his goal of a rapid rise through the system. Remember in his first interview, he wanted Cardinal fans to know that he plans on helping the Cardinals win the World Series in three to four years.
Dustin Mattison can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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