Q&A with Mark Holliman

Going straight from the college ranks to High-A ball presents quite a challenge, even for third-round draft picks with the promise of the Cubs' Mark Holliman. Nonetheless, the right-hander and former Ole Miss standout made the most of it, picking up eight wins with a 4.38 ERA on a Daytona staff that ranked near the bottom of the Florida State League in pitching.

Mark, you started off well, then hit sort of a bump in the road before a strong start to close out the year. Being that you went straight from college to Advanced A, how would you rate your professional debut season?

I enjoyed it for sure. I started off really well and then did have some problems as the season went on, but I was able to work through that and work with my coaches so that I was able to finish up kind of how I started.

Is your last outing – 6.1 IP, 1 R, 6 H – always something you take with you into the next season?

It definitely is. I was able to cut down on my walks in my last few outings, so that really contributed to me not giving up as many runs.

What were some of the other things that you worked on toward the end to get your numbers back in line with where they were at the beginning?

I was working on mechanics a lot, but mainly it was just throwing strikes and keeping the ball down in the zone, and just attacking the hitters.

Did you feel you were ready for the challenge when you learned you were going to High A without any time in the Low A or short-season leagues?

I definitely did, especially coming out of Spring Training. I came out of spring camp strong and started the year strong. The five-day rest was a little different from college, so it kind of started to wear on me a little bit during the season. I started to hit some bumps, but as far as the competition I was facing goes, I felt I could compete all year long.

How much of a difference could you tell right away between the hitters of the minor league ranks and those in the SEC?

At this level, the hitters are a little more patient at the plate and are waiting on their pitch more than they did in the SEC, where they would swing at more pitches out of the zone.

Logging 144 innings this year as you did, how does your arm feel now that the season is over?

Nothing out of the ordinary. There's the normal wear and tear, but my arm is actually feeling kind of strong right now because I've had a few weeks off from throwing now.

What does the off-season hold in store for you now?

I'm going to try to pick up some jobs here and there since we don't get paid in the off-season. I'll try to stay in shape as much as I can and try to get back out there come Spring Training.

With all the innings you put in, I imagine it wasn't too much of a surprise not to get the invitation to Instructs.

I talked to a few coaches about that and I think the main deal is with the innings I threw, it was sufficient enough especially for my first year out.

Northsiders Report Top Stories