Draft Buzz: Q&A with Ryan Acosta

As the son of the late former Cubs pitching coach Oscar Acosta, right-hander Ryan Acosta is a relative newcomer to pitching after spending much of his prep career in the infield. Acosta was tabbed with the Cubs' 12th-round pick from Clearwater Central Catholic (Fla.) High School on Day 2 of the 2007 draft last week.

How much did you learn from your father growing up?

My dad always told me to do things naturally. He never wanted to mess with me too much because he didn't want me to get robotic. He never wanted to work with me too much because he wanted me to figure it out for myself.

How would you describe the type of pitcher you are?

I'm the kind of guy that likes to throw inside, work a hitter in and out, and then finish him off with a hard slider or a splitfinger fastball. I like to get ahead in the count. I like to throw my curveball, splitfinger and changeup for strikes, but I really like to get ahead with my fastball.

How long have you been pitching?

This is my first year pitching.

What position or positions were you playing previously?

I was playing third base.

When did you decide you wanted to pitch?

When I was out in California at the Area Code games, one of the scouts said, "Why don't you get on the mound and we'll see what you got?" I was just joking around with him, but I got on the mound and I was 92 to 93 (mph). I did really well and after that, I got about 30 phone calls from different universities and pro teams that were interested in me. That's when I really started making a name for myself on the mound.

When you agreed to take the mound, were you aware of how much arm strength you possessed?

I knew I had a strong arm. Everyone had seen how strong it was from the infield and I knew that I had it in me to throw that hard; it's just nobody ever really asked me to pitch, or asked if I wanted to. Nobody ever really took the time to develop me as a pitcher and I was just joking around for them to put me on the mound. I wanted to throw and then threw as hard as I could.

How long do you feel it took you to adapt to pitching?

I adapted real quickly. As soon as I got back from California, I began working on it more and more. One of the guys who helped me out a lot was Jeff Sisco, my pitching instructor. He was the one there with me when I came back from California. I went to him and told him I wanted to get serious about this pitching thing. I told him I needed him to start working with me on mechanics and developing my stuff.

What type of work would that be?

This year was more about learning how to pitch instead of just going out and throwing. I felt I had all the tools and the pitches I needed, so to me it was just about learning how to pitch. That's where Sisco came in and started developing me more as a pitcher instead of just being a guy that goes out and says, "fastball, fastball, fastball." So there was more mixing things in and out. That was probably the hardest part; just learning how to pitch.

Are you satisfied with the job you've done thus far?

I thought I did a tremendous job considering this was my first year pitching on top of all the hard work and hours I had to put into it.

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