Five Questions with Mitch Atkins

DAYTONA BEACH — Right-hander Mitch Atkins has been one of the most consistent pitchers in the Cubs' farm system the past two seasons. The 21-year-old had time to reflect on his season to date after representing the Daytona Cubs at the Class A Florida State League All-Star game on Saturday night.

Last season in Peoria, the seventh-round pick from the 2004 draft led the Cubs' farm system with 13 wins and posted a 2.41 ERA in 138 1/3 innings in the Class-A Midwest League.

Through 12 starts this season, Atkins is 5-3 with a 2.24 ERA, having won three of his last four starts.

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Q: You've had quite a bit of early success so far in your career. What do you think has helped you most as you've started to work your way through the system?

A: I think it's really helped me to have a good coaching staff all the way around, from rookie ball on through to Daytona. Getting to where I can throw all of my pitches for strikes is the biggest thing that has helped me.

Q: What have you worked on improving most this season?

A: My changeup. The changeup is one of the more difficult pitches to learn how to throw and to have the confidence to throw it in any count just like you would a fastball. That's probably the biggest thing.

Q: What's the biggest part of your game that you need to improve on to move up through the system?

A: The biggest thing is just being able to command all of my pitches; being able to throw any pitch for a strike in any situation and having the confidence to do it.

Q: What part of your game are you most confident with right now?

A: I'm confident in my (entire) game. I know that I've got enough stuff to go out and get a win every time I take the ball. If I do everything right, I have a good chance to get a win.

Q: Are you expecting the jump to Double-A after the break?

A: That's not my decision. If I stay here, I'll keep doing the best I can and everything will be fine. Whatever happens will happen, and I've been with Jody (Davis) and Rich Bombard the last two years now. They're a great team.

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