Rocky Roquet Interview

Even though Rocky Roquet has been in pro ball just a little over a year, the right-hander has been plenty on the move and on the rise up through the Cubs' farm system recently.

Roquet reached the Double-A level this past season before being invited to the Arizona Fall League, which begins Oct. 9.

Roquet was signed as a non-drafted free agent after attending Cal-Poly as a fifth-year senior in 2006. Already 23 when he signed, Roquet went to short-season Class Low A Boise in the Northwest League for his professional debut and made 19 appearances. He struck out 31 and walked five while posting a 5.49 ERA.

This past season, Roquet made three stops on the Cubs' minor league circuit, beginning in Class A Peoria and ending in Double-A Tennessee.

A right-hander that can touch the mid to upper 90s on the radar gun, Roquet logged a career-high 70 2/3 innings in the regular season and finished with a 2.31 ERA in relief after beginning the year with 16 consecutive scoreless outings at Peoria.

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How much do you know about the Arizona Fall League going into it?

Rocky Roquet: I really don't know much about it. It looks like we'll play about 35 games and people will get about 20 innings or so. I'll basically go out there and work on some stuff, face some good competition and work on getting better.

What do you need to work on?

Rocky Roquet: Quite a bit. Fastball location could always get better. I'd like to work on my two-seam fastball and get more consistent with my slider. It's good at times, but not as consistent as I'd like it to be. Hopefully I'll develop my changeup a little more.

You were promoted not once but twice this year.

Rocky Roquet: Yeah, it's an exciting feeling. You feel humbled to get the opportunity to move up. Everybody in the whole organization is working really hard and I was just fortunate enough to get moved up and to try and make the most of my opportunity.

We've said before that because of your age (24), you're a guy that has the ability to move up faster than a lot of guys and so far that's been the case. Have you found that your age and experience over a lot of your competition has been an asset?

Rocky Roquet: I think that it just helps force their (the Cubs) hand a little bit. I've only been pitching for four years, five years. The experience this year of pitching 75 innings was actually the most I'd ever gotten in a full year, so that helps. You get out there and get more comfortable. I think that my age has helped me mature as a person, but I think just getting those innings on the mound has helped me a lot more.

You talked about fastball command earlier and we know you have the ability to wind it up to around 95 mph or so, but you'd said at Peoria early in the year that you had kind of sacrificed some of the velocity for better control. Did you find that that helped, and was that something you continued doing as the season wore on?

Rocky Roquet: Early on, I was just trying to get ahead of hitters and I found that it was a lot easier if I would dial it down and not throw as hard. I think that just comes a lot with learning how to pitch, getting out there and getting some innings, knowing when to dial it down and when to dial it up. Velocity fluctuates as much as anything else, so it was just a matter of how you felt that day, what your best pitch was that day and whether you had the secondary stuff (working).

We heard there was an interesting story when you signed with the Cubs. Can you tell us about what all went down?

Rocky Roquet: Yeah, basically there were four or five other teams that were interested in signing me. I had to sit down with my agent at the time and decide what was best for me, what organization I felt needed me the most, and where I felt happy and more comfortable. Steve Fuller, the scout that signed me, really sold the Cubs well and really presented himself well for the organization. It was more of a gut feeling than anything.

So it wasn't just about the money?

Rocky Roquet: No, that had a little to do with it, but there were other opportunities that presented itself, which were really hard to not take even though the money would have been less.

And you chose the Cubs over some pretty good teams, including the Cardinals, who had already made two straight NLCS berths.

Rocky Roquet: Yeah, the Indians were in there as well, (plus) the Phillies. Both of those teams made the playoffs this year, so it was a good group of teams to choose from.

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