Cubs Prospect Interview: Marcus Hatley

A late-round draft pick in 2006 and one of the final draft-and-follow signees a year ago, right-hander Marcus Hatley is looking to make a name for himself at the low levels of the Cubs' minor league system. Through four games this season at Class Low-A Boise, Hatley is 0-2 with a 4.61 ERA, 11 strikeouts and eight walks in 13 2/3 innings.

Last year was your first year pitching in pro ball. Are things different this time around?

Marcus Hatley: I think it's a lot different. This year I feel – I won't say a much more polished pitcher yet, but I'm definitely a step ahead of where I was last year. Now they have me starting and it's pretty much a completely different feeling out there.

Last year, you bounced around between starting and relieving. Was starting what you'd always done previously?

Hatley: Yeah, I started in high school. I made a couple of relief appearances in junior college, but for the most part I've always been a starter.

Do you like starting over relieving?

Hatley: It's nice being a reliever because you can get into multiple games. But starting is nice because you play and (throw) five, six, seven innings.

You also did some hitting earlier in your baseball career, did you not?

Hatley: Yeah, I played centerfield in junior college.

Did you ever have to decide for yourself what position you wanted to play, or did the Cubs pretty much decide that for you when they drafted you?

Hatley: Yeah, they drafted me as an option for both. I had a workout (in May, 2007) for them and they signed me as a pitcher. I was cool with that.

What kind of hitter were you? You're a big guy, 6-foot-5--

Hatley: (laughs) I had a lot of swings and misses.

How has the whole process gone with you getting acclimated to starting again?

Hatley: I had a lot of work this year in extended (spring training); there were a couple of things they wanted me to work on. Mainly it was throwing more strikes; I was kind of wild. But I started to come around and now getting those four days of rest between starts, it's kind of nice.

What pitches do you feature?

Hatley: For the most part I throw a four-seam (fastball) that has a little run on it. But I use a two-seamer if I want to go inside or get a groundball. I'm throwing a slider and a changeup. My changeup, I kind of lost a little bit of feel for. But I just picked up the slider in the Instructional League and it's become my second best pitch.

[The changeup] is not to the point where I'm too concerned with it, because I've been able to get outs so far with my fastball and slider. I've been working on it in bullpens and stuff; it's just not quite where it was last year. In the Instructional League, they really wanted me to focus on the slider because I didn't have a breaking pitch at all.

What goals do you have for yourself and what's the main thing you're working on?

Hatley: Right now, it's just staying consistent; don't walk, throw strikes. When I was younger, I didn't have as much control. Now it's all about throwing strikes, getting pitches where I want and hopefully being able to go six or seven innings down the line.

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