Interview with Matt Everingham (Part II)

In the first part, Everingham went into details on his life as a ball player and scout. This time, Everingham talks about players he scouted, and in particular, Australian southpaw, Damian Moss. Everingham goes into detail on Moss's style and attitude, and also some thoughts on why Moss is performing the way he is.

What drew you to Damian Moss out of all the players you scouted in Australia?
I was coaching and playing when I caught a glimpse of a young left handed right fielder pick up the ball against the fence and throw a one hop bullet to home plate to get the runner at the plate. I continued to keep an eye on Mossy and watch him develop into a real pitching prospect.

Which other players have you scouted besides Moss and why do you think they had enough talent to play in the majors in the U.S.?
Besides Mossy, there have been a few guys the Braves have signed but more have ended up signing with other teams. Glen Williams (Blue Jays AAA team now) signed at the time a world record free agent price. Glen had just about every team chasing his signature. Some other players that ended up signing for other teams are:

  • John Stephens - Baltimore
  • Chris Snelling, Craig Anderson, Matthew Sundstom - Seattle
  • Grant Balfour, Brad Thomas, Simon Fletcher - Minnesota
  • Jarad Mangioni - Toronto
  • Rodney Van Buizen - L.A
  • Craig Lewis - Montreal

    Just to name a few, but not all will make it because there are no guarantees.

    What were his key strengths and weaknesses when you scouted him and how does he compare now? Both pitching skills and anything else you can think of. In other words, what makes Damian Moss a Superman and what is his Kryptonite?
    Superman Mossy... I don't think so and I'm sure Damian would agree. Damian can beat anyone on his day, but then again anyone can beat Damian on their day. Damian is and always has wanted to be better than the guy who is better than him. He is one of the most determined people I've seen in a long time. He's not afraid to be himself, and [he] heaps praise of the people who help him [as well as] his friends and family. As far as a weakness, I think it's 3 things, really. His health has always been his slowish move[ment] through the minors along with his effective wildness at times. I say "effective wildness," because at times I don't think Damian knows where [the ball is] going. The other weakness would have to be [his] need [for] someone like Leo Mizzone, Tom Glavine, [or] Greg Maddox to continue adjusting his technique. It's a hard thing to pick what you're doing wrong in your hitting, pitching, or fielding.

    What makes Damian Moss tick? What are his motivators?
    Damian has always ticked like a rusty old watch that keeps getting polished and [getting] some fine tuning to make it run well. Hopefully Damian can get that polish and tune real quick and get back on track like we all know he can. Motivating Damian has never been a problem, because of his competitive nature- he wants to be the best he possibly can. I know he has visions of being as successful as Glavine and Maddox, and only time will tell.

    Does Damian throw the same way now as he did in Australia or has his style changed? Please provide your observations. Also, we would like to know how he thinks when he is on the mound. For example, does he worry a lot on the mound or is he cool and unflappable? Is there a situation that causes him to lose it and pitch poorly?
    He's changed his wind up just a little. Damian has always been very quiet in his windup and action. The one thing that really sticks out to me is his pick off to 1st base. We worked quite a bit on that when we played together for the Canberra Bushrangers in the Australian Baseball League (ABL). His pitching motion and pick off motion where just about identical and he would pick guys off at will. I'm sure there were times he intentionally walked guys just to pick them off. Cool and unflappable, maybe when he was young and trying to fit into an image of potential big leaguer. I would love to think [that] I know what Damian was thinking [about] on the mound, but I can't and Damian wouldn't really tell me or anyone else what he thinks about on the mound. Imagine being on the mound and facing the likes of Barry Bonds, Preston Wilson, Albert Pujols etc. I would tell you I'm scared but a pitcher [wouldn't]. The same goes for a hitter- facing Randy, Millwood, Martinez, etc. I'd be scared but Barry Bonds wouldn't say he was... well maybe Barry would and still hit him deep.

    How do you think he will benefit from working with the Giants, especially side-by-side with Kirk Rueter? Do you think he will be able to build upon what he had learned from the Braves and working next to Glavine? Do you think the trade will help Damian's development or hurt him or is neutral? Will Damian listen to Dave Righetti, the Giants' pitching coach?
    I know Leo and how good he is, and how much he has helped not only Damian, but also numerous others all-star pitchers [as well] and would rank among one of the greatest pitching coaches of all time. Not having a pitcher like Glavine next to you [who's] great at his job and able to express his knowledge on ball players will hurt, but Kirk Rueter is a great pitcher and you would expect someone of his stature and knowledge to [be able to] pass on what he has learned. Damian will listen to anyone, but will only take the advice of the guys [who] can help. Anyone and everyone can give advice when you struggle, but getting [the] right advice when you are struggling is what makes a great coach. Damian would be silly not to listen to Dave Righetti... Dave has a world of knowledge to pass on.

    Tell us some interesting details on Damian Moss that fans probably won't know but would be interested in.
    I remember his 1st game he played in the ABL. He was throwing to Dave Nilsson (Milwaukee Brewers) and Dave had already hit a homerun earlier in the game. Damian's got 2 balls on him and said "Well, I may as well hit him before he hits another one." Bang! [He] hits Dave in the ribs and Dave starts mouthing off to Mossy, and Mossy yells back, "Get up to first, meat". Just a young, 16 year old kid, making [the] statement to a big league player, "I'm coming to play ball with you down the line in the bigs".

    Damian was known to play cricket in Australia, how did he get into baseball?
    Everyone plays cricket in Australia, so Damian wasn't too different [than] any other kid, but as far as baseball is concerned, Australia's school programs for baseball is huge, so it's not surprising that Damian picked up baseball. The hardest thing is to keep them interested after finishing school.

    What in your opinion is causing Damian Moss' current problems pitching? Do you think he has a dead arm? Is this something he goes through every May/June? Is this related to his past injuries? Do you have any thoughts on what he needs to do to get back to his winning form in April when the season first started?
    I think his form slump has a lot to do with small adjustments to his action, and if you keep telling a player he's good, then he thinks everything's easy. [Get] back to basics and get [his] mind on the team, and what you can do for your team to win. I really don't think Mossy is doing the wrong thing at all, just a little stay as everyone does at times. How many games would a team win if every player gave 100% physically and mentally every single game? You just can't do it game after game... your mind wonders, or your kids [are] having a play at school that you're missing, etc. It's impossible to do but the more games you can get close to 100% dedication, the more games your team will win.

    How do you feel that Damian Moss will handle being dropped into the bullpen for a week or so, by skipping a start? That is, for example, will that make him more determined to work harder, will he over-analyze things, or will that just frustrate him? How do you think he will use the time while in the bullpen?
    It will [be] disappointing him the whole time until he's back into the starting rotation. All in a good way, he will work and work to get back into that rotation and do whatever he can to help the team. Damian has to much determination to not be successful.

    What do you think Damian Moss has to do in order to move up to the next level? How about to the top tier of pitchers?
    Have someone who can stay on him with regards to actions and mind.

    Any final thoughts on Damian that you would like to share?
    Damian loves the game and loves being where he is. From the time he signed a contract, he has never thought [about not] fulfill[ing] his dream of playing in the majors. One dream he has is to win 200+ games, [and] I wouldn't bet against it. Enjoy the game because the game is for you.

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