Goof ball or not, Timber Rattlers newly acquired left handed pitcher Casey Abrams is ready for a challenge.
"I'm a lefty and all lefties are goof balls, but what it all comes down to is that I am an ultimate competitor,"said Abrams. "I go out there and I know many people don't think we take this serious, but I take the game serious and it's not just a game for us. This is our living and we go out and are competitive 100 percent of the time."
The 6-foot-4, 200-pound Abrams was selected by the Seattle Mariners in the 5th round (146th Overall) of the 2003 First-Year Player Draft. He reflects back on the memory of draft day with nothing but good memories.
"It was really more of a relief than anything else because I still had
school to focus on, but it consumed my family more than it did me and when I got the call I was glad that this was over and was ready to go out there and play ball.," said Abrams.
In college, Abrams played at Wright State University
and in 2002 he enjoyed his best season with a 2.83 ERA and 158 strikeouts in 114.1 innings pitched. The tall southpaw led
the Horizon League in innings pitched and strikeouts and won second-team all-league honors.
"In 2002, I had a breakout year in college," said Abrams. "It went from one to two scouts at my first game and it seemed every game
from there more and more people watched me pitch.
"I never talked to the scout that signed me. He was watching me since my sophomore year in school and it just so happened they had the opportunity to take me.
The first time I talked to him he said, ‘Casey, I am Kent Medaya, scout for the Mariners. We just took you."
I was like, "It's nice to meet you Kent." I had never talked to him before.
Some of Abrams accomplishments at Wright State University included an impressive 16-strikeout performance against Detriot and a 14-strikeout performance against UW-Milwaukee.
After being drafted, Abrams spent last year with the Everett Aqua Sox but had his season cut short with arm problems as he pitched only six innings. During his short stint on the mound, he allowed a total of five hits and five runs while walking seven and striking out seven.
Abrams uses a two and four seam fastball, slider, and a changeup. The slider has been Abrams' out-pitch since high school.
"That's how I get people out," he said. "If I get two strikes, it's either my fastball or slider," said Abrams.
Abrams started the 2004 baseball season in Arizona before being called up to Wisconsin a month-and-a-half into the season. He says he's glad to be a part of the Timber Rattlers.
"In Arizona I would come in and throw my innings," he said, "but now being a reliever and being the lefty in the bullpen right now the situation is that I have to come in and actually get the job done and it counts a little more here.
Abrams tried to make the Timber Rattlers in spring training, but still
needed some work, thus staying in Peoria, Ariz. for extended spring training.
"(Casey) Abrams has progressed quite a bit from spring training," said Brad Holman, the Timber Rattlers pitching coach. "He had an
unorthodox delivery that ended up giving him some arm problems last year he and came into spring training and was a mess. His delivery was way out of whack and that had a lot to do with why he didn't break with us in the beginning of the year.
"Give Abrams credit - he has worked very hard on his delivery and he is a tremendous thinker. He can pitch here, but he just needs
to have the confidence."
Growing up in Ohio, Abrams had sports in his blood as his father Greg Abrams was a golf and wrestling coach. Abrams played baseball, soccer, and wrestled as a child. He wanted to play football, too, but his father wouldn't allow him to play so he chose soccer instead. When he entered high school Abrams became a three sport man as he wrested and played baseball and football.
When the time came for college, Abrams had a tough decision to make; to play baseball or wrestle. Abrams chose the love of baseball.
"My dad was my wrestling coach and told me go ahead play baseball," he said. "He said that there is a better future in baseball. I was more well known as a wrestler than a pitcher. Ohio is a big wrestling state. I was a state qualifier three times and placed in the state tournament. My baseball team wasn't that good. I really didn't throw that hard in high school. I didn't add mph to my fastball until I focused only on baseball and that didn't happen until college."
In Abrams earlier years, and being from Ohio, he looked up to the
stars of Pete Rose and the Nasty Boys of Rob Dibble, Randy Myers, and Norm Charlton. Abrams got the opportunity to meet his childhood hero as Charlton spent time with him and helped Abrams improve his pitching.
"In college ball I went out there, threw my pitches and got people out," said Abrams. "Charlton helped me see that there was more to it than that, that there was an actual approach you had to take, and you had to have a game plan."
This year, the goof ball is taking that plan and trying to put it to work with the Timber Rattlers.
Meet Casey Abrams
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