Feierabend's Hard Work Paying Off

One of the most successful players from the Mariners 2003 draft has been LHP Ryan Feierabend, an 18-year-old who has pitched very well with the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers this season. InsidethePark's Dan Larson spent a few minutes with the young southpaw recently to update Mariners fans on last year's third round pick.

APPLETON, Wisc. – At this time of the year most-18 year-olds are enjoying their last summer of fun before heading off to college, technical school, or the work force. Ryan Feierabend, who turns 19 on August 22, is not. Instead, Feierabend is doing his part as a left-handed starting pitcher for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers.

This season Feierabend has undoubtedly been the Timber Rattlers most consistent starting pitcher, and for proof of that simply consider that his earned run average of 3.48 is the second best on the team and almost a full run better than the team earned run average. Not bad for an 18-year-old!

So just what is it that has allowed Feierabend to pitch so well at such an early age? Timber Rattlers pitching coach Brad Holman believes he has the answer.

"Consistency is what breeds winners," he said. "Unfortunately at the Single A level of baseball it's something that's really hard to come by, but he's mature beyond his years. He goes out there everyday and wants the ball. He never sells himself short. He's the first one at the ballpark every day and the last one to leave and gets his work in. He thrives on being devoted and committed to what he's doing."

Feierabend also leads the team in wins with seven, and if not for a lack of run support in a number of his starts, he would be right up there amongst the leaders in that department.

"When stuff happens behind me, I just keep my composure on the mound," said Feierabend, a third round pick in 2003. "I'm not a power pitcher so I pretty much just pitch for contact and let the defense do its job. I'll be more than happy to throw one pitch and get a groundball out than throw four or five pitches and get a strikeout."

Like any great player, however, Feierabend is not content with the level of success he has enjoyed thus far. He is always looking to improve.

"Throw my curveball better for strikes," he said, assessing the area of his game he feels needs the most work. "I haven't really thrown one that well this year. I didn't start throwing a curveball until my senior year in high school so I think that would be the one thing that I want to work on the most."

Clearly, Feierabend is enjoying a great deal of success in his first full season of professional baseball. However, he is currently third in the league in innings pitched with 111.1, a stat that is all the more important considering his youth. Concerned? Don't be.

"I don't expect him to hit a wall," Holman said. "There is kind of a format that we use as an organization, which is basically a kid's age times 10. Somewhere around 180 innings is where we'll try to keep him. He's on pace to get above that so what we'll probably do down the stretch a little bit is try to do what we can to minimize his innings."

Right now it looks as though Feierabend "hitting a wall" might be the only thing that can stop him. Thus far, he's had little trouble with the Midwest League hitters.

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