Spring Q&A with Ryan Fraser

Ryan Fraser snuck on the Mets' draft board as a 16th round pick in 2010. But after a strong first summer in Brooklyn and an invitation to STEP camp, Fraser is a name worth knowing heading into 2011. The right-hander faces a change in roles but looks forward to new opportunities on the mound. Find out where he'll pitch in 2011 and more in this exclusive Q&A with Inside Pitch.

InsidePitchMagazine.com: This was an offseason unlike one you've ever had as you prepared for your first full professional season. What was that like for you?

Ryan Fraser: It was a little different. Obviously college ball starts a lot sooner than pro ball, so I spent more time going back and forth with the pitching coordinator and the roving coaches, and even some time with teammates from Brooklyn that were older. I talked to them about spring training, what to expect, the throwing program, everything. The Mets made it easier when they would call in and check on me to make sure I was doing everything to get ready for the season.

Inside Pitch: Because you had that additional time before you were on the field, was there anything you were doing to kind of fill that space, but stay on track for your report date? Was there any adjustment getting onto the throwing program?

Fraser: It wasn't too bad. I had a great pitching coach at the University of Memphis and he gave us a set program that was similar to what the Mets had me doing. That gave me a feeling of what to expect when I left Brooklyn, and what I needed to do this offseason to prepare for camp. The Mets told me that as long as I followed their program I'd be fine, and that I should prepare for a lot of throwing in spring training which we've done a lot of. I started throwing around Christmas and into January so I felt very prepared.

Inside Pitch: You got the invitation to STEP camp. What was that experience like for you?

Fraser: I was very excited because I didn't know that I'd be invited to STEP. So when I got the letter asking me to come down early, and that I was one of the few to be invited, I was very excited. Having said that, being in St. Lucie for a week or two before the other pitchers and catchers reported down made the transition into my first spring training a lot easier.

Inside Pitch: As far as spring training, what were feelings when it finally got underway? You worked hard through high school and college to get this point, and here you were at you first big league camp. What was that like for you?

Fraser: It was a little overwhelming at the start. I went in there and I wanted to be the first to kind of get in and soak everything in. I wanted to take pictures of everything. I wanted to take pictures of my jersey, my locker, my name tag and send it to everybody. But once that feeling happened, I sat down and realized I'm a professional. I made it here. It's a long way to go, but the Mets have given me the opportunity to get to the big leagues.

Once I hit the field though, it's like any other complex or at least that's how I've got to look at it. I've played at a bunch of them through my life. Pro ball complexes are a little bigger and the locker rooms are a little nicer, but it doesn't change how I get dressed or prepared. I still have to go out and get people out from 60 feet, 6 inches. When it comes down to it, I have to take care of business.

Inside Pitch: When it comes to taking care of business, is there something that you wanted to focus on heading into camp?

Fraser: Two things stick out to me. They mentioned when I was down here for Instructs that they were going to move me to the rotation so I spent all winter preparing for that. Because I was a closer up in Brooklyn, I didn't get to use a third pitch that often. I only stuck to my two best pitches in one or two inning outings. Coming into camp, I wanted to work on my changeup so that I could have a good third pitch. Also, I had a bunch of walks in Brooklyn that I wasn't too happy about so I wanted to keep focusing on my fastball command. I just want to throw strikes with my fastball and attack hitters.

Inside Pitch: So how do you feel about the transition to starting so far?

Inside Pitch: You know, at first I wasn't sure just because of the success I had in Brooklyn. I kind of felt like, if it wasn't broken why fix it? But I'm excited to be in a 5-man rotation, in a routine and in an opportunity to get more innings. Just like any other pitcher, I want to get as many innings as I can, and prove to the organization that I deserve to be here. I want the opportunity one day to show I can get big league hitters out.

Inside Pitch: Can you just go into a little more detail about your changeup and how you feel its come along with camp in its final few days?

Fraser: I've actually put the changeup on the back shelf not using all that much, but so far this spring when I've thrown it, it's been a really good pitch. It's one that makes my fastball look harder and better to the hitters. It's still in touch-and-go spot. I'm still not totally confident with it, but I threw it well (on Tuesday). I threw four innings and the changeup came out good. I just need to keep throwing it and keep making it a stronger pitch.

Inside Pitch: With camp breaking shortly, you feel good about where you're at physically and as far as your preparation?

Fraser: Yea I feel great. I threw very well on Tuesday. That's probably my last outing heading into the season. I've made this far. It doesn't seem like I'm going to cut this spring training (laughs). It sounds like I'll be going to Savannah with a group of guys who can hit, play defense, and with a pitching staff and coaching staff that wants to win.


Amazin Clubhouse Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nInsidePitchMagazine.com: This was an offseason unlike one you've ever had as you prepared for your first full professional season. What was that like for you?
\r\n
\r\nRyan Fraser: It was a little different. Obviously college ball starts a lot sooner than pro ball, so I spent more time going back and forth with the pitching coordinator and the roving coaches, and even some time with teammates from Brooklyn that were older. I talked to them about spring training, what to expect, the throwing program, everything. The Mets made it easier when they would call in and check on me to make sure I was doing everything to get ready for the season.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: Because you had that additional time before you were on the field, was there anything you were doing to kind of fill that space, but stay on track for your report date? Was there any adjustment getting onto the throwing program?
\r\n
\r\nFraser: It wasn't too bad. I had a great pitching coach at the University of Memphis and he gave us a set program that was similar to what the Mets had me doing. That gave me a feeling of what to expect when I left Brooklyn, and what I needed to do this offseason to prepare for camp. The Mets told me that as long as I followed their program I'd be fine, and that I should prepare for a lot of throwing in spring training which we've done a lot of. I started throwing around Christmas and into January so I felt very prepared.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: You got the invitation to STEP camp. What was that experience like for you?
\r\n
\r\nFraser: I was very excited because I didn't know that I'd be invited to STEP. So when I got the letter asking me to come down early, and that I was one of the few to be invited, I was very excited. Having said that, being in St. Lucie for a week or two before the other pitchers and catchers reported down made the transition into my first spring training a lot easier.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: As far as spring training, what were feelings when it finally got underway? You worked hard through high school and college to get this point, and here you were at you first big league camp. What was that like for you?
\r\n
\r\nFraser: It was a little overwhelming at the start. I went in there and I wanted to be the first to kind of get in and soak everything in. I wanted to take pictures of everything. I wanted to take pictures of my jersey, my locker, my name tag and send it to everybody. But once that feeling happened, I sat down and realized I'm a professional. I made it here. It's a long way to go, but the Mets have given me the opportunity to get to the big leagues.
\r\n
\r\nOnce I hit the field though, it's like any other complex or at least that's how I've got to look at it. I've played at a bunch of them through my life. Pro ball complexes are a little bigger and the locker rooms are a little nicer, but it doesn't change how I get dressed or prepared. I still have to go out and get people out from 60 feet, 6 inches. When it comes down to it, I have to take care of business.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: When it comes to taking care of business, is there something that you wanted to focus on heading into camp?
\r\n
\r\nFraser: Two things stick out to me. They mentioned when I was down here for Instructs that they were going to move me to the rotation so I spent all winter preparing for that. Because I was a closer up in Brooklyn, I didn't get to use a third pitch that often. I only stuck to my two best pitches in one or two inning outings. Coming into camp, I wanted to work on my changeup so that I could have a good third pitch. Also, I had a bunch of walks in Brooklyn that I wasn't too happy about so I wanted to keep focusing on my fastball command. I just want to throw strikes with my fastball and attack hitters.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: So how do you feel about the transition to starting so far?
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: You know, at first I wasn't sure just because of the success I had in Brooklyn. I kind of felt like, if it wasn't broken why fix it? But I'm excited to be in a 5-man rotation, in a routine and in an opportunity to get more innings. Just like any other pitcher, I want to get as many innings as I can, and prove to the organization that I deserve to be here. I want the opportunity one day to show I can get big league hitters out.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: Can you just go into a little more detail about your changeup and how you feel its come along with camp in its final few days?
\r\n
\r\nFraser: I've actually put the changeup on the back shelf not using all that much, but so far this spring when I've thrown it, it's been a really good pitch. It's one that makes my fastball look harder and better to the hitters. It's still in touch-and-go spot. I'm still not totally confident with it, but I threw it well (on Tuesday). I threw four innings and the changeup came out good. I just need to keep throwing it and keep making it a stronger pitch.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: With camp breaking shortly, you feel good about where you're at physically and as far as your preparation?
\r\n
\r\nFraser: Yea I feel great. I threw very well on Tuesday. That's probably my last outing heading into the season. I've made this far. It doesn't seem like I'm going to cut this spring training (laughs). It sounds like I'll be going to Savannah with a group of guys who can hit, play defense, and with a pitching staff and coaching staff that wants to win.
\r\n
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