McHugh Gaining Confidence

Binghamton Mets pitcher Collin McHugh has began his second year with the Double-A Eastern League with an impressive start, but pitching coach Glenn Abbott says he needs to gain confidence in his pitching if he wants to make it to the major leagues.

"There is so much failure in this game, whether you're a hitter or a pitcher, that it can be hard to be positive," Abbott said. "Pitching is a process. You can't fix it in a week's time. You have to gain confidence. That's the biggest thing."

McHugh said he spent the majority of his offseason time trying to rest and spend time with his wife and family.

The pitcher said throughout his baseball career he has been able to get a good handle on what he needs. Because he has not started off strong in previous years, he is now trying to be more mentally prepared. He says this is important for the 25 to 30 starts pitchers have during the season.

McHugh was drafted in the 18th round of the 2008 MLB June Amateur Draft. This June will mark the fourth year of McHugh's minor league career.

"He's a veteran, and I expect him to lead as a veteran," Abbott said. "He needs to work on his command and mix up his pitches. That's what we are working on right now."

Abbott also pointed out that McHugh's changeup has been developing very well, but believes he needs to gain confidence when using it.

Abbott expects Collins to be a very consistent pitcher this season and believes he has big-league potential if he makes the necessary changes.

And so far, so good. After a rocky first outing, the pitcher has earned a W-L of 3-1, doing especially well in his games against New Hampshire and Portland.

"The weather wasn't great during his first outing," manager Pedro Lopez said. "It was very cold and that's not fair for anyone. But he did well in Portland and New Hampshire. His curveball and fastball command were good."

Even though McHugh earned his second win against New Hampshire last Tuesday, the right-handed pitcher said the game showed him he needs to get ahead with his fastball command.

"Sometimes you have a gun, sometimes you have a pocket knife. I felt like I had a pocket knife that game," the Georgia-born pitcher said.

McHugh believes he did better during his start against Portland on April 12. He said his offspeed was better and he was able to use his changeup well.

During the B-Mets second game series against the Portland Sea Dogs, McHugh was able to rack up six strikeouts for his third consecutive game.

"He's doing a nice job. He's been aggressive and thrown a lot of strikes," Abbott said. "He's always been a strike-thrower."

McHugh says the biggest thing he wants to improve on this year is his fastball command. He said he noticed the importance of this tool during Spring Training camp. Once he strengthens this skill, he will be able to use other pitches at will and be able to keep hitters on their toes.

"Every pitcher is always looking for that one thing to work on. For me, I have to work on the efficiency of my fastball command," he said. "I want to be a player who can throw over 200 innings every year and I think being more consistent with a fastball is a key part of being a winner."

First-year manager for the B-Mets Pedro Lopez is impressed with McHugh's ability to bring the team together for game discussions. Lopez said every manager likes to hear his team talk about strategy and discuss what needs to be improved on as a team. He likes that McHugh wants to talk about the game, and has noticed the pitcher holding conversations in the dugout with other players.

"When you get guys like him, he makes everyone better," Lopez said. "He likes playing baseball. That's what makes him better."


Amazin Clubhouse Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\n\"There is so much failure in this game, whether you're a hitter or a pitcher, that it can be hard to be positive,\" Abbott said. \"Pitching is a process. You can't fix it in a week's time. You have to gain confidence. That's the biggest thing.\"
\r\n
\r\nMcHugh said he spent the majority of his offseason time trying to rest and spend time with his wife and family.
\r\n
\r\nThe pitcher said throughout his baseball career he has been able to get a good handle on what he needs. Because he has not started off strong in previous years, he is now trying to be more mentally prepared. He says this is important for the 25 to 30 starts pitchers have during the season.
\r\n
\r\nMcHugh was drafted in the 18th round of the 2008 MLB June Amateur Draft. This June will mark the fourth year of McHugh's minor league career.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's a veteran, and I expect him to lead as a veteran,\" Abbott said. \"He needs to work on his command and mix up his pitches. That's what we are working on right now.\"
\r\n
\r\nAbbott also pointed out that McHugh's changeup has been developing very well, but believes he needs to gain confidence when using it.
\r\n
\r\nAbbott expects Collins to be a very consistent pitcher this season and believes he has big-league potential if he makes the necessary changes.
\r\n
\r\nAnd so far, so good. After a rocky first outing, the pitcher has earned a W-L of 3-1, doing especially well in his games against New Hampshire and Portland.
\r\n
\r\n\"The weather wasn't great during his first outing,\" manager Pedro Lopez said. \"It was very cold and that's not fair for anyone. But he did well in Portland and New Hampshire. His curveball and fastball command were good.\"
\r\n
\r\nEven though McHugh earned his second win against New Hampshire last Tuesday, the right-handed pitcher said the game showed him he needs to get ahead with his fastball command.
\r\n
\r\n\"Sometimes you have a gun, sometimes you have a pocket knife. I felt like I had a pocket knife that game,\" the Georgia-born pitcher said.
\r\n
\r\nMcHugh believes he did better during his start against Portland on April 12. He said his offspeed was better and he was able to use his changeup well.
\r\n
\r\nDuring the B-Mets second game series against the Portland Sea Dogs, McHugh was able to rack up six strikeouts for his third consecutive game.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's doing a nice job. He's been aggressive and thrown a lot of strikes,\" Abbott said. \"He's always been a strike-thrower.\"
\r\n
\r\nMcHugh says the biggest thing he wants to improve on this year is his fastball command. He said he noticed the importance of this tool during Spring Training camp. Once he strengthens this skill, he will be able to use other pitches at will and be able to keep hitters on their toes.
\r\n
\r\n\"Every pitcher is always looking for that one thing to work on. For me, I have to work on the efficiency of my fastball command,\" he said. \"I want to be a player who can throw over 200 innings every year and I think being more consistent with a fastball is a key part of being a winner.\"
\r\n
\r\nFirst-year manager for the B-Mets Pedro Lopez is impressed with McHugh's ability to bring the team together for game discussions. Lopez said every manager likes to hear his team talk about strategy and discuss what needs to be improved on as a team. He likes that McHugh wants to talk about the game, and has noticed the pitcher holding conversations in the dugout with other players.
\r\n
\r\n\"When you get guys like him, he makes everyone better,\" Lopez said. \"He likes playing baseball. That's what makes him better.\"
\r\n
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