Extended Spring Training was a big help for this young player. He focused on consistency and efficiency with his pitches.
"Extended Spring Training went well for me this year," Flexen said. "It was my first year coming back from an off season to Extended [Spring Training]. I got a lot of work done, worked with different pitching coaches, and had a good time out there."
Baseball is an unpredictable game, but one thing is certain: consistency is key.
"This spring I worked on mechanical stuff, mostly on location and location down," he said. "The most important things I worked on were consistency with location, being able to spot the ball in and out with efficiency, and spot the ball down with consistency."
The first couple of outings with the Kingsport Mets this summer have tested his consistency.
"My first outing, when I threw against Bristol, was really good."
Flexen pitched four innings against Bristol on June 24th. He threw tallied strikeouts and only gave up one run.
"We came out of that game with a win," he continued. "I received the no decision."
For a rookie league game though, it is still considered a quality start. The game on Sunday, June 30th, however, against the Elizabethton Twins, was a different story for Flexen.
"[That] Sunday was a rough one, if we are talking about consistency with location," Flexen said. "I left the ball up a lot and gave up a lot of hits. However, it is still the beginning of the season, so hopefully we can turn things around and get back on track."
He has allowed just one more earned run combined over his past two starts, spanning 13 innings. Going forward, Flexen would like to have good outings with consistent starts like the past two and set the team up for more wins.
"I would like to keep improving with each start and save the bullpen some trouble," he said. "Also, I would like to see a lot of wins for our team."
Pitching coach, Jonathan Hurst, agrees with Flexen, and is helping him become more consistent.
"When he came in last year, Spring Training was key for him [Flexen]," said Hurst. "Last year was more about getting him out of the high school program and into a more professional program. More maintenance was required for him."
This season, Hurst would like to see Flexen have command over his fastball.
"Fastball command was where he made the most progress," Hurst said. "Right now we are really working on fastball changeup. Flexen has a good curveball, but it is still a work in progress.
"These are two key pitches I really think he needs. I want him to get more fastball-changeup command so he can be more efficient and throw less pitches in games."
According to Hurst, consistency with the fastball command and changeup are the main things for Flexen.
"I want him to eliminate a lot of stuff, get rid all the clutter so we can get clean pitches and concentrate on consistency with command."
Flexen and Hurst alike want a good, consistent season for the young pitcher and the team. Flexen has the right mentality, and this will be a player worth paying attention to.
Just like in any baseball game, it is important to take it "one pitch at a time."
Flexen Working On Consistency
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