Q&A with Jason Scobie

Jason Scobie was not a highly touted prospect coming into the 2004 season. In fact, the Mets were unsure what to expect from this 25 year old. After a terrible showing in Norfolk in 2003, he was sent back down to Binghamton. At the season's half way point, Scobie is second on the team in ERA and has been one of the B-Mets most reliable starters all year. Scobie does not overpower hitters but has good command of all four of his pitches and great command of his curveball.

I sat down with Jason for a Q&A session before Saturday's game.

NYF: You went to High School in Texas?

Scobie: Yep.

NYF: What was it like being a very good High School baseball player in a state where football is the number one sport?

Scobie: It's good for baseball too.

NYF: Did you ever feel any extra pressure to get noticed because you were playing the number two sport?

Scobie: Nah, I got plenty of exposure and my school didn't even have a good football team.

NYF: Did you play any other High School sports?

Scobie: Basketball.

NYF: Any good?

Scobie: Yea, First Team all District.

NYF: Did you think about playing college basketball?

Scobie: Nah, I'm White. I can't jump.

NYF: Why did you choose to go to LSU?

Scobie: Because I thought they had a good chance to win a national championship.

NYF: Were there any other colleges in the running?

Scobie: Texas A&M, but they were going through a coaching change and they were having a tough time. My first visit to LSU was to be my last. I fell in love with it.

NYF: Did you play any other positions?

Scobie: I was a shortstop. I hit .391 my first year.

NYF: What made you become a pitcher?

Scobie: I was both pitcher and shortstop and towards the end of the year my arm would get tired so my coach wanted me to focus on pitching.

NYF: Did you want to be a pitcher?

Scobie: I liked hitting. I told the coach I wanted to do both.

NYF: Were you disappointed at all?

Scobie: No, you get to sit and relax when you're not pitching.

NYF: How many times were you drafted?

Scobie: Four.

NYF: Did you have any idea as to what round you'd be drafted in?

Scobie: Some people were saying anywhere from the 5th to 10th round. On draft day one of my friends called me and told me I was drafted in the 14th round and then two minutes later the Mets called me. I was pretty excited.

NYF: You didn't follow the draft?

Scobie: It wasn't that big a deal to me. I figured if I didn't get drafted I'd sign as a free agent.

NYF: Who were the first three teams to draft you?

Scobie: Arizona twice and then the Twins.

NYF: How did you feel about being drafted by the Mets?

Scobie: I knew they drafted a lot of pitchers. I think 2/3 of their picks were pitchers. So I knew there'd be a lot of competition.

NYF: Last year you pitched at all three levels. You never really had a chance to get settled. Did that affect your performance?

Scobie: Not really. I think the biggest jump was from AA to AAA. More experienced hitters. Everyone says the biggest jump is A to AA. I disagree. Experienced hitters, guys that have been in the big leagues, guys that are patient at the plate. They don't swing at bad pitches.

NYF: Is patient hitters the biggest difference between AA and AAA?
Scobie: Yeah. That's definitely it.

NYF: Were you at all disappointed at having to start 2004 back in AA?

Scobie: Nah, I got a bunch of buddies down here so it wasn't a big deal. I just want to come down here throw good, and maybe get on the 40 man roster next year.

NYF: Last year, at Binghamton, your ERA was 4.14. This year it's under 3. What's changed?

Scobie: Nothing really. My arm is healthy. Last year I had some arm problems that I had to battle through. I'm throwing my curveball for strikes more.

NYF: How do you work on command?

Scobie: Flat-ground.

NYF: What's that?

Scobie: Throwing from flat ground to raised ground.

NYF: Do you see yourself as a major league reliever or starter?

Scobie: Probably a reliever. Long reliever or a spot starter.

NYF: What's the status of your wrist?

Scobie: It's all better. The tendonitis is cleared up.

NYF: Are you going to start before the break?

Scobie: I'm starting on Sunday.

NYF: Because you're a couple years older than the other starters, do you assume more of a leadership role?

Scobie: Yeah, sometimes I'll ask the other guys why they pitched a certain pitch in a certain situation. We had Bobby Ojeda as our coach last year and he emphasized the mental part of the game and I learned a lot from him. The other guys didn't have that. When they throw a changeup I'll tell them to follow it with a fastball. If they throw a changeup and then come back with another offspeed pitch, that's where I'll help them out. I'm somewhat of a teacher I guess.

NYF: What's the one part of your game that still needs the most work?

Scobie: Command. I've walked more than I'd like. Every pitcher wants better command.

NYF: Is there anything specific you do before you start a game?

Scobie: The night before I visualize a lot. I visualize my Curveball going for strikes. I visualize my fastball hitting the corners. Then five minutes before I got to the mound I do it again.

NYF: If you don't have good command can you step off the mound, visualize, and regain your command?

Scobie: Nah, if you don't have it that day you just got to hopes it come back on its own later in the inning.

NYF: What are you doing for the All-Star Break?

Scobie: I'll sit and play Play Station all day.

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