Q&A with Royce Ring

Royce Ring is the blazing relief prospect that the Mets acquired in the deal with the Chicago WhiteSox when they got rid of Roberto Alomar. The Mets need bullpen help, especially from the left side, and with Franco and Stanton getting on in years Ring figures to be in the Mets long term plans. Before the game I had the opportunity to talk to Ring about himself and his career.

NYF: Why did you choose San Diego State University?

Ring: At the time it was actually the only place that offered me a scholarship. I was planning on going to a junior college but I found away to get into SDSU. I got a local scholarship which covered tuition and it ended up working out for me.

NYF: Were you able to learn a lot about being a pitcher in college?

Ring: I did. I worked on a lot of mechanical stuff. It helped me increase my velocity. From that, it just developed into me being able to throw harder and harder each year and that helped me go as high as I did in the draft.

NYF: What's the fastest you have been clocked at?

Ring: In college I hit 95. But now velocity isn't too much of an issue for me. I'm not throwing as hard as I was but I've really developed my offspeed pitches.

NYF: So you've become more of a pitcher and less of a thrower?

Ring: Exactly.

NYF: I heard that you were a pretty good hitter. Is that true?

Ring: I could swing a little a bit. In college I only had 40 AB. Pitching is how I thought I was going to get to where I wanted to be. I still screw around with the bat here and there but nothing serious.

NYF: You played in Alaska. How does the weather compare to Binghamton?

Ring: It's nicer in Alaska. It's unbelievable. It never gets dark but it never rains either. Blue skies everyday is real nice. I was only up there for a couple months but I only remember it raining twice.

NYF: You also played on the U.S. national team. What was that like?

Ring: The first time I was on the national team was very exciting. I got to play all over the United States. The traveling and playing so many other good teams was a really good experience. I also got to play on a professional baseball field. I got a save in Comiskey Park. It had a very exciting feel to it. This year I got to tryout for the Olympic team. It didn't work out for me but it still felt more intense than all the other teams combined and it was definitely an experience in itself.

NYF: What was it like for you when you found out you were traded? Was it disappointing or were you flattered that you were wanted?

Ring: To be traded for a future Hall of Famer was a great honor for me. I knew that meant that the Mets must have thought very highly of me and that they'd be willing to give me a serious shot.

NYF: When you were traded Mets fans were told that you were like a younger Mike Stanton. Do you feel that that is a fair comparison?

Ring: I think we're somewhat comparable. We have similar stuff. He's more of a curveball pitcher and I rely more on my slider. I throw a lot more changeups than he does. He's more of a power curve and a fastball pitcher. Our velocity is very similar though, and we're both left handed. There are some similarities but I think every pitcher has their own unique style.

NYF: What's the biggest difference between AA and AAA?

Ring: The zone is a lot tighter in AAA. The umpires have smaller strike zones. In AA you have a lot of prospects, younger kids that are working on their game. In AAA there are guys who have been to the big leagues. There's more experience so they take more pitches.

NYF: When they reassign you to AA, do they say ‘go back and work on X'?

Ring: No they just told me to go get some innings and then we'll bring you back up. But if I stay here that's fine with me too. There's a good team down here and maybe I can help them win the championship which would be a great thing. Being down here is about getting innings, getting experience and working on mechanics. It doesn't matter what level you're at to do those things. If they want me here, St. Lucie, Norfolk, or the big leagues it doesn't matter to me. There are so many different things a pitcher can work on. You can develop a new pitch, perfect an old one, learn to throw a pitch on a different side of the plate. I try to work on stuff every day.

NYF: Even though you are not in AAA anymore, is it more fun to be on a team like Binghamton which is in first place than a team like Norfolk which is a losing team?

Ring: Yea, the atmosphere in the clubhouse is obviously different. There are a great bunch of guys down here. It's always fun being on a team that's winning. I've always been so close to winning a championship but I have never quite been able to do it so it's very exciting for me.

NYF: A lot of opposing pitchers say that this is a hitter's park and some of the Binghamton pitchers have better ERAs on the road than they do at home. Is this a hitter's park?

Ring: I played here last year too and I would have to say that this park plays normal to a little bit small. It depends on the wind. If the wind is not blowing than it plays like a normal park. I've played in a lot worse places.

NYF: A lot of runs get scored here.

Ring: It can play that way. If the wind is blowing out than the ball carries real well. I try and keep the ball down and change speeds and if I do that well I can get guys out.

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