Hinchman Getting Ahead

Grady Hinchman has the deck stacked against him. He's a 5'9 left-handed pitcher, which is considered too short to be a pitcher. He went undrafted in the 2005 amateur draft, where nearly 1500 players were taken over him. But the Mets might have uncovered something in Hinchman and he could become a valuable contributor in the near future.

The Pendleton Heights, Indiana native had a rough year in his senior campaign at Western Kentucky, going 3-6 with a 7.98 ERA. The Mets organization decided to gamble anyway and sign Hinchman, looking at the positives of his junior year as Hinchman went 7-5 with 3.00 ERA, averaging almost 10 strikeouts per nine innings.

After four years as a starter with Western Kentucky, the organization decided to convert Hinchman into a reliever and so far, the results are encouraging. With the GCL Mets last season, Hinchman averaged 14 strikeouts per nine innings and posted a combined 2.65 ERA with both the GCL Mets and Brooklyn.

"Hinchman threw well for us in extended [spring training], so well that he was sent to Hagerstown for a while," said Cyclone manager George Greer. "He's a bulldog, takes the ball, throws strikes, good changeup, and his curveball has gotten better."

"I just went out like I had the same approach all year," said Hinchman. "I got 30 innings under my belt already this year. The hitters were showing their weaknesses early and when they do that, that helps me out a lot. When I get ahead, that also helps me, so I can use the curveball."

The curve was certainly working on in his first appearance for Brooklyn in 2006, after being brought back from Hagerstown, striking out four of the nine batters he faced, all in a row. Hinchman threw 2 2/3 innings pitched and allow two runs on a hit.

The key for Hinchman is get ahead in the count. Hinchman struggled with his control in college and will lessen the amount of walks he gives up to opposing batters.

"Just getting the first strike really opens a lot of options you can do with those hitters," said Hinchman. "If you fall behind, hitters' averages go up."

Hinchman is looking to build on last year's performance and help out the Cyclones with the knowledge he gained from last year.

"I'm going to do my job out there when it's my turn," said Hinchman. "Hopefully, being a year old veteran, I can tell some of the new guys how things go and get better as well."

Amazin Clubhouse Top Stories