Simmons' Sinker Has Been The Difference

The Cyclones might not have hit as much as they would have liked to this year, but their pitching staff has proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that they've got arms to be reckoned with. One of those arms happens to belong to Jeramy Simmons.

Simmons is a 6-foot-0, 200 pound righty selected by the Mets in the 36th round of the 2005 amateur draft after going 9-4 for the University of Southern Alabama with a 4.76 ERA and 106 strikeouts on the season.

He played last year at Kingsport, finishing with the 10th best ERA (4.26) in the league and went 1-5 for the Met rookie ball affiliate.

This year with the Cyclones, Simmons is 2-1 and in his last two starts, has not allowed an earned run through 11 innings pitched and has struck out 11 batters. Simmons owes his success to a new pitch: the sinker.

"Coming from college to professional baseball is a lot different," said Simmons. "You shy away from contact because of the aluminum bat. But now, I developed a sinker and that's basically what I am, a sinkerball pitcher. I just throw the ball low in the zone and try to get [hitters] to top it."

Simmons not only has a sinker in his pitching repertoire, but a pretty good slider as well.

"He kept the ball down, and he used his slider," said Cyclone manager George Greer. "If you don't throw your slider for strikes, keep it down in the zone, it looks like a fastball out of your hand and the ball cuts at the end."

Greer also said that the improved infield defense since the start of the season helped the Cyclone pitching staff, and Simmons in particular, due to the ground balls Simmons forces because of his sinker.

"He's not a strikeout pitcher, he's going to have to induce contact low in the zone," added Greer. "When your infield kind of solidifies and you can throw that ball and you don't have to necessarily throw it for a strike, let them swing at it and let them hit ground balls to our infield."

Although Simmons did have gaudy strikeout numbers in college, he says that he doesn't look for the strikeout.

"I was talking to our catching coordinator and he was telling me a story that he heard from Greg Maddux to never go for the punch out," said the right-hander. "I was just throwing strikes and they were just missing them."

This doesn't come as a surprise to Simmons' teammates. Reliever Grady Hinchman, who played against Simmons at Western Kentucky when Simmons was with Southern Alabama, said that Simmons was doing this in back with the Jags as well.

"I expect nothing less from Simmons," said Hinchman. "He pitched in college and he was always three up and three down, running through hitters. He's got a lot of intensity out there, he's got command of all his pitches and he's not upset when he comes out of the game because he knows what we have in the bullpen."

For the rest of the season, Simmons and company will try to get it to the pen with strong performances like his last two starts.

Amazin Clubhouse Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nSimmons is a 6-foot-0, 200 pound righty selected by the Mets in the 36th round of the 2005 amateur draft after going 9-4 for the University of Southern Alabama with a 4.76 ERA and 106 strikeouts on the season.
\r\n
\r\nHe played last year at Kingsport, finishing with the 10th best ERA (4.26) in the league and went 1-5 for the Met rookie ball affiliate.
\r\n
\r\nThis year with the Cyclones, Simmons is 2-1 and in his last two starts, has not allowed an earned run through 11 innings pitched and has struck out 11 batters. Simmons owes his success to a new pitch: the sinker.
\r\n
\r\n\"Coming from college to professional baseball is a lot different,\" said Simmons. \"You shy away from contact because of the aluminum bat. But now, I developed a sinker and that's basically what I am, a sinkerball pitcher. I just throw the ball low in the zone and try to get [hitters] to top it.\"
\r\n
\r\nSimmons not only has a sinker in his pitching repertoire, but a pretty good slider as well.
\r\n
\r\n\"He kept the ball down, and he used his slider,\" said Cyclone manager George Greer. \"If you don't throw your slider for strikes, keep it down in the zone, it looks like a fastball out of your hand and the ball cuts at the end.\"
\r\n
\r\nGreer also said that the improved infield defense since the start of the season helped the Cyclone pitching staff, and Simmons in particular, due to the ground balls Simmons forces because of his sinker.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's not a strikeout pitcher, he's going to have to induce contact low in the zone,\" added Greer. \"When your infield kind of solidifies and you can throw that ball and you don't have to necessarily throw it for a strike, let them swing at it and let them hit ground balls to our infield.\"
\r\n
\r\nAlthough Simmons did have gaudy strikeout numbers in college, he says that he doesn't look for the strikeout.
\r\n
\r\n\"I was talking to our catching coordinator and he was telling me a story that he heard from Greg Maddux to never go for the punch out,\" said the right-hander. \"I was just throwing strikes and they were just missing them.\"
\r\n
\r\nThis doesn't come as a surprise to Simmons' teammates. Reliever Grady Hinchman, who played against Simmons at Western Kentucky when Simmons was with Southern Alabama, said that Simmons was doing this in back with the Jags as well.
\r\n
\r\n\"I expect nothing less from Simmons,\" said Hinchman. \"He pitched in college and he was always three up and three down, running through hitters. He's got a lot of intensity out there, he's got command of all his pitches and he's not upset when he comes out of the game because he knows what we have in the bullpen.\"
\r\n
\r\nFor the rest of the season, Simmons and company will try to get it to the pen with strong performances like his last two starts.
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