Q&A with B-Mets Manager Mako Oliveras

It has been a rocky spring for the team. Despite an unpredictable April, injuries, and roster changes, Oliveras has steered his team through all of it. With the All-Star Break approaching, Inside Pitch had the opportunity to speak with him and touch on the team's play, his thoughts on Bobby Parnell, Kevin Mulvey, the health of Fernando Martinez - and more.

Inside Pitch Magazine: With only eight wins this month, what do you think have been the general struggles with the team? What areas need to be turned around?

Mako Oliveras: Right now, they are showing they are young. I think they are they youngest team in this league and we have been facing really good pitching. I don't think I've seen so many good arms before, even in the Summer Leagues and the Caribbean Leagues. The best way to learn is through playing and that's what we're doing. In April, we did not hit much and only had an average record. In May, we turned it around and put into a different drive and the hitting came. Then we came back in June and we are playing the way we did in April, so we're showing inconsistency.

In April, we struggled with runners in scoring position and keeping consistency in the lineup. Second month, the base hits were coming. Those up-and-down times is what makes this game great, but at the same time, we need to take advantage of runners on base when we have them.

Inside Pitch: Speaking off the offense, in those few series in the middle of May, the team set highs for runs scored. Is there any way to adjust the order or make roster moves to maximize the potential they showed during that stretch?

Oliveras: Yea, we were really hot for those seven or eight games. But there are two sides of the coin. A couple bats get hot, and then the team starts hitting. A couple of key bats get cold and then it catches on to everyone. We need everyone to contribute to win the way we want.

Inside Pitch: What is the current state of the pitching staff?

Oliveras: The same things that have happened to the lineup have happened to the pitching staff too. Our young guys have had trouble putting together more than two real good starts in a row. Kevin Mulvey has been really strong. Marcos Carvajal has really started to pitch well and put his game together even though his numbers may not show it. We really like his stuff and the quality of his pitches.

I really like Bobby Parnell, a whole lot. I can watch him pitch now and know that he is going to pitch in the big leagues someday. I don't know when but I see the talent in him and he's great to watch.

Inside Pitch: Specifically about Kevin Mulvey, he has a really strong ERA but has just a 6-7 record to show for it. Do you think he has been a victim of his offense? Has it been more misfortune?

Oliveras: I had a good conversation with him last week. Sometimes, and it's happened to Mulvey, these kids pay too much attention to their numbers and not the quality work they do game-to-game and inning-to-inning. The numbers can be foolish. With Mulvey, it's been a combination of when we hit well, he has an off night and we he pitches really well, we don't hit for him. But sometimes, he tries to pitch away from contact and that can get him in trouble. They are things that through the season he continues to make adjustments. I think as the summer goes on he will pitch more inside, get to 95 pitches and pitch deep into the game. My goal is too get him to get seven or eight innings and learn to work quick and dominate the strike zone.

Inside Pitch: As it relates to Parnell, can you break down exactly the strong parts of his game you have seen? How do you think he's adjusting to the league?

Oliveras: He's been outstanding I think. He probably could use another pitch but I love his resilience. I love his demeanor and the way he attacks hitters on the mound. His pitchers are really crisp and I think he will do very well up here for us.

Inside Pitch: Another recent call up is Drew Butera. What do you think of him? How do you see him fitting in with the pitching staff?

Oliveras: He's a young kid but he's really impressed me with the way he handles himself behind the plate and the way he calls a game. He's got great tools for a young catcher and I think he communicates really well with the pitching staff. He's got a good bat and I think he will help us in the lineup and with the pitching staff.

Inside Pitch: You recently got Mike Carp back in the order. Do you think his return will help light a spark in the order? How do you see his return affecting the rotation you use at first base?

Oliveras: The first thing I've really noticed is his defense. He's been great with the glove. Every game that he goes out there he looks more comfortable and I think his bat will continue to get stronger as his comfort comes back and he finds his rhythm.

As for the position, right now, the guy that is going to play, is Carp. Brett Harper could see more time in the outfield because we want to keep both of their bats in the lineup. Harper has been great and is happy to play and will help out this team any he can. I told him not to worry too much about the defense in the outfield. I told him "if you catch it, catch it". We've worked really hard on his ability to read balls and make good lines to balls in the air.

Inside Pitch: Caleb Stewart has been the most consistent producer for the team this year. What do you think of his performances, day-in, day-out?

Oliveras: He's definitely been swinging a big club. At times, it seems the way Caleb has gone, the team has gone. It's been a mix of guys like Coles, Harper, Carp and now Fernando Martinez all going down, but Stewart has been there for us. He's had his slow periods too but we love what he's done for us. Those injuries have affected us as a team. There has been such a little time period where we've had all those guys together.

Inside Pitch: Getting to Fernando – it's known now that he is out with a diagnosed hand contusion. What is his timetable? What kind of work will he do while he comes from the injury?

Oliveras: Right now, the instructions that I have is absolutely no throwing, no hitting, nothing to do with his hands. Right now, we've put him on a pretty strict running workout and we will use this time to help learn to run the outfield better and field balls and run routes better. It looks like now with the All-Star Game in the next week, he won't see any action so we don't risk anything. We are looking to keep his legs in shape and keep him conditioned in the meantime. But I think Fernando is so special, and we're obviously missing him, but I think he will be able to come back in a few weeks and not miss a step. Now, he sits on the bench, keeping charts, studying the game. You know, I told him from Day 1, not to let the media or attention get to him, and he hasn't. Even when he can't play he's always doing something to make himself better.

Inside Pitch: Another move recently was with Corey Ragsdale and the decision to covert him into a pitcher. He is down in Florida now at the St. Lucie complex working. Can you describe what went into his transition?

Oliveras: In the beginning, he wasn't too happy but nobody forced him to do that. It was a recommendation that came from the top of the organization. He was struggling offensively, he recognized that. But he's got a great, live arm and it was brought to him to try pitching. It took some time for him to fully accept the change but his willing to give a chance and I think that says a lot about him.

Jorge Sosa is a good example of another infielder in the organization who became a pitcher, and look, he got a chance in the big leagues. Although Ragsdale was not crazy about the idea, (B-Mets Pitching Coach) Ricky Bones and I talked with him about it and I told him I thought it was his ticket to the big leagues. So finally, he decided to do it. I told him, "Don't do it just for us. Do it because you want to be the best ballplayer you can be and what will make you succeed." So now he's in Florida and I wait to see what kind of progress he makes.

Inside Pitch: Any final ideas or statements about what this team needs to do to turn it around the All-Star Break approaching?

Oliveras: Win more games, obviously. First thing people need to remember is that we are here to develop people and make them better. If I can get five or six guys to really get better, from when I got them to the end of the year, and hopefully get them to the next level the next season, than that's a huge positive. It's a marathon, but as every day and every game goes by, it turns into a rat race. I think we'll put it together before the All-Star Game and than really turn it around and have some fun in the second half.


Amazin Clubhouse Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nInside Pitch Magazine: With only eight wins this month, what do you think have been the general struggles with the team? What areas need to be turned around?
\r\n
\r\nMako Oliveras: Right now, they are showing they are young. I think they are they youngest team in this league and we have been facing really good pitching. I don't think I've seen so many good arms before, even in the Summer Leagues and the Caribbean Leagues. The best way to learn is through playing and that's what we're doing. In April, we did not hit much and only had an average record. In May, we turned it around and put into a different drive and the hitting came. Then we came back in June and we are playing the way we did in April, so we're showing inconsistency.
\r\n
\r\nIn April, we struggled with runners in scoring position and keeping consistency in the lineup. Second month, the base hits were coming. Those up-and-down times is what makes this game great, but at the same time, we need to take advantage of runners on base when we have them.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: Speaking off the offense, in those few series in the middle of May, the team set highs for runs scored. Is there any way to adjust the order or make roster moves to maximize the potential they showed during that stretch?
\r\n
\r\nOliveras: Yea, we were really hot for those seven or eight games. But there are two sides of the coin. A couple bats get hot, and then the team starts hitting. A couple of key bats get cold and then it catches on to everyone. We need everyone to contribute to win the way we want.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: What is the current state of the pitching staff?
\r\n
\r\nOliveras: The same things that have happened to the lineup have happened to the pitching staff too. Our young guys have had trouble putting together more than two real good starts in a row. Kevin Mulvey has been really strong. Marcos Carvajal has really started to pitch well and put his game together even though his numbers may not show it. We really like his stuff and the quality of his pitches.
\r\n
\r\nI really like Bobby Parnell, a whole lot. I can watch him pitch now and know that he is going to pitch in the big leagues someday. I don't know when but I see the talent in him and he's great to watch.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: Specifically about Kevin Mulvey, he has a really strong ERA but has just a 6-7 record to show for it. Do you think he has been a victim of his offense? Has it been more misfortune?
\r\n
\r\nOliveras: I had a good conversation with him last week. Sometimes, and it's happened to Mulvey, these kids pay too much attention to their numbers and not the quality work they do game-to-game and inning-to-inning. The numbers can be foolish. With Mulvey, it's been a combination of when we hit well, he has an off night and we he pitches really well, we don't hit for him. But sometimes, he tries to pitch away from contact and that can get him in trouble. They are things that through the season he continues to make adjustments. I think as the summer goes on he will pitch more inside, get to 95 pitches and pitch deep into the game. My goal is too get him to get seven or eight innings and learn to work quick and dominate the strike zone.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: As it relates to Parnell, can you break down exactly the strong parts of his game you have seen? How do you think he's adjusting to the league?
\r\n
\r\nOliveras: He's been outstanding I think. He probably could use another pitch but I love his resilience. I love his demeanor and the way he attacks hitters on the mound. His pitchers are really crisp and I think he will do very well up here for us.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: Another recent call up is Drew Butera. What do you think of him? How do you see him fitting in with the pitching staff?
\r\n
\r\nOliveras: He's a young kid but he's really impressed me with the way he handles himself behind the plate and the way he calls a game. He's got great tools for a young catcher and I think he communicates really well with the pitching staff. He's got a good bat and I think he will help us in the lineup and with the pitching staff.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: You recently got Mike Carp back in the order. Do you think his return will help light a spark in the order? How do you see his return affecting the rotation you use at first base?
\r\n
\r\nOliveras: The first thing I've really noticed is his defense. He's been great with the glove. Every game that he goes out there he looks more comfortable and I think his bat will continue to get stronger as his comfort comes back and he finds his rhythm.
\r\n
\r\nAs for the position, right now, the guy that is going to play, is Carp. Brett Harper could see more time in the outfield because we want to keep both of their bats in the lineup. Harper has been great and is happy to play and will help out this team any he can. I told him not to worry too much about the defense in the outfield. I told him \"if you catch it, catch it\". We've worked really hard on his ability to read balls and make good lines to balls in the air.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: Caleb Stewart has been the most consistent producer for the team this year. What do you think of his performances, day-in, day-out?
\r\n
\r\nOliveras: He's definitely been swinging a big club. At times, it seems the way Caleb has gone, the team has gone. It's been a mix of guys like Coles, Harper, Carp and now Fernando Martinez all going down, but Stewart has been there for us. He's had his slow periods too but we love what he's done for us. Those injuries have affected us as a team. There has been such a little time period where we've had all those guys together.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: Getting to Fernando – it's known now that he is out with a diagnosed hand contusion. What is his timetable? What kind of work will he do while he comes from the injury?
\r\n
\r\nOliveras: Right now, the instructions that I have is absolutely no throwing, no hitting, nothing to do with his hands. Right now, we've put him on a pretty strict running workout and we will use this time to help learn to run the outfield better and field balls and run routes better. It looks like now with the All-Star Game in the next week, he won't see any action so we don't risk anything. We are looking to keep his legs in shape and keep him conditioned in the meantime. But I think Fernando is so special, and we're obviously missing him, but I think he will be able to come back in a few weeks and not miss a step. Now, he sits on the bench, keeping charts, studying the game. You know, I told him from Day 1, not to let the media or attention get to him, and he hasn't. Even when he can't play he's always doing something to make himself better.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: Another move recently was with Corey Ragsdale and the decision to covert him into a pitcher. He is down in Florida now at the St. Lucie complex working. Can you describe what went into his transition?
\r\n
\r\nOliveras: In the beginning, he wasn't too happy but nobody forced him to do that. It was a recommendation that came from the top of the organization. He was struggling offensively, he recognized that. But he's got a great, live arm and it was brought to him to try pitching. It took some time for him to fully accept the change but his willing to give a chance and I think that says a lot about him.
\r\n
\r\nJorge Sosa is a good example of another infielder in the organization who became a pitcher, and look, he got a chance in the big leagues. Although Ragsdale was not crazy about the idea, (B-Mets Pitching Coach) Ricky Bones and I talked with him about it and I told him I thought it was his ticket to the big leagues. So finally, he decided to do it. I told him, \"Don't do it just for us. Do it because you want to be the best ballplayer you can be and what will make you succeed.\" So now he's in Florida and I wait to see what kind of progress he makes.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: Any final ideas or statements about what this team needs to do to turn it around the All-Star Break approaching?
\r\n
\r\nOliveras: Win more games, obviously. First thing people need to remember is that we are here to develop people and make them better. If I can get five or six guys to really get better, from when I got them to the end of the year, and hopefully get them to the next level the next season, than that's a huge positive. It's a marathon, but as every day and every game goes by, it turns into a rat race. I think we'll put it together before the All-Star Game and than really turn it around and have some fun in the second half.
\r\n
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