Rustich Re-Emerging in the Rotation

Brant Rustich, selected in the second round of the 2007 draft, endured a checkered path to the 2009 season. Injuries and setbacks limited Rustich, a hard-thrower with a tough mentality, from opening up his game and letting his powerful repertoire and aggressive approach take over. Now, he is fully healthy for the first time in his professional career and the results are coming fast.

Please visit the subscribers forum for an important update about upcoming content.

Entering his third season in the organization, many were looking for right-hander Brant Rustich to take a big step. After a successful rookie stint in Brooklyn, he saw only limited time in a somewhat surprising sophomore stint in Savannah during which he accumulated a 3-4 record and a 3.62 ERA in 49 2/3 innings pitched. But Rustich battled through arm injuries including a stress fracture in his humerus bone and a slight tear in the UCL ligament in his elbow.

Thankfully for Rustich, ranked the 10th best prospect in the system by Inside Pitch prior the season, the bulk of the injuries healed by Spring Training and he was able to look ahead to a promising season in St. Lucie.

He got off the right foot as he raced to a 1-1 record and 2.03 ERA through the season's first two months, but more important was the shift in roles observers looked for when Brad Holt and Jenrry Mejia were promoted to Binghamton on June 1. That day, Rustich made the shift to the rotation.

"It's going good so far. Things have got a little more exciting now that I'm starting," he said. "Coming out of Spring Training I was supposed to start but I took on a piggyback role. I think I've been throwing the ball and for the most part I'm throwing strikes."

"But the main thing is that I'm feeling healthy and that has been my number one goal—to stay healthy and stay off the disabled list."

Rustich , who boasts arguably the highest quality stuff in the system, attributes his turnaround and consistency this season to much improved arm strength. That has afforded him time to work between starts—something he lacked last season--allowed his fastball to sit 93-94 MPH, and returned the power to his very formidable, mid-80s slider.

"My arm is definitely been a lot better than last year. It's been fine, but the main thing is that I've been focusing on my routine which includes throwing a bullpen on my third off-day which gives me plenty of time to recover," he explained.

"My arm is recovering very well and bouncing back well. I'm up to 90-plus pitches in my starts and I feel fine. That is the most pitches I've thrown in my career and in a long, long time, probably since my sophomore year of college," Rustich continued.

"My slider has been a great pitch all year and I think I've turned a corner when it comes to my arm strength and all the things I've gone through."

That arm strength is pivotal to his success. Last season, marred with injuries, Rustich's weaker arm caused his release point to change which created inconsistency with the quality of his pitches. Now stronger in his shoulder and elbow, he has reacquired the nasty movement on his top two pitches.

"I think the biggest thing last year, with the stress fracture in my arm, was pitching through pain and how it affected my release point," he said. "I feel I still had the good stuff last year but I couldn't quite get the release point correct and work on the stuff I wanted to.

When the calendar flipped to June and St. Lucie lost a few arms to Double-A, Rustich finally moved into the rotation.

The right-hander remains a bit of a wild card as it relates to his ultimate use in this organization, but a shift to the rotation has not forced Rustich to alter his approach. As a hard-thrower that likes to work quickly, he has not forfeited that mindset despite the added workload.

"Overall the approach has been the same and it's working for me. I'm attacking hitters and trying to get ahead of hitters which is really the biggest thing for me to do," he detailed.

"If I get ahead, I'm typically going to put hitters away quickly with either a strikeout on the slider and my two-seam fastball which I've been incorporating more to get groundballs."

"Nothing really changes," he continued. "In my first start [3 ER, 4 IP, 7 K on June 5], I came out with a little different of an approach and attitude but my pitching coach (Phil Regan) told me stick with what I know and what I do."

"Now, I'm bringing the same mentality as a starter, that same mental aggressiveness, so I can bring the same velocity and the same bite on my pitches. "

The biggest positive to come from all of this is what a healthy Brant Rustich brings to the organization. As the importance of power pitching has risen across baseball, Rustich gives the Mets greater depth and the flexibility of developing him as a starter or as a possible late-inning weapon given his velocity and devastating slider.

The more Rustich pitches and the better he cares for his arm, the more he begins to show the promise and reason why the Mets selected him so high two years ago.

"I feel no different now than I did throwing out of the bullpen earlier in the season. I think I've turned a corner when it comes to my arm strength and all the things I've gone through."

"It seems like this year that I'm back to where I was. Now it's about increasing my innings as a starter and staying healthy. I think I'm where I need to be but of course I want to keep getting better," he closed.


Amazin Clubhouse Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nPlease visit the subscribers forum for an important update about upcoming content.
\r\n
\r\nEntering his third season in the organization, many were looking for right-hander Brant Rustich to take a big step. After a successful rookie stint in Brooklyn, he saw only limited time in a somewhat surprising sophomore stint in Savannah during which he accumulated a 3-4 record and a 3.62 ERA in 49 2/3 innings pitched. But Rustich battled through arm injuries including a stress fracture in his humerus bone and a slight tear in the UCL ligament in his elbow.
\r\n
\r\nThankfully for Rustich, ranked the 10th best prospect in the system by Inside Pitch prior the season, the bulk of the injuries healed by Spring Training and he was able to look ahead to a promising season in St. Lucie.
\r\n
\r\nHe got off the right foot as he raced to a 1-1 record and 2.03 ERA through the season's first two months, but more important was the shift in roles observers looked for when Brad Holt and Jenrry Mejia were promoted to Binghamton on June 1. That day, Rustich made the shift to the rotation.
\r\n
\r\n\"It's going good so far. Things have got a little more exciting now that I'm starting,\" he said. \"Coming out of Spring Training I was supposed to start but I took on a piggyback role. I think I've been throwing the ball and for the most part I'm throwing strikes.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"But the main thing is that I'm feeling healthy and that has been my number one goal—to stay healthy and stay off the disabled list.\"
\r\n
\r\nRustich , who boasts arguably the highest quality stuff in the system, attributes his turnaround and consistency this season to much improved arm strength. That has afforded him time to work between starts—something he lacked last season--allowed his fastball to sit 93-94 MPH, and returned the power to his very formidable, mid-80s slider.
\r\n
\r\n\"My arm is definitely been a lot better than last year. It's been fine, but the main thing is that I've been focusing on my routine which includes throwing a bullpen on my third off-day which gives me plenty of time to recover,\" he explained.
\r\n
\r\n\"My arm is recovering very well and bouncing back well. I'm up to 90-plus pitches in my starts and I feel fine. That is the most pitches I've thrown in my career and in a long, long time, probably since my sophomore year of college,\" Rustich continued.
\r\n
\r\n\"My slider has been a great pitch all year and I think I've turned a corner when it comes to my arm strength and all the things I've gone through.\"
\r\n
\r\nThat arm strength is pivotal to his success. Last season, marred with injuries, Rustich's weaker arm caused his release point to change which created inconsistency with the quality of his pitches. Now stronger in his shoulder and elbow, he has reacquired the nasty movement on his top two pitches.
\r\n
\r\n\"I think the biggest thing last year, with the stress fracture in my arm, was pitching through pain and how it affected my release point,\" he said. \"I feel I still had the good stuff last year but I couldn't quite get the release point correct and work on the stuff I wanted to.
\r\n
\r\nWhen the calendar flipped to June and St. Lucie lost a few arms to Double-A, Rustich finally moved into the rotation.
\r\n
\r\nThe right-hander remains a bit of a wild card as it relates to his ultimate use in this organization, but a shift to the rotation has not forced Rustich to alter his approach. As a hard-thrower that likes to work quickly, he has not forfeited that mindset despite the added workload.
\r\n
\r\n\"Overall the approach has been the same and it's working for me. I'm attacking hitters and trying to get ahead of hitters which is really the biggest thing for me to do,\" he detailed.
\r\n
\r\n\"If I get ahead, I'm typically going to put hitters away quickly with either a strikeout on the slider and my two-seam fastball which I've been incorporating more to get groundballs.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"Nothing really changes,\" he continued. \"In my first start [3 ER, 4 IP, 7 K on June 5], I came out with a little different of an approach and attitude but my pitching coach (Phil Regan) told me stick with what I know and what I do.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"Now, I'm bringing the same mentality as a starter, that same mental aggressiveness, so I can bring the same velocity and the same bite on my pitches. \"
\r\n
\r\nThe biggest positive to come from all of this is what a healthy Brant Rustich brings to the organization. As the importance of power pitching has risen across baseball, Rustich gives the Mets greater depth and the flexibility of developing him as a starter or as a possible late-inning weapon given his velocity and devastating slider.
\r\n
\r\nThe more Rustich pitches and the better he cares for his arm, the more he begins to show the promise and reason why the Mets selected him so high two years ago.
\r\n
\r\n\"I feel no different now than I did throwing out of the bullpen earlier in the season. I think I've turned a corner when it comes to my arm strength and all the things I've gone through.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"It seems like this year that I'm back to where I was. Now it's about increasing my innings as a starter and staying healthy. I think I'm where I need to be but of course I want to keep getting better,\" he closed.
\r\n
\r\n","mobileBody":" \r\nPlease visit the subscribers forum for an important update about upcoming content.
\r\n
\r\nEntering his third season in the organization, many were looking for right-hander Brant Rustich to take a big step. After a successful rookie stint in Brooklyn, he saw only limited time in a somewhat surprising sophomore stint in Savannah during which he accumulated a 3-4 record and a 3.62 ERA in 49 2/3 innings pitched. But Rustich battled through arm injuries including a stress fracture in his humerus bone and a slight tear in the UCL ligament in his elbow.
\r\n
\r\nThankfully for Rustich, ranked the 10th best prospect in the system by Inside Pitch prior the season, the bulk of the injuries healed by Spring Training and he was able to look ahead to a promising season in St. Lucie.
\r\n
\r\nHe got off the right foot as he raced to a 1-1 record and 2.03 ERA through the season's first two months, but more important was the shift in roles observers looked for when Brad Holt and Jenrry Mejia were promoted to Binghamton on June 1. That day, Rustich made the shift to the rotation.
\r\n
\r\n\"It's going good so far. Things have got a little more exciting now that I'm starting,\" he said. \"Coming out of Spring Training I was supposed to start but I took on a piggyback role. I think I've been throwing the ball and for the most part I'm throwing strikes.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"But the main thing is that I'm feeling healthy and that has been my number one goal—to stay healthy and stay off the disabled list.\"
\r\n
\r\nRustich , who boasts arguably the highest quality stuff in the system, attributes his turnaround and consistency this season to much improved arm strength. That has afforded him time to work between starts—something he lacked last season--allowed his fastball to sit 93-94 MPH, and returned the power to his very formidable, mid-80s slider.
\r\n
\r\n\"My arm is definitely been a lot better than last year. It's been fine, but the main thing is that I've been focusing on my routine which includes throwing a bullpen on my third off-day which gives me plenty of time to recover,\" he explained.
\r\n
\r\n\"My arm is recovering very well and bouncing back well. I'm up to 90-plus pitches in my starts and I feel fine. That is the most pitches I've thrown in my career and in a long, long time, probably since my sophomore year of college,\" Rustich continued.
\r\n
\r\n\"My slider has been a great pitch all year and I think I've turned a corner when it comes to my arm strength and all the things I've gone through.\"
\r\n
\r\nThat arm strength is pivotal to his success. Last season, marred with injuries, Rustich's weaker arm caused his release point to change which created inconsistency with the quality of his pitches. Now stronger in his shoulder and elbow, he has reacquired the nasty movement on his top two pitches.
\r\n
\r\n\"I think the biggest thing last year, with the stress fracture in my arm, was pitching through pain and how it affected my release point,\" he said. \"I feel I still had the good stuff last year but I couldn't quite get the release point correct and work on the stuff I wanted to.
\r\n
\r\nWhen the calendar flipped to June and St. Lucie lost a few arms to Double-A, Rustich finally moved into the rotation.
\r\n
\r\nThe right-hander remains a bit of a wild card as it relates to his ultimate use in this organization, but a shift to the rotation has not forced Rustich to alter his approach. As a hard-thrower that likes to work quickly, he has not forfeited that mindset despite the added workload.
\r\n
\r\n\"Overall the approach has been the same and it's working for me. I'm attacking hitters and trying to get ahead of hitters which is really the biggest thing for me to do,\" he detailed.
\r\n
\r\n\"If I get ahead, I'm typically going to put hitters away quickly with either a strikeout on the slider and my two-seam fastball which I've been incorporating more to get groundballs.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"Nothing really changes,\" he continued. \"In my first start [3 ER, 4 IP, 7 K on June 5], I came out with a little different of an approach and attitude but my pitching coach (Phil Regan) told me stick with what I know and what I do.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"Now, I'm bringing the same mentality as a starter, that same mental aggressiveness, so I can bring the same velocity and the same bite on my pitches. \"
\r\n
\r\nThe biggest positive to come from all of this is what a healthy Brant Rustich brings to the organization. As the importance of power pitching has risen across baseball, Rustich gives the Mets greater depth and the flexibility of developing him as a starter or as a possible late-inning weapon given his velocity and devastating slider.
\r\n
\r\nThe more Rustich pitches and the better he cares for his arm, the more he begins to show the promise and reason why the Mets selected him so high two years ago.
\r\n
\r\n\"I feel no different now than I did throwing out of the bullpen earlier in the season. I think I've turned a corner when it comes to my arm strength and all the things I've gone through.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"It seems like this year that I'm back to where I was. Now it's about increasing my innings as a starter and staying healthy. I think I'm where I need to be but of course I want to keep getting better,\" he closed.
\r\n
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