Ryan Hinson: Going up there is a little bit different. The hitters are a little bit smarter. A lot of times you will see hitters swing at everything in the Northwest League. They are more aggressive here. As you get higher, the hitters are more selective and they try to find their one pitch to hit and hit it well.
It was one of those things where you get to see how it is. The guys are a little bit older and have been together longer than our team in Eugene. It is one of those things that you adapt to. I was really fortunate to go and the guys up there were great.
How have you matured from high school through college till today as a baseball player?
Ryan Hinson: I think I have matured mostly by learning how to pitch and learning what my strengths are. Learning to make adjustments from game to game and pitch to pitch. This game can bite you in the butt quickly if you are not on top of your game. You have to make sure you always fine tune things to get better.
It seems like the first out of an inning has been a little bit tough at times. Is there a different warmup routine or a different mentality you would like to see from yourself?
Ryan Hinson: I think the mentality that I need to go back out there with is being aggressive and not worrying about giving up a walk or a hit. Let them get themselves out. This game is based on failure. Seven out of 10 times they are going to get themselves out. I need to be more aggressive.
You have started during your career at Clemson and also been in relief. The same is true in Eugene this year. Is there a comfort level in one versus the other?
Ryan Hinson: It had been a while since I had started. I had gotten real comfortable coming in as a reliever during certain situations, understanding the flow of the game and feeding off the pitcher before me. It is something you get used to. For me, there is a certain way you warm up – warm up quicker since there isn't as much time. I enjoy coming in during pressure situations and giving it all I have. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose.
You were working on a slider. How has that pitch come along for you?
Ryan Hinson: It is going pretty well. It was going well for a little while and I tried a new grip to see how it was working and haven't straight canned it yet. I want to get people out and have to develop it more.
Have there been mechanical changes you are working through as well?
Ryan Hinson: I have mainly been trying to stay taller. I have been known to push the ball a little bit and get too low coming off the mound – affecting my release point. I have a tendency to push things rather than getting on top and throwing it. I am just trying to stay tall and stay back to get on top of the ball.
Is that going to help you in two ways – better fastball command and getting that downward plane to change the hitters eye level?
Ryan Hinson: Exactly. It helps my slider but mainly it helps with my fastball command in and out and my changeup. If I have more consistency with my mechanics and staying back and staying tall, I won't push my changeup and it will be better because of that.
Do you feel like when you are on the mound you are cognizant of the runners and a potential for stolen base attempts?
Ryan Hinson: Yes, as you go through college, you start to learn hitters and body types. Even now, you have to know the guys who can steal and look at the stats. Understand the one, two guys in the lineup are probably the fastest and the eight, nine hitters can put the ball in play and make something happen with their speed.
You were also working on the changeup when we last spoke. How has that come along?
Ryan Hinson: My changeup has really improved since I was a sophomore in college. It has become one of my best pitches. I just need to be more consistent with it and throw it for a strike rather than trying to strike everyone out with it.
The last two guys coming out of Clemson have been fantastic hitters – yourself and Stephen Faris. What are they doing over at Clemson?
Ryan Hinson: They just recruit good hitters! We never really hit in college, ironically. It is one of those things where you go back to the glory days of high school and enjoy it. You have a good time with it and don't worry about it. Swing hard and try and hit home runs – that is my philosophy.
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