Pirates Prospect Interview: Tyler Cox

The Pittsburgh Pirates drafted Tyler Cox in the 35th round in the 2008 draft. Cox, 24, a left handed pitcher, worked out of the bullpen for the Class A Bradenton Marauders in 2010 and posted a 6-2 record with a 3.32 ERA in 44 games with one save. PiratesDugout.com's George Von Benko spoke with Cox recently.

GVB -- Were you pleased with the season you had at Bradenton?

TC -- Yeah, I was pretty happy, I would have liked to have a little lower ERA, a couple rough games bumped it up, but going from a starter and making my transition to the bullpen overall I'm pretty happy with the season I had.

GVB -- ERA can be tough out of the bullpen; one bad outing can bloat it – right?

TC -- You don't have the amount of work and the number of innings. You give up that one bad inning and it will take a month to bring it back down.

GVB -- Tell me about the transition from starter to the bullpen, was it a smooth transition?

TC -- I think it was a fairly smooth transition and I did some bullpen relieving in college, so I kind of knew what it was all about. The main thing that I would say that I had to work on was just getting ready quicker. You know as a starter you've got your set amount of time, you get to go from long toss to bullpen and to the game. But in the bullpen you just get the call and you get up and sometimes you get 12 or 13 pitches and that's it and you are in the game. Finding a way to get loose quicker was something I had to adjust to.

GVB -- What about the mentality of coming into some different situations?

TC -- Coming from starting I was sitting middle relief until probably July and Diego Moreno was running setup and when he went up to Double A I started pitching a lot at the back end of the game and to tell the truth I liked it. You know coming in you've got that one inning and you have runners on and the intensity is just so much higher and it's just fun – I love it.

GVB -- You guys had a pretty successful season and made the playoffs, but you were hurt by injuries right?

TC -- We lost all kinds of guys. For a period of time we lost our starting and backup catchers, shortstop, and center field. We had a rough season injury wise. To come out and make the playoffs and especially in the inaugural season, it's pretty nice to be able to fight through all the problems. The guys on the team came together well and I feel there was a good chemistry.

GVB -- What are some of the things you are working on this off season?

TC -- I would like to improve on my slider and I would like to make it a little sharper and tighter and just overall command of the strike zone, with all pitches. I would like to work ahead in the count, get ahead and stay ahead and when I get ahead learn how to finish the guy off.

GVB -- What is your velocity on the fastball?

TC -- It 88 to 92. There is always work to be done, it's never finished there is always fine tuning. The command of my fastball is really need to shape up.

GVB -- What pitches do you have in your arsenal?

TC -- I throw both a 2 seam and 4 seam fastball, change up, and slider. My go-to pitch is still a located fastball, but my slider is a put away pitch. The change up is actually my second best pitch. I feel very confident with the change, to righties the change up is my go to pitch and out pitch.

GVB -- You were at High Single A Bradenton, have they talked to you about where you will start out in 2011, or will that play out in spring training? Are you pleased with the progress you are making through the system?

TC -- I've been invited down to the mini camp in January. I was told I have a couple of things to work on. Believing in my stuff with some of the changes that I've gone through and getting lefty hitters out a little better, which is going to come with the breaking ball. I would like to break in at Double A, that's my goal going into spring training.

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