Pirates prospect interview: Kyle McPherson

Kyle McPherson is the Pirates minor league Pitcher-of-the-Year. The right-hander went a combined 12-6 with a 2.96 ERA (161.0ip/53er) and 142 strikeouts in 28 starts between Bradenton and Double-A Altoona. He finished with an organizational leading 142 strikeouts. PiratesDugout.com's George Von Benko spoke with McPherson recently.

GVB – Are you excited about being named the Pirates minor league Pitcher-of-the-Year?

KM – It is a tremendous honor and I thought I had a pretty good year, but there are a lot of outstanding pitchers in this organization. It was a close battle there.

GVB – What pleased you most about your season?

KM – Definitely my consistency, that was the big key coming into this year if I was to build off last year and trying to handle my control. That is a major task and coming into this year I was just trying to take it start by start and go out there and do the things I knew how to do and focus on the little things and that's what paid off in the end.

GVB – Pirates manager Clint Hurdle indicated that it wasn't always smooth sailing this year, was that the case?

KM – I remember just like it was yesterday – even though it wasn't that long ago during a meeting when I informed him of some times when I was struggling and how I got through them and it took a lot for me to sit there and admit some faults, but it paid off and we got to see another side of Hurdle that we haven't seen and he was able to be personal with us and able to hear pitchers' thoughts about when we were going through rough times.

GVB – 142 strikeouts – do you think of yourself as a strikeout pitcher?

KM – Strikeouts just happen sometimes, as a pitcher when you are in an advantage count you really try to put the hitter away, but you try to do too much with a pitch and then you don't execute it the way you want to. That sometimes can put you in a hole and I went through that at times this year – trying to do too much with a pitch. But I was also able to settle down and get strikeouts when I needed to.

GVB – Are you happy with your repertoire and the the way you are throwing those pitches?

KM – Curveball came a long way this year and I'm able to locate it ahead or behind in the count and also use it as a put away pitch in my advantage counts. Fastball being able to locate it to both sides of the plate and in the zone with angle that has also been another factor of mine that I've also tried to build off last year coming into this season and it has paid off with enough bullpens and it has finally come around.

GVB – There are always thing to work on, what are some of the things that you are still refining?

KM – I guess for every pitcher it would be health. You are not going to feel great every single time out and it's learning to deal with that. That's still something that I'm going to work on and try to learn how to deal with it even better and focus on getting the body ready for another season. Other than that it is just continue to go out there and throw strikes and try to make my pitches a little bit better.

GVB – Are you happy with your progress through the system and do you allow yourself to have a timetable?

KM – The timetable question always creeps into your mind – are you ever going to be up there? I'd love to see myself having a Major League opportunity next year, I'm going to do the things that I need to do this off-season to prepare myself for that and hopefully I'll stay healthy and make the starts wherever I start out and hopefully it is in Pittsburgh, if not I'll make my starts and control what I can control and let the chips fall where they may.

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