PD – A pretty solid season after scuffling your first two season in the Pirates' system. What led to the big turn around?
AS – I never had anybody tell me how to throw the change up before. I never really needed it in high school or college. So that was my big project last year. It was a big thing in high-A last year. It's probably one of the reasons that I struggled so much early last season. The success is from being consistent with the fastball down with a good plane on it. I have been throwing my other pitches, my change up and my slider for strikes. It is being overall consistent with those things.
PD – Despite a rough season at High A Bradenton in 2013, you started the season at Double A Altoona, did that surprise you?
AS – It's kind of high-risk, high-reward kind of deal. You get put in these tough situations because they think you are mature enough and they think you will do well. Everyone thinks you can do well and be successful. But the bad part is that if you don't succeed, you're seen as the guy that failed at the level.
PD – You are comfortable pitching inside, that is a big point of emphasis in this organization isn't it?
AS – Pitching inside is big in the whole organization, and it’s big for myself as well. When I don’t do well, I don’t pitch inside enough. I have no problem getting inside to righties. Lefties are what I have been working on this year, getting in on them.
PD – You mentioned you were striving for consistency with your approach on the mound, how have you progressed in that area?
AS – I start with fastballs away to make sure that I am on time, getting the ball down and away. I can get the ball inside to righties easy, it is just the natural arm path that I have. I try to locate down enough and work on the change up on both sides of the plate. I try to get the curveball down and for strikes. I try to get comfortable with every pitch.
PD – You have progressed through the organization quickly. Are you happy with the way you have been brought along?
AS – They've had so many young guys and pitchers come out of this organization, and the big thing is that they are not very result-oriented about everything. Wins and losses, ERA, don't matter that much. They look at your pitches, your composure, all the little things that can build you to be a big-league pitcher.
PD – Four starts at Triple A with mixed results. Looking ahead are you excited about getting more work at Triple A next season and moving up the ladder?
AS – I was just fine tuning what I did in Altoona and bringing it here to get more comfortable for next year.