2012 MLB Draft Q & A: Ty Buttrey

Right-handed pitcher Ty Buttrey of Providence H.S. in Charlotte, North Carolina has been generating a lot of buzz lately among scouts and Frankie Piliere recently said he may be one of the Top-5 prep arms in the draft. Inside Buttrey discusses his repertoire of pitches, his rigorous workout routine, his commitment to Arkansas and why he is not afraid to pitch from behind in the count.

Rays Digest: What types of pitches do you throw? How should a scouting report on you read?

Ty Buttrey: Early on in the spring I was 95-96 and I've settled in between 90-94 now. I throw a knuckle-curveball and it's probably my second-best pitch behind my fastball. I can get that first strike whenever I want it, throw it for an out and bury it in the dirt to get hitters to chase it; it has a good depth on it. I have a changeup that I throw to top of the line hitters in our conference, but I don't really worry about the other ones [lesser hitters in conference] and I'll just kind of throw fastballs and curveballs but for some of the top hitters, I'll work in the change-up to get them off balance. I usually revert to my two- seam fastball when I'm leaving the ball up and not getting too much movement on it and it's hanging up in the zone, so I'll work in the two-seam to get some more movement. I have late sink on my fastball, sometimes it flattens out but for the most part I have a good downward plane from being 6-foot-6 and I can get on top of the ball pretty good.

Rays Digest: What is your approach on the mound and how do you go about attacking hitters?

Ty Buttrey: My approach has always been to get ahead early with the fastball. I couldn't say I could do that last year very well because I found myself getting behind in counts a lot. This year, I've thrown 10 outings and there's been a good amount of times where I could've had a first pitch strike. I'll usually go first pitch strike and then try to get ahead again and if it is 1-1, I'll try to throw a curveball. I don't mind pitching behind in counts; it doesn't make me uncomfortable at all. I actually feel like I bear down more because I know if I'm going to throw an off-speed pitch behind in the count, I know I have to get it over for a strike. My approach is just to go out there and attack hitters and challenge them with my fastball and I'm pretty confident that they're not going to get a hit off my curveball just because of the depth I have on it and there's a 17 mph difference of velocity. I'm also just calm on the mound and I never really get flustered or anything. I've always been good at staying poised.

Rays Digest: What is your in-season and offseason workout routine like?

Ty Buttrey: During the offseason it's a lot of leg work, a lot of upper body stuff, shoulder work and band work. I stay away from the dumbbells, curls and try to stay lean. I don't want to bulk up because then you get kind of tight when you're pitching. It helps being tall and lanky because I'm able to get that whip on my fastball. I've always done a lot of running and sprints but the big thing that I've started to do a lot more is the bike. That's what my in-season workouts consist of now. I'll get done with an outing and I'll go home and ride the bike for probably five or six miles just to get my legs tired and get the lactic acids out. The most important thing is biking and running to get all of that stuff out of your system and be fresh for your next start. I usually don't do shoulder work and band work until the next day just because my arm is kind of loose and still sore from all the pitching. I'll wait to the next day and just do three sets of 15 repetitions of band work, getting different ranges of motion going and I'll take five-pound dumbbells. I actually got some drills from Nolan Ryan and his "Pitcher's Bible," and I've just been doing stuff from him and he's a big advocate for riding the bike all the time. I look up to him a lot. He was pitching until he was about 46-years-old so obviously he did something right to be able to do that.

Rays Digest: Who have been your biggest influences for you both as a player and a person?

Ty Buttrey: My biggest influence would definitely be my dad. He actually played rookie ball and independent ball for the Phillies in 1979 for a year. He's a great mentor to me and he wants to do what is best for me. He's not trying to live his life through me, which I think a lot of dads try to get in that mindset. He's pushed me pretty hard and he gets mad when I don't put the work into it. For players, I really look up to Nolan Ryan and Justin Verlander.

Rays Digest: Have you ever modeled your windup or your demeanor on the mound after one of your role models?

Ty Buttrey: No, honestly I didn't. I never really watched a lot of baseball when I was younger. I just always went out there and played. Just what ever my dad told me at a young age, I just stuck with that and made some adjustments. But I never really tried to model it after anybody because I feel like it's best to be original. Whatever works for me is what I want to keep doing.

Rays Digest: What will your decision-making process be after the draft in terms of deciding whether or not to sign with a team or go to school?

Ty Buttrey: I really don't know. It's kind of 50/50 either way. I really want to go to Arkansas and those coaches down there are all great guys and are all down to earth. I can really see myself being there and playing in the SEC, the best competition in the country and have 9,000 fans at every game. That's pretty hard to pass up. The whole pro situation is something that I'm not trying to think about too much right now but come June 4, if I get my name called in those top couple of rounds I would just have to sit down and talk to my family and be mature enough to realize that I'm going to be playing with 21-year-olds and 25-year-old guys and not kids. Money is a short term motivator but obviously it's important especially when you are getting millions of dollars thrown your way. I would have to realize that's going to be my profession and I have to be mature enough and treat it like my job. If it came down to it on June 4 and my name gets called in the first round, it would just be a big decision that I'd have to think about. I'm not set on either but I'm really loyal to the coaches at Arkansas, so who knows.

Rays Digest: What kinds of things are you and your family looking for from an organization?

Ty Buttrey: Like I said, money is a short term motivator and I have to feel comfortable with the club. I would just want to be treated the same as everyone else. It doesn't matter what team I get drafted to, but I'd prefer a professional organization that develops their pitching and has a good farm system. One of the teams that are really good at developing young pitchers is the Rays. They are kind of known for that.

Rays Digest: When you aren't playing baseball or in school, what kinds of things do you like to do? What are your hobbies?

Ty Buttrey: I love going to see movies, I'm not a party kid and I don't really get caught up in the whole party situation in my senior year. I don't really like being around all of that stuff. It's not that I'm an anti-social kid but on a Friday night while everyone else is at a party I'll be completely happy being at home, watching a movie and being with my family and a couple of my close buddies playing Xbox 360. A lot of these kids don't have baseball 24/7, so honestly I'd just so much rather enjoy relaxing.



Will Sammon is the Montgomery Biscuits beat writer for Rays Digest. You can follow him on Twitter at @WillSammon.

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