RC Interview with Rowdy Hardy

Perhaps no prospect in the Royals system has generated more debate among fans than Rowdy Hardy. Most scouts seem to dismiss the soft-tossing lefty, even as he continues to put up staggering numbers in the Carolina League. Earlier this week, we caught up with Hardy to discuss his season, his All-Star start, and to find out how he responds to those who predict he'll fail at higher levels.

Royals Corner: Rowdy, you had another good start [Saturday night]. Could you talk a little bit about that game?

Rowdy Hardy: I came in after the break and wanted to get off on a good foot for the second half, and we played it close. The guy who threw against us did a phenomenal job, and we took advantage of his one mistake and pulled it out, 1-0.

RC: You got the start in the All-Star game. Can you talk a little bit about that experience?

RH: It was great getting to go out there to California on my first trip, and going out there and seeing the type of talent those guys have, and being able to play a game where it's just nice and relaxed, easy and fun. Everyone just wants to go out there, have a little fun, and put up a good showing. And being able to start in it, it's phenomenal. It was nice for me to be able to go out there and get that kind of respect with the season I've had, and be able to take the ball for the first pitch.

Hardy got the start in the Carolina-California League All-Star game earlier this month

RC: Last season you were the Idaho Falls Pitcher of the Year, and this year, you're off to a phenomenal start. Has your success been surprising to you at all thus far, and how do you feel your season's going?

RH: Well, I don't think the success has been surprising. Coming in, the way they teach to throw ahead, get ahead, stay ahead, stay down, I've done that my whole life. And to come in, not knowing what to expect in pro ball or High-A, and being able to have the level of success I've had…I mean, it's a little bit surprising because of the way I throw, but I've enjoyed it and I want to keep it rolling.

RC: What pitches do you throw?

RH: I just throw a fastball, changeup, and curveball. I try to mix it up, change speeds, keep the ball low, and try to give hitters what they're not looking for at times, and it's been working out for me.

RC: What's your general pitching strategy when you're out there? How do you attack hitters?

RH: I work off my fastball primarily. Depending of which type of hitter or the situation, I might change it. But pretty much I just go at guys and try to mix pitches and try to let them get themselves out and let my defense work for me.

Hardy leads the Carolina League in victories and ERA, and he has issued just eight walks in 95.1 innings pitched

RC: Now, your velocity isn't all that hard. How would you respond to people who say you might have some difficulty at higher levels?

RH: Until you get there, you'll never really know. There are guys that throw like me that are successful -- you know, Glavine, Moyer, those type of guys -- who have done it for years in and years out. You don't necessarily have to have a 95 mph fastball to succeed, because some of the guys that do have those fastballs never make it out of High-A or Double-A. You've got to have a little bit more to pitching makeup and have a little bit more knowledge in how you throw it. My velocity does hurt me a little bit, but not as much as some people think.

RC: Is it true that you threw a little harder in college?

RH: I did. Coming in, you have aluminum bats and stuff, you have to throw it a little harder and hump up on a couple more balls. But here, pitching to wood bats, it a little bit easier to get in on guys. They don't hit it as well as often. You can get away with hanging a few pitches, so ever since my first start in Idaho Falls, I've realized that I don't have to throw it as hard as I did in college to produce.

Last year for the Chukars, Hardy was 5-3 with a 2.80 ERA while walking just five batters in 80.1 innings pitched

RC: Have the Royals given you any idea if a promotion to Double-A is coming up anytime soon?

RH: No, they don't tell you until the day before or the day of. So I don't really try to think about that. Wherever I am, I just try to go out there and do the best for my team and win some ballgames and let all that stuff fall where it may.

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