TigsTown Q&A: Adam Wilk

Adam Wilk has been just one of the many Mud Hens who have made the drive up I-75 to Detroit this season for some big league action with the Tigers. He pitched in five games out of the bullpen in Detroit, but has spent the rest of his professional career as a starter. This season, he has six wins and a 3.14 ERA in 14 starts with the Mud Hens.

TigsTown: To start, just talk a little bit about your time at Long Beach State and how that helped prepare you for professional baseball.

Adam Wilk: At Long Beach we have a very tough system that we go through, our coach Troy Buckley has had experience with professional baseball, he was the minor league pitching coordinator for the Pittsburgh Pirates a couple of years ago. They have a long lineage of arms who have come out of there and had success in the majors, so everybody that goes there learns a certain way, a very tough way. One thing the put the pitchers through is failure, they makes us experience a lot of failure so that if we experience it during the season we're ready for it and know how to handle it. One of our biggest points was how are you going to react to that failure, not just in your next start, but the next day, you always have time to get better.

TigsTown: What did it mean to you to get drafted by the Tigers?

AW: It was pretty cool, they were one of the teams who talked to me a lot my junior year about potentially drafting me. Ironically enough, most of my family is from Detroit so they thought it was cool. My grandpa thought it was cool that is grandson is now a Tiger. They're a great organization, great on player development and it's a good organization to begin your career in.

TigsTown: You've had a lot of success at every minor league level you've pitched at, what has been the biggest reason for that?

AW: I try and keep the same work ethic every day, and every fifth day when I pitch I try to compete my best and give my team a chance to win. So far it's worked out for me pretty well, and I think it just comes down to a lot of preparation in between starts, what I do at home to get myself ready for each start every five days.

TigsTown: What was it like for you to make your major league debut this season?

AW: It was pretty cool; I got the phone call to tell me, and at the age of 23 it was pretty shocking, but really awesome. I was a little nervous out there but after the first couple of pitches I calmed down a lot. I had quite a bit of fun out there and it was a pretty good team we were facing in the Red Sox.

TigsTown: Was it difficult for you to make the transition coming out of the ‘pen as opposed to starting?

AW: It wasn't as difficult as some might think because I was a reliever my first two years at Long Beach. So I had so experience with it, but it was a transition back to it because in professional baseball I had just been a starter. It was a quick transition, especially in my first game, because they just told me to get going and I have to get ready as quick as possible to be ready to go in the game.

TigsTown: With the season winding down in Toledo, is it tough for you to not look ahead at a potential September call-up?

AW: I don't really look at that because if you start looking ahead some like that, you start getting that in the back of your mind and don't perform as well as your ability is. Sometimes it just throws you off, and I'm not the GM so I can't make that decision, so I try and prepare myself and if a get the call-up, awesome. If not I begin my offseason; it obviously would be great to get a call-up and help the team compete and get to the playoffs, but ultimately I have to let them decide that.

TigsTown: Looking forward to the rest of the season at Toledo, what are some of your goals, not just for you, but for the team as well?

AW: Personally, I'd like to finish strong. I had that lull in the middle of the season where I was relieving for the Tigers and starting here, so it was a transition back and forth and there were some struggles in there. For the team, if we can sneak up a spot or two in our division, I think that would be a good goal for this team considering that at one point we were 18-games under .500, and for us to maybe finish over .500 would be a really quality effort.

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