TigsTown Q&A: Lakeland closer Kevin Whelan

Kevin Whelan was drafted by the Detroit Tigers out of Texas A&M University in the 4th round. Whelan has been a dominant closer this season with 27 saves and a 2.67 ERA. Whelan has a 4-1 record while allowing only one homerun in over 50 innings pitched.

TigsTown: Do you feel you were passed over in the draft?

Kevin Whelan: "You never know about the draft, anything can happen. Things happen but I was just excited to be drafted."

TT: Were you happy when the Tigers picked you?

KW: "I was very excited about joining the Tigers organization. I enjoy the guys that I play with and it's a great organization to be with."

TT: Have you always been a closer?

KW: No, actually itis a weird situation. I went to school as a catcher and caught my first years at school. I didn't start pitching until my junior year. The first time I was a fuul time pitcher was in the Cape Cod league in the summer before my junior year."

TT: Being a former catcher, has that helped you in how you attack hitters?

KW: "I think mentally it does, as a catcher I tried to go right after people and I do the same thing now. I trust my stuff and go after them. Overall I think it has helped."

TT: What is your mindset when you go into a save situation?

KW: "I don't try to think too much. I try to warm up my arm and once I'm loose I don't care who I'm facing. I'm just gonna go in there and do what I do. If I go out there and they hit my best stuff, that's fine for one night, but I know I'm going right back out there the next night. You gotta forget what happened the night before and try to dominate that night. I think being a catcher has helped me be mentally strong."

TT: So your mentality is to focus on the game at hand and not woryy about anything else?

KW: "You have to think you have the best stuff and that I'm gonna get these guys out. That is how I think and how I go about things. I'm not gonna back down from anyone."

TT: You have been among the leaders in saves all season, is that something you keep track of?

KW: "Of course I want to be considered the best closer in the league but it's more about the team. If you start worrying about stats you can hurt the team. I try to focus on the win, and if we win then the saves will come."

TT: What is your day-to-day routine to prepare for each game?

KW: "I try to tell myself everyday that I am pitching the 9th inning. It keeps me on my toes. I try to stay focused the whole game because you never know what could happen. If you're not ready to go that's when bad things can happen. I just go out everyday and get ready to pitch that day.

TT: Do you think you'll be back in Lakeland next year?

KW: "It's honestly not my decision. I hope they think that I can get the job done and that I am ready to move up, but if they put me back here I will do my best because I have enjoyed my time here. My goal is to move up but ultimately the decision is out of my hands."

TT: Have you heard about any possible promotion?

KW: "Well, there's so much that can happen in the offseason, I mean you could get traded or guys above you could get traded and you could make a big jump. You never know what could happen but I just need to go work on some stuff in the offseason and get ready to go wherever I start out next season."

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