Twins Prospect Interview: Dan Leatherman

In 14 months, Dan Leatherman has gone from relatively unknown, to being one of the top relief pitching prospects in arguably the best pitching system in baseball. On Monday, Leatherman sat down with TwinCitiesDugout.com for a question and answer session, discussing his job as a reliever, his repertoire, is he thinks about starting, and much more.

TwinCitiesDugout.com: How do you prepare to come out of the bullpen?

Dan Leatherman: I usually make sure that my arm is loose and I am mentally focused. I have a little bit of a game plan for when I am about to go into the game.

TwinCitiesDugout:You have come into the game for some great pitchers this season, does that help you as a reliever?

Leatherman:Well, coming in after a pitcher does a good job and has a great outing can be tough sometimes, but easy other times. So it all depends on the team you are playing and how the game is going that particular day.

TwinCitiesDugout:Tell our readers a little bit about your repertoire.

Leatherman: My repertoire is very simple and complex. I make sure that I am focused to go into the game, make sure all of my pitches are working, and make sure that I do everything that same that I do everytime I go in. For example, relievers usually get eight pitches to warm up with so I have a certain regiment that I go by. I also write my wife and sons initials on the back of the mound after the catcher throws the ball to second. You can call it superstition or call it part of a repertoire.

TwinCitiesDugout: What would you consider your outpitch?

Leatherman: Well my outpitch changes game to game. Some days its a curveball, sometimes changeup, and even other times a slider. The slider was just developed compliments of Danny Vais. Lately the slider has been the out pitch though.

TwinCitiesDugout:How difficult is it to be a reliever during the everyday grind of a full-season slate?

Leatherman:When you say full slate, I am guessing you mean a long stretch of games at a time and yes it is difficult sometimes. When your starters are having a rough week or two it can be stressful on the relievers because the starters get five days in between starts whether or not they do well and we sometimes never get breaks. It can most definitely get tiring on your arm.

TwinCitiesDugout: Do you ever think about starting?

Leatherman: Sometimes I think about starting, but I like the position I have now. I would be happy if I got to start one time in pro ball. I have been starting all my life and to get a start in pro ball would be something I have always wanted to do.

TwinCitiesDugout:You are a top pitching prospect in arguably the deepest pitching farm system in baseball. Do you feel pressure because of that?

Leatherman: Yes, sometimes there is pressure because I know that there are a lot of very good pitchers in our organization and they have been here longer and are going to get chances before me. I am just happy about where I am at and hope that whatever team I am on I can help them out the best way I know how.

TwinCitiesDugout: Who has helped you the most in your development?

Leatherman: That's a tough question because all of the coaches I've had in pro ball have helped me develop in different ways. So far two names that ring in my head are Steve Mintz and Rick Knapp. They both are very knowledgeable about the game. Knapp is the pitching coordinator and knows a lot about the game and can pick out what is wrong with mechanics and Mintzy was a big league pitcher for three years. He has a lot of experience and knows what it takes to get to the big leagues.

TwinCitiesDugout: Do you feel you could succeed in the Florida State League right now?

Leatherman: I believe that I could succeed at many levels but I guess we'll have to see when I get there. I am a very confident person and can't wait until I can get there and start working towards New Britain. My dad always told me that a baseball player's career is a set of about one hundred stairs in which every level you move up is a few stairs. So basically right now I am on stair sixty five and still have a long way to go.

TwinCitiesDugout: What kind of rush do you get coming in with the game on the line?

Leatherman: Those are the best games to come into. The crowd is fired up whether you are playing at home or away. The best feeling in the world is playing at our home field and striking the last batter out looking to end the game. I am a gamer and I have always been that way. I may joke around in the bullpen and have a good time, but when its time to go into the game I am serious and ready to get a job done.

Here at TwinCitiesDugout.com, we know how busy a baseball player's year can be. We would like to thank Dan Leatherman for sitting down with us, and would like to wish him the best of luck the rest of the way this season.


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