Carlos Reyes Eyes Career as Pitching Coach

Carlos Reyes joined the Thunder mid year in the role of a player-coach. Reyes, who went 1-6 going into his final start of the year in the final game of the year, had his ups and downs as he heads into retirement after this season.

Carlos Reyes said that the hardest thing about this year was that the hitters at the Double-A level are good against experienced pitching because they fail to make adjustments. "If I've been working a guy away all day, you think he's got to be looking out there. So I come inside and the guy nails it because he didn't make an adjustment and was looking in there. They're so bad that they're good and it works to their advantage (when they face experienced pitchers.)" Reyes says that with no disrespect to any Double-A hitters.

Reyes said that his best moment over his baseball career was last year when he was able to come back with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and pitch at the Major League level. He came over to the Yankees in the off season and will take a coaching position within the Yankees minor league program next year. Reyes will likely be with the Gulf Coast or Tampa Yankees next year as a pitching coach. Reyes seems to like the Florida State League saying, "The players are open minded. The Florida State League is sort of like limbo land." What Reyes was referring to was the fact that with Rookie Leagues and Low-A clubs, the Florida State League is the middle of the road melding those players that get promoted heading to the upper minors and possibly the Majors with those that don't, constantly mired in the low minors. Reyes said that his goal in coaching is to "make a difference and teach players the way the game should be played."

Thunder pitching coach Gary LaVelle said that when Reyes was sent to Trenton, "I was told that he would be here in a player-coach role and to utilize him as I saw best." LaVelle said that he believes that Reyes has been beneficial in that role this year.

"I think it's always beneficial because it reinforces what you are saying, especially when its from a guy who understands what it is going to take to get there and who has been in the Majors not that long ago," said LaVelle.

Reyes says that the biggest and often toughest aspect of teaching pitchers at this level is the need to game plan. Reyes believes that if you don't game plan as a pitcher once you get to Triple-A, "You'll get killed." This involves teaching the mental aspect of the game as opposed to basic mechanics. The biggest thing affecting a pitcher's success in the Major Leagues in addition to game planning is his ability to be consistent.

"Your talent will get you there, but do you have what it takes to stay there? The toughest thing is not getting to the Major Leagues, its staying there. If you don't do it 7,8, even 9 times out of ten, you won't last." said Reyes.

Another key to pitching according to Reyes is learning how to be patient. Reyes believes you have to keep on pitching and that you can't give up to early. Reyes believes a large part of this is "learning how to get focused." Reyes also doesn't believe that an umpire squeezing a pitcher is a valid excuse for a pitcher's poor performance. According to Reyes, you can't get flustered by the umpire as a pitcher because "ultimately, he controls your destiny for nine innings."

Reyes doesn't believe in second guessing pitches; he believes in second guessing locations. Reyes says that if he's been pounding guys in with fastballs and then wants to throw a slider away that he leaves thigh high over the plate, it wasn't the pitch that was wrong, it was the location of the pitch. "Location is key," according to Reyes.

He predicts that in a few years, he will return to Trenton as a member of the Thunder coaching staff. Reyes says, "I like the area, I like Brad and Rick, so I'll be back here. Give me a few years." Reyes was referring to Brad Taylor and Rick Brenner, the Thunder Assistant General Manager and General Manager, respectively.

Carlos Reyes will be a successful coach by making his pitchers the best they can be by forcing them to respect the game, play it the right way, and offer them the experience that only a Major League pitcher can provide.

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