He has adapted well so far this year, giving up just two hits and no earned runs in 6 and 2/3 innings entering play on Saturday. The 23-year old left-hander from the University of Nebraska credits his teammates for helping him with the move.
"It's been kind of tough," Zach Kroenke said of his move to the bullpen. "Having guys on the team who have made the switch has made it easier. It's been difficult not following a routine or knowing when I am going to pitch, so I've had to talk to some of the other guys who have done it like Wordekemper."
Tampa pitching coach Greg Pavlick thinks that Kroenke has the ability to move up the system as long as he becomes more consistent.
"He's got a good fastball, a good slider and a good change. He's just struggled with his command at times," he said. "He definitely has starter stuff, but it takes a special person to be able to make the switch to the bullpen. And he has the right mentality to do it."
Kroenke admitted that his control problems in the past that have held him back.
"Pav has helped me with my windup and we've made some changes to improve my control this year," Kroenke said. "I still throw the change up a little too hard and open up a little when I throw the fastball. But there is always room to improve, if I was perfect I would be in at least double A."
Aside from throwing more strikes and being more consistent, Kroenke thinks developing more poise on the mound will help him work his through the minor leagues.
"I've shown a lot of emotion on the mound and lost my poise at times, so I definitely need to work on that," he said. "Even if my heart is racing I've got to look calm and confident."
Kroenke Making A Smooth Transition
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