Pope Setting High Expectations

Ryan Pope has gotten off to a flying start in his first nine outings of professional baseball. But Pope, who dominated NCAA hitters for two years at Savannah College of Art & Design, going 17-12 with a 1.49 ERA and 213 strikeouts in 187 innings, has become accustomed to having high expectations and admits that even he is not completely satisfied with how things have gone.

"I set my expectations really high, and I set really outrageous goals for myself, maybe too high, but it keeps me motivated to keep doing well," Ryan Pope admitted. "So I like where I am right now, but I could do better, I want to do better, and I'm going to try to be better."

Pope features a four-pitch repertoire: a fastball, curveball, slider and changeup — his low-90s fastball setting up the offspeed pitches.

The 21-year-old right-hander, who is 3-0 with a 2.13 ERA with the Staten Island Yankees, said he prefers to throw his curve at the beginning of the game, and slowly incorporate his slider toward the latter parts of the game, when opposing hitters have yet to see it.

Besides the maturity of the hitters, probably the biggest change for Pope since the college ball season has been the Yankee organization's unwillingness to have him pitch deep into his outings.

After completing all 14 of his starts this season at SCAD, Pope has yet to go beyond the six inning mark in his professional career.

Beginning the year at three innings per outing, the 6-foot-3 righty has steadily increased the lengths of his outings, pitching six shutout innings against Lowell August 27, yielding just three hits and striking out eight.

"We're limited by the organization to what we have to do — 85 pitches or six innings, whichever comes first," he said.

But Pope indicated he has not felt limited by the length of his outings.

"It's been a long college year, it's dragged on and on, and I've taken to it. I feel comfortable with [shorter outings]; it's not a big deal if I'm taken out after the six even if I'm going strong," he said. "And whether it's four and two-thirds [innings] and I don't get the decision, if the team's out ahead, then I've done my job."

Pope has been working on maintaining the ball low in the zone and keeping his weight back on the rubber, and he has felt content with the progress he has made in his tenure with the Yankees.

"I'm feeling pretty comfortable here now that I've gotten a couple good starts under my belt. I'm just getting used to the competition, locating my fastball, and other mechanical things that I'm working on, but other than that I feel really comfortable with what I'm doing."

And the third round pick, who has fanned 45 batters in 42.1 innings pitched this summer, said that while his goal is always to have as many punch-outs as innings pitched, he realizes the need to focus on recording outs before getting the strikeout.

"The first thing I'm trying to do is get hitters out — I mean everyone loves strikeouts, and I'm not going to say I don't enjoy striking hitters out, but the only thing I try to do is attack the hitters, and hope they get themselves out."

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\r\n \r\n\r\n\"I set my expectations really high, and I set really outrageous goals for myself, maybe too high, but it keeps me motivated to keep doing well,\" Ryan Pope admitted. \"So I like where I am right now, but I could do better, I want to do better, and I'm going to try to be better.\"
\r\n
\r\nPope features a four-pitch repertoire: a fastball, curveball, slider and changeup — his low-90s fastball setting up the offspeed pitches.
\r\n
\r\nThe 21-year-old right-hander, who is 3-0 with a 2.13 ERA with the Staten Island Yankees, said he prefers to throw his curve at the beginning of the game, and slowly incorporate his slider toward the latter parts of the game, when opposing hitters have yet to see it.
\r\n
\r\nBesides the maturity of the hitters, probably the biggest change for Pope since the college ball season has been the Yankee organization's unwillingness to have him pitch deep into his outings.
\r\n
\r\nAfter completing all 14 of his starts this season at SCAD, Pope has yet to go beyond the six inning mark in his professional career.
\r\n
\r\nBeginning the year at three innings per outing, the 6-foot-3 righty has steadily increased the lengths of his outings, pitching six shutout innings against Lowell August 27, yielding just three hits and striking out eight.
\r\n
\r\n\"We're limited by the organization to what we have to do — 85 pitches or six innings, whichever comes first,\" he said.
\r\n
\r\nBut Pope indicated he has not felt limited by the length of his outings.
\r\n
\r\n\"It's been a long college year, it's dragged on and on, and I've taken to it. I feel comfortable with [shorter outings]; it's not a big deal if I'm taken out after the six even if I'm going strong,\" he said. \"And whether it's four and two-thirds [innings] and I don't get the decision, if the team's out ahead, then I've done my job.\"
\r\n
\r\nPope has been working on maintaining the ball low in the zone and keeping his weight back on the rubber, and he has felt content with the progress he has made in his tenure with the Yankees.
\r\n
\r\n\"I'm feeling pretty comfortable here now that I've gotten a couple good starts under my belt. I'm just getting used to the competition, locating my fastball, and other mechanical things that I'm working on, but other than that I feel really comfortable with what I'm doing.\"
\r\n
\r\nAnd the third round pick, who has fanned 45 batters in 42.1 innings pitched this summer, said that while his goal is always to have as many punch-outs as innings pitched, he realizes the need to focus on recording outs before getting the strikeout.
\r\n
\r\n\"The first thing I'm trying to do is get hitters out — I mean everyone loves strikeouts, and I'm not going to say I don't enjoy striking hitters out, but the only thing I try to do is attack the hitters, and hope they get themselves out.\"
\r\n
\r\n

\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n\r\n
\r\n

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\r\n

\r\n

Become an annual subscriber today!

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