Whelan Feeling Like His Old Self In Arizona

Kevin Whelan joined the Yankees before the 2007 season and has spent most of his time working through changes to his mechanics and spending time as a starting pitcher, but after battling through an injury plagued season, Whelan has decided to go back to what worked best for him in the past and the Arizona Fall League is just the first step in getting back his natural abilities.

For some players, mechanical changes can improve command, increase velocity, or even prevent future injuries, but after two years of adjustments, Whelan is just happy to let his natural abilities take over again.

"I think the biggest thing now is that I've just quit worrying about mechanics," revealed Whelan.

"I've been throwing my whole life and that's something to me now that I've decided that, for me now, I've gotta just do what's natural for me and I think that's one of the reasons that my arm is finally starting to feel better.

"I'm just trying to get back to my natural arm slot and the way I've been throwing my whole life and I think that's probably the biggest thing."

Whelan was a catcher for much of his amateur career and some of those mechanics may have carried over to the mound. Most catchers work on reducing there pop times on their throws so Whelan has a natural tendency to be very quick to the plate.

His delivery might not work for other pitchers but it's something that Whelan has become very comfortable with.

"It's tough when you change the way you've thrown," he continued. "I don't know if that had something to do with my injury or not, but obviously there's certain things that work for certain people.

"I've taken some things that I think have helped me." He went on to finish his self-assessment by adding "this is the way I throw and this is who I am, and I can just stay with that".

Now that Whelan is feeling like his old self again and has a few official innings under his belt in the Arizona Fall League, he's already starting to see some of the results.

"It's finally starting to feel good again and I can feel the ball coming out a little better," said Whelan.

When asked if he feels like pitching is coming naturally to him again, he responded with a smile.

"Actually, this is probably the first time I've felt like myself in probably a year," he revealed. "I threw rehab most of this season. I went up to Trenton and I still didn't feel good and it still bothered me a little bit towards the end, but right now I feel no pain and I'm finally feeling like myself.

"I had never been on the DL so I wanted to get back, but I wanted to get back feeling no pain. I think it was just a matter of me getting back to feeling like myself on the mound and mentally I think you've just gotta fight through it."

So now that Whelan can put all those changes behind him, he can start focusing more on his pitches and their effectiveness.

He started throwing more sliders when he's behind in the count, something with movement that can offset the fastball but also something that he can drop over the plate for a called strike when the time is right.

"Actually, it's [slider] gotten a lot better out here [in the AFL]". I'm starting to throw it now and throw it for strikes, and so it's becoming a good pitch for me.

"Yeah, I think it is" replied Whelan when asked if the slider is more effective against right-handed hitters. "My split's my out pitch but I'm starting to throw my slider if it's a 2-1 count or if I'm behind in the count – or early in the count 0-0 or 0-1 and I can throw my slider to righties and I can throw my split later."

Whelan has been known for his strikeout ability for many years now, but he doesn't make it his priority when the batter first steps into the box.

"I think the biggest thing, especially out here [in the AFL], is just attacking the zone. I think if I attack the zone and get ahead of hitters, then I can go to my split, which is my strikeout pitch, but I think the biggest thing is throwing strikes," said Whelan.

"During the season this year, I didn't do it [attacking the strike zone] as much as I wanted but it's also that I didn't feel like myself because my arm was still bothering me, and now that it's feeling good, my biggest thing is to attack hitters and if I get in a situation to strike them out, then I'm gonna go for it."

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\r\n \r\n\r\nFor some players, mechanical changes can improve command, increase velocity, or even prevent future injuries, but after two years of adjustments, Whelan is just happy to let his natural abilities take over again.
\r\n
\r\n\"I think the biggest thing now is that I've just quit worrying about mechanics,\" revealed Whelan.
\r\n
\r\n\"I've been throwing my whole life and that's something to me now that I've decided that, for me now, I've gotta just do what's natural for me and I think that's one of the reasons that my arm is finally starting to feel better.
\r\n
\r\n\"I'm just trying to get back to my natural arm slot and the way I've been throwing my whole life and I think that's probably the biggest thing.\"
\r\n
\r\nWhelan was a catcher for much of his amateur career and some of those mechanics may have carried over to the mound. Most catchers work on reducing there pop times on their throws so Whelan has a natural tendency to be very quick to the plate.
\r\n
\r\nHis delivery might not work for other pitchers but it's something that Whelan has become very comfortable with.
\r\n
\r\n\"It's tough when you change the way you've thrown,\" he continued. \"I don't know if that had something to do with my injury or not, but obviously there's certain things that work for certain people.
\r\n
\r\n\"I've taken some things that I think have helped me.\" He went on to finish his self-assessment by adding \"this is the way I throw and this is who I am, and I can just stay with that\".
\r\n
\r\nNow that Whelan is feeling like his old self again and has a few official innings under his belt in the Arizona Fall League, he's already starting to see some of the results.
\r\n
\r\n\"It's finally starting to feel good again and I can feel the ball coming out a little better,\" said Whelan.
\r\n
\r\nWhen asked if he feels like pitching is coming naturally to him again, he responded with a smile.
\r\n
\r\n\"Actually, this is probably the first time I've felt like myself in probably a year,\" he revealed. \"I threw rehab most of this season. I went up to Trenton and I still didn't feel good and it still bothered me a little bit towards the end, but right now I feel no pain and I'm finally feeling like myself.
\r\n
\r\n\"I had never been on the DL so I wanted to get back, but I wanted to get back feeling no pain. I think it was just a matter of me getting back to feeling like myself on the mound and mentally I think you've just gotta fight through it.\"
\r\n
\r\nSo now that Whelan can put all those changes behind him, he can start focusing more on his pitches and their effectiveness.
\r\n
\r\nHe started throwing more sliders when he's behind in the count, something with movement that can offset the fastball but also something that he can drop over the plate for a called strike when the time is right.
\r\n
\r\n\"Actually, it's [slider] gotten a lot better out here [in the AFL]\". I'm starting to throw it now and throw it for strikes, and so it's becoming a good pitch for me.
\r\n
\r\n\"Yeah, I think it is\" replied Whelan when asked if the slider is more effective against right-handed hitters. \"My split's my out pitch but I'm starting to throw my slider if it's a 2-1 count or if I'm behind in the count – or early in the count 0-0 or 0-1 and I can throw my slider to righties and I can throw my split later.\"
\r\n
\r\nWhelan has been known for his strikeout ability for many years now, but he doesn't make it his priority when the batter first steps into the box.
\r\n
\r\n\"I think the biggest thing, especially out here [in the AFL], is just attacking the zone. I think if I attack the zone and get ahead of hitters, then I can go to my split, which is my strikeout pitch, but I think the biggest thing is throwing strikes,\" said Whelan.
\r\n
\r\n\"During the season this year, I didn't do it [attacking the strike zone] as much as I wanted but it's also that I didn't feel like myself because my arm was still bothering me, and now that it's feeling good, my biggest thing is to attack hitters and if I get in a situation to strike them out, then I'm gonna go for it.\"
\r\n
\r\n

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

Are you a monthly or 3-month subscriber to PinstripesPlus.com? Why not get two months free AND get 4 issues of our PinstripesPlus Magazine included by becoming an annual subscriber? Upgrade today to get the most out of your subscription.

\r\n

\r\n

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