50. RP T.J. Chism –
Chism was the 32nd round pick by the Mets in the 2009 draft.
Chism started slowly in 2009, first with 17 relief appearances with K-Port (1-1, 5.12, 20-K, 19.1-IP) and 2 appearances with Brooklyn (0-0, 0.00).
In 2010, Chism wasted no time in becoming the top relief pitcher for Kingsport, with electric stats of: 18-G, 4-0, 0.45, 20.0-IP, 1-ER, 17-K.
Mack: Morning everybody. We're talking this morning to Thomas Joshua... but you can call him T.J. ... Chism, who absolutely aced K-Port this past season. Hey T.J., are you back home? .
Nov 2010 Interview: -
TJ: Hey, Mack, I am not home but I got a little closer Aug. 17th when I was sent to Brooklyn so I'm only a couple hours from home now.
Mack: You're right... my bad. So, you get drafted by the Mets in the 2009 draft. Tell us all what that magical day must have been for you. .
TJ: - I have to say it was one of those days I will certainly never forget. Being from Philadelphia and going to school there, I caught a lot of grief from family and friends, but everyone was really happy and excited for me. A lot of people were following the draft and I received over 200 text messages and 30 calls within 5 minutes of hearing my name called. It didn’t matter to me who it was, I was just looking forward to the opportunity of getting to further my baseball career, something I’ve been dreaming of ever since I first picked up a baseball.
Mack: - Things seemed to start a little slow for you last year, but everything took off this season. You wound up pitching in 18 games for Kingsport and gave up one single earned run. Was there anything different that helped create this kind of all-star return?
TJ: - Well, last year was a season with a lot of ups and down and as a reliever it’s tough to keep the ERA low with those types of outings. I was getting hit hard and walking a lot of guys in spring training this year and had to do something different. I was having a catch with my Kingsport Pitching Coach, Jonathon Hurst, midway through extended and I dropped my arm slot a little bit. The ball was jumping out of my hand and he said, wow are you doing that on purpose? I said well, yeah, kind of. The next day we got the change approved by our pitching coordinator and I stayed with that low 3/4 arm slot and things sort of took off. I finished up extended with a lot of confidence and took it right into Kingsport with me. The change up and curveball both got better and I started throwing a lot more strikes. I've always been that effectively wild thrower even in high school but as funny as this may sound since dropping my arm slot a little, I've become a pitcher. I’m able to throw the ball where I want it more consistently and I’m getting good movement on all my pitches. .
Mack: - Very interesting. Hurst is a great guy! So, you're ending the season pitching for Brooklyn and playing in your first professional playoff in the number one city in the world. I'd say that was a good year. How that feel, and what is are your plans for the winter?
TJ: - It's pretty awesome getting a chance to come here and feel as though your part of a winning team and trying to bring an outright championship to the city of Brooklyn, these fans deserve it. As for the winter I hope to spend lots of time with family and friends, get more bullpens from this arm slot, get in the best possible shape for spring training 2011, and break through that Top 100 Keepers list! ha-ha .
Mack: - That's funny... btw, right now you're at #109, just ahead of Domingo Tabia, Wes Wrenn, and Josh Egdin. Thanks for the time and enjoy your time in Brooklyn. I have a funny feeling I'll be seeing you come April 2011 at the Savannah Sand Gnats pre-season press luncheon.
2011 Forecast: - This is the great part about doing interviews. I went into this one wondering what this kid was doing different this year and it turns out he was. As one coach at the GCL level said to his team, "you've been playing baseball all your life, now you're going to be taught how to play the game." Chism is a lock for Brooklyn next spring, but I've got him in Savannah, especially if he pitches well in the Cyclone playoff. We might have one here. Remember the name.
8-28-11: - #45 – RP T.J. Chism – TJ has been taking baby steps since coming out of LaSalle University in 2009. He explained to me last season that a chance in delivery turned things around that are still going well this season in Brooklyn: 3-0, 1.27, 25-G, 4-SV. We joked then about him being #109 on the Keepers list and his desire to crack the top 100. He doesn’t have to worry about that anymore. Chism will start the season as a 23-yr. old, so there’s no reason to come to Savannah. I have him playing Lucy come the spring of 2011 – ETA: 2015 pen.