9/16/10

METS Q&A - SP - Collin McHugh

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Mack:


Morning everybody. Today we're talking with one of the top young pitchers in the Mets chain, Atlanta, Georgia's own Collin McHugh. Hey Collin, how are you?


McHugh:


I'm doing really well, Mack. Thanks.


Mack:


I see you went to college on the most beautiful campus in the south, Berry College. What a beautiful place. .


McHugh:


In the south!!?? I'm not too well traveled but, in my opinion, Berry has to be one of the most beautiful campuses (and biggest) in the world. It was a blessing to spend three years on campus there. Going back to play Rome this year as a member of the Gnats was a cool experience. I'll always have a soft place in my heart for the Berry College, and I am still really close to the coaches over there. It was an NAIA school when I was there but don't let that fool you, some really good players have come out of NAIA (among those myself and Brandon Moore from 2008 draft). All that to say, yeah, Berry's a nice place.


Mack:


Collin, you were an 18th rounder in 2008... tell us about that great day when your name went across the draft ticker... .


 McHugh:


I had been watching/listening to the draft for two straight days. I was tired of hearing name after name being called...none of which were mine. So I finally just started watching a braves game on TV with my parents and grandma. My dad was sneaking looks at the computer when all of a sudden he motioned me over to look at my name next to the Mets logo...while watching a braves game. Poetic irony. Anyway, I was obviously excited and eager to take my game to the next level. Not to say it wasn't a tough decision to leave Berry for my senior season (which they ended up going to the world series) but my family and I felt it was the right time to take advantage of the opportunity to play pro ball. Every young ballplayer's dream, at least mine.


Mack:


A kid from Atlanta, drafted by the Mets, watching a Braves game... we'll leave that for now... :)


You had a decent year in 2008 with Kingsport, right after school ball. What was that like going to a schedule which basically was a game every day of the week? .


McHugh:


I actually loved playing everyday. It was a change from college where everything led up to one series every weekend. The hardest thing for me was getting used to pitching every five days instead of every seven. It took some time for me to set up a new routine and become comfortable with it, but towards the end of the year I felt like I had begun to put things together in a good way. Kingsport was a good place to start in pro ball. It gave me the opportunity to develop as a pitcher before entering Brooklyn and the NYPL. Where as we all know, you're there to win...


Mack:


Well, whatever you did in Kingsport sure paid off in Brooklyn. You had once of the finest seasons anyone has had for the Clones (14-starts, 8-2, 2.76, 79-K, 76.0-IP). What was it like pitching in Coney Island?


 McHugh:


New York is my kinda town. I love the big city, big park, loads of fans. The boardwalk and amusement park set the scene for some of the most competitive minor league baseball in the country. We had some really good starting pitching up there which I think fueled all of us to have seasons that exceeded expectations. Not to mention all of us are good friends and we each want to outdo the other every time out. I was a fun experience in Brooklyn partly because of the setting, but mostly because of the good baseball we played.


Mack:


You moved on to the "tundra", Savannah,  this year and pitched very well, especially through stretched where it didn't seem you had much run support. I know that kind of stuff is just luck of the draw, but it has to be easier if you have a five run lead every game, right?
Also, How'd you like those wind sprints every day on 105 degree heat index? .


McHugh:


I am convinced that Savannah is the hottest place on the planet in the summer. Hands down. But you do what you have to in order to prepare yourself to pitch every five days. You just drink lots of water. 


Baseball is a funny game. It seemed like when i threw well this year I got very little run support but when I threw terrible I got five or six. It's just the way the game works sometimes. Overall, though, I was very pleased with the progress I made this year. I think I was able to prove that I could dominate a SALLY lineup more than a couple times through, even if I had a couple stumbles along the way. I just continued to learn about the way I pitch and what makes my stuff work best. As the year progressed I threw a lot more early strikes and developed my cutter as a solid fourth pitch, which I used to keep teams off my fastball/curve combo.


Savannah's a nice city to live in. My wife found a job down there and we really enjoyed finding our favorite places throughout the historic town. Definitely gonna come back to visit sometime. Hopefully not next season though! Ha ha


Mack:


Oh, we've seen the last of you as a ballplayer, Collin.


Lastly, it's one thing that guys like you get all the glory from playing for the Mets... now, you decide to have your own blog and compete with us paper-nerds out there.


Time for a shameless plug about your blog, Collin. .


McHugh:


 www.adayolderadaywiser.blogspot.com  - Ha, thanks, Mack. Well honestly I've always been interested in journalism/writing, even back into high school and college. When I began my blog it was mostly just an outlet for some creative writing. I figured being a minor league ballplayer and a newly married husband would give me all the material I could ask for...and perhaps some funny stories too. Anyway, as this season progressed I enjoyed being able to chronicle things from an inside perspective, and give some commentary on stuff that most people don't ever see.


Let's get one thing straight, though. I am an AMATEUR writer. While you guys give us the info we need and crave, my blog is a novelty. But I hope you all enjoy it nonetheles!


Mack:


Thanks for the time spent, Collin, and I'll see you in March on the back fields... .



Old stuff on Collin:


57. Collin McHugh – SP


From his school web site on signing day: Berry pitcher Collin McHugh signed a professional contract with the New York Mets Sunday at Berry's Steven J. Cage Athletics & Recreation Center. Having signed the contract, McHugh will report to the Mets' mini-camp in St. Lucie, Fla. on Tuesday.


"Ever since I was a kid it has been my dream to play professional baseball," said McHugh. "I am very excited to get the opportunity to play baseball at the next level, especially with a top-notch organization like the Mets." McHugh, who finished his junior season as the Berry and Southern States Athletic Conference's leader in strikeouts per-nine innings (9.05), will not return for his senior season at Berry in order to pursue his professional career. He finishes his time as a Viking with a 13-9 record and five saves. He finishes with a total of 167 strikeouts compared to just 66 walks.


The Mets drafted McHugh in the 18th round of the 2008 draft. 2008 stats as SP for Berry (a favorite drafting school for the Mets): 4.67 ERA 61.2 IP 67 H 20 BB 62 K 15 HBP


In 2008, McHugh pitched for Kingsport (0-0, 4.17, in 12 games, 8 starts).


MuHugh played 2009 for the Brooklyn Cyclones and had an outstanding year: 8-2, 2.76. 79K in 75.0 innings pitched.


1-1-10 Forecast: - McHugh is one of those under-the-radar kind of pitchers that just creeped up this year with great stats. Normally, some of these kids go straight to Lucy the next year, but the “Savannah Four” should prevent that from happening this time. Look for McHugh to join most of his Clone buddies in Savannah come March.


7-16-10 from: - http://www.amazinavenue.com/2010/7/16/1572497/mets-farm-system-mid-term-review  - McHugh, drafted out of Berry College in 2008, is really in a similar situation to Fuller. He's pitching well but really not well enough to stand out in the Mets' class of pitchers at Savannah this season. Unlike Fuller, however, I'm a little more optimistic about McHugh's chances to stick in the rotation. The strikeout and walk numbers are similar, but he also brings a strong ground ball rate, giving him an extra dimension as a pitcher. But it's still an uphill climb for McHugh, who is 23 and needs to get some forward momentum to his baseball career. For what it's worth, McHugh also writes a fairly solid blog.


8-6-10: - McHugh is one of the many talented players to come out of Savannah this year, but, as we have learned so many times over the years, pitching well in A ball to youngsters is a long way from the majors. Needless to say, McHugh has impressed us this year, especially Wednesday night when he went: 6.0-IP, 0-ER, 7-K, 2-BB, 4-H. Seasonally, he hasn’t had much support from his teammates; however he still is posting a respectful 3-8, 3.56. 1.40, with 98-K in 112.0-IP.


2011 Forecast:  McHugh will obviously move on to St. Lucie in the spring and begin the very diffifcut climb throw both the A+ and AA levels. These are the levels where most of your control pitchers fall out of grace unless they develop addition velocity on their fast ball, or deliver nastier secondary stuff. We won't know what the Mets have here until around the spring of 2013, but, in Collin's case, it may be worth the wait.

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