Even though he was only drafted in 2013, Andrew Edwards has spent parts of his three seasons in the KC Royals organization with High-A Wilmington.
2015 was the first year he actually began the season with the Blue Rocks and though he had hoped to be gone by now, he is still with Wilmington.
This past offseason, Edwards (along with a few of his Royals teammates) decided to spend the offseason in warm Arizona instead of their cold weather hometowns. The offseason workouts paid off for Edwards, as he gained velocity on his fastball (he now throws in the mid-to-upper 90s). I noticed the increased velocity the first time I saw him pitch this season.
Edwards is trying to regain consistency after missing about a month midseason due to an injury. In June, he pitched just three times and then just five times in July. “The injury set me back pretty good in terms of pitching wise,” Edwards said. “Being out for a month or better can really have adverse effects on timing and consistency on the mound.”
But like every other Blue Rocks reliever this season, consistency is hard to find when you only pitch once every five (or more) days. It has gotten so bad that I can predict which reliever will pitch based on that night’s starter (but that complaint is for another day).
Overall, he is 0-2 with a 5.23 ERA in 22 appearances. He is 1-for-3 in save opportunities. Over 31 innings, opponents are hitting .261 against him, he has hit five, and walked 16 compared to 21 strikeouts.
Edwards was kind enough to answer some questions on his added velocity and his struggles this season.
- What exactly helped increase the velocity?
“Just working correctly and consistent. Focused on lower body strength.”
- Has the increased velocity changed your approach with hitters?
“Yes and no. I know hitters are good at this level and are only getting better. So it’s good to have good velocity when it’s needed. But that alone won’t get them out. You actually have to be a good pitcher. Not just a good thrower.”
- Have you seen your other pitches develop too?
“Oh yeah for sure. Slider is sharper and harder. All around a better pitch. My changeup is harder with more movement. It has helped with my pitches alot. Having a great fastball is good. But if you can compliment it with one or two other good offerings, you can have great success at the highest level.”
- Do you feel you rely on one pitch more than the other?
“Yes. My fastball is my best pitch. And I do get in trouble sometimes with it. I tend to fall in love with it out there and when that happens, hitters pick up on it and you become predictable out there on the mound.”
- What was it like to win the Carolina League first half?
“It was awesome! Never experienced anything like it in my baseball career. It was very cool. Hope to have many more of those along with way.”
- I know this season hasn’t gone the way you hoped, but what have you learned from it?
“Can’t get too high or too low over the course of the 140 games. If you can’t control your emotions, you will be mentally drained a week into the season. And just learning how to deal with adversity and setbacks.”
- Any advice on dealing with adversity and setbacks?
“To be able to easily forget things. Can’t dwell on bad games or they will eat you alive. Have to remember the bad to learn, but don’t dwell on them.”
- How hard was it not being able to pitch most of June and part of July?
“It was tough. Seeing the team have success and not be able to contribute was hard. Mentally you want to play and pitch, but physically you can’t.”
- Do you feel like you’re starting to feel more comfortable out there?
“Yes. I think everything is starting to click again. I hate that it’s happening this late in the season because it might be too late to impress anyone for a promotion. So I’m going to go out there and do what I know I can do. Everything else will fall into place.”
- It’s always good to end the season on a high note and take that into next year.
“Yeah, if you end the season on a good note, it’s a huge confidence booster for the next year.”
- With about a month left and the playoffs, how do you envision the season ending for you?
“Finishing out the season healthy and hopefully a Carolina League Championship. I would like to end up with [Double-A] NW Arkansas and help them try and win a Texas League Championship. But after my injury, I see myself staying in Wilmington for the remainder of the season.”
Best of luck to Andrew in his quest to stay healthy and get a ring!