Wordekemper has 20 straight scoreless appearances
Eric Wordekemper has found his stride and is hitting his marks in Tampa. With a 1-0 record and a strong 0.63 ERA, he has made the closer position look easy. The fact that he hasn't given up a run since May 27th and is leading the Florida State League with 31 saves, already proves his success. As he continues to work, he still focuses on what has contributed to his success in this role.
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“The mental attitude that goes behind it, I’m a competitor, so I really enjoy the role and take it as an important role to me,” Eric Wordekemper said of closing. “I don’t throw a lot of balls, so I get a lot of contact early and limit my pitches.”
Wordekemper's versatility has been an advantage to his game overall, and as a closer, he has found what pitches work best for him in that role.
“My fastball command has been there all year," said the 24-year old. "I’m mainly fastball, slider right now. My slider earlier this year I struggled with, but it’s been working well for me now.”
Selected by the N.Y. Yankees in the 46th Round of the 2005 Draft out of Creighton University, Wordekemper’s velocity has increased throughout this year and he is now getting the numbers he needs.
“Each year once I get about 20-30 innings in, my arm starts feeling better so my average is around 91 now, basically where I want to be and need to be," he revealed.
With his recent success, tossing 20 straight scoreless appearances, he knows what pitches work best as his out-pitch and what he still needs to improve on.
“My slider is my main out pitch. I’ve been working on a split but pretty much my slider is what I go to," said Wordekemper. "My split, sometimes it’s tough right now in the closer role when you have a tight game, cutting that lose, but I’m mainly working on my split, getting a feel for it.”
Although Wordekemper has had great success as the team closer, his versatility is what makes him more of an asset to the organization. He has played as a starter and as a middle and long relief guy, and he is unsure if he will continue in the closer role in the future.
“It’s tough to say, because my strikeout numbers aren’t quite there, but I see myself as a middle relief guy in the future.”
As Wordekemper continues to breakout and catch the attention of the organization, he knows that he has to keep working.
“Becoming consistent and getting my split-finger down will help me in the long run to gain that out pitch, but right now staying consistent with all my pitches,” he said when asked what he needs to do to prepare for the next level.
Wordekemper’s recent success has given him great confidence and he’s happy with how things have turned out for him this year.
“You always hope for great success and it’s turned out very nicely for me, so I’m very pleased and excited with what I’ve been doing this year.”
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