Former Titan Bashlor learning on the job with Mets. Story by John Nestor.
Former Titan Bashlor learning on the job with Mets
PORT ST. LUCIE - Former Torrington Titan Tyler Bashlor has had his first professional season extended by the New York Mets after the 20-year-old pitcher was invited to the club's Instructional League in Florida.
Bashlor appeared in 13 games for the Kingsport Mets this summer in relief and is getting the chance to get more work in for the next few weeks at the Mets' Spring Training home base.
The former South Georgia College star has a powerful arm but is raw and still learning how to pitch. He's only been at it about a year and has promise with a fastball in the upper-90s but there is no substitute for experience.
"The biggest thing I'll be working on during the extended season is my mechanics," Bashlor said. "We've been working on attacking the bottom of the zone and I've been feeling good about how things are going. Every day I get more and more confident."
Confidence is something that Bashlor has been working on throughout his first season in the pros. Up until this summer he's been used to throwing that hard fastball by hitters in college and when he was with the Titans in the FCBL. He learned early on that he won't always be able to do that going forward.
In his pro debut in late June, Bashlor gave up a walk off home run to Ariel Ovando in a 5-3 loss to Greeneville. It wasn't the kind of start the 11th-round draft pick was looking for but it did provide some valuable lessons.
"Well these boys can hit," Bashlor said. "I started off a little slowly and my first outing didn’t go how I would have liked but I learned from it and was able to bounce back."
The bounce back didn't happen overnight however. Being inexperienced as a pitcher, Bashlor had never really learned how to deal with nerves and it took him a few outings to settle down.
He came to Torrington after pitching just eight innings as a freshman at South Georgia College and put himself on scouts' radar with an impressive bullpen session at the 2012 FCBL All-Star Game.
With his confidence boosted and his goal of getting the attention of scouts accomplished, Bashlor went back to South Georgia College for his sophomore season and cranked the velocity up to as high as 99 mph and moved up the draft boards of a number of teams.
It was the strong arm and potential that made Bashlor appealing and now he has to continue to learn how to harness both.
"During the season I worked on getting my nerves calmed down on the mound," Bashlor said. "I started off slow and had some ups and downs, but I started to pitch better as the season went on. It took a few outings to control my nerves, but I knew I had a lot to learn in my first season of pro ball."
Bashlor finished with 18 strikeouts on 15 2/3 innings. He walked 12 and allowed 12 runs (10 earned) and 14 hits on a 40-win team that made the playoffs.
"I've learned that I have to pitch backwards a little more, use my off-speed first," Bashlor said. "I just can't reach back and throw an overpowering fastball."
Now he is getting more on the job training with some of the Mets' other top prospects and will then head to the offseason with the goal of moving up the minor league system his new pursuit.
"We are here til October fifth and then we have the offseason with a workout and throwing program to get ready for spring training," Bashlor said. "My goal is to get to Brooklyn. Work hard enough to make a full season team. I am really enjoying it. I'd much rather be doing this than working on cars or whatever else I'd be doing."