Staying on the theme of the week, I have yet another Q and A with a Muckdog. This time I talk with RHP Jason Buursma, whom the Cardinals drafted in the 25th round out of Bucknell University. He was voted the Patriot League Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year. A two-way player at Bucknell, Buursma hit 13 homers and put up a .367/.426/.671 his senior year, as well as pitching 83.2 innings with a 78/10 K/BB ratio and a 2.58 ERA.
Q and A after the jump.
When did you adopt throwing submarine style and how did it come about?
I started throwing submarine in high school. I was in our field house throwing a ball against the wall and just kind of stumbled on it. I went to my high school pitching coach and it turned out that he used to throw like that so he taught me the ropes.
How low do you drop down when pitching? Is it Chad Bradford, “scrape-your-knuckles” low?
No, I’m not as low as Chad Bradford. I’ve actually changed my arm angle a bit to get it closer to straight out from my body.
Tell me a little bit about your repertoire.
I have three pitches: a fastball, sweeping slider and a change-up. I get sink and tail on my fastball and changeup and my slider breaks the opposite way.
How different is your approach against left-handed hitters?
It changes my off-speed pitch selection a bit but i stick to pretty much the same thing. I’ll use my movement and sink to try and get a ground ball.
Are you a numbers guy at all?
As a reliever I’m not too concerned with my numbers. My biggest concern on paper is cutting down on walks. But as a submariner I judge my success on whether or not I can get a ground ball. Sometimes they will find a hole but as long as I am getting ground balls and not walking people I am happy.
As a fellow submariner, did you find yourself rooting for Brad Ziegler during his scoreless inning streak?
Even if I wasn’t a submariner, how can I not root for a guy to break a 101 year old record? That is an amazing accomplishment and shows me that even though our style of pitching is unconventional it is proven to have success at the major league level. It makes me want to work even harder.
You had a very nice season at the plate last year at Bucknell. Do you miss swinging the bat and playing the field or do you prefer to focus on pitching?
You have no idea how much I miss swinging the bat. I was excited to be drafted by a NL team but I have to make it to AA before I get to touch a bat again. I was always a hitter before I was a pitcher until my last two years of college, so it has been really tough watching everyone get to hit each game. I would be content taking a few swings in BP once a week but I know that is never going to happen.
If you weren’t playing professional baseball, what sort of career would you be currently pursuing?
Not sure exactly. Maybe something in the consulting industry or construction industry. I majored in economics at Bucknell so something business related.