SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Our camp chat today focuses on one of the Rangers' pitching prospects, Tanner Scheppers. He was the 44th overall pick of the 2009 draft and was sent to Surprise for some winter ball action after he was signed in September. Scheppers had a 5.73 ERA in 11 innings, but it was a product of two rough outings. He appeared in seven games and didn't allow a run in five of them.
Scheppers said he will probably start the 2010 season at Double-A Frisco. Here's what some of what he had to say (during the interview, Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux came by and needled Scheppers about starting his spring with a reporter talking to him):
Q: Give us a quick scouting report on yourself. What do you throw, how are you progressing?
A: I throw a fastball, four-seam and two-seam. I have a circle change and I have a slider and curve ball. And I'm working on a cutter.
Quick sidebar (a little more detail for you): He has a fastball that is in the mid 90s and his changeup, according to some Rangers officials, has improved. he was a shortstop until his sophomore year at Fresno State, so he's still getting used to being a fulltime pitcher. He's probably a starter long term.
Q: How long have you been working on a cutter?
A: I've been working on it since Instructs, so four months or so. It's something I've always kind of wanted to have just in case. It's always good to have an extra pitch in your back pocket for any kind of situation. Maddux is pretty strong on the fact that if you have more pitches, the better, as long as you can throw them for strikes. As long as you don't use a certain pitch in the wrong situations, it doesn't hurt to have them available to you to throw.
Q: What are your goals for this upcoming season?
A: I want to get experience and improve in every aspect of my game as I can. I want to soak up as much information as I possibly can from all the guys around me and keep taking steps forward. I'm just trying to focus on getting better. I'm not worried about where I might end up. I've been told probably Double-A is where I'll start. From there, I have to get as much experience as I can and do the best I can and see what happens.
Q: What is your biggest strength and your biggest weakness?
A: My biggest strength would be attacking hitters. I'm competitive, so I go right after them. I guess my weakness is that same thing. It can get you in trouble in some situations. Sometimes I'm too aggressive in certain counts and attacking the zone instead of pitching around guys. I'm still learning the right times to do what and it's a process.