Recently I was lucky enough to sit down with Mets minor league fireballer and 2010 16th round selection Ryan Fraser. Fraser was taken out of the U. of Memphis last June and was immediately installed as the Cyclones closer where he went on to post a sterling 1.44 ERA with 12 saves over 26 games. Fraser also struck out over a batter an inning on his way to an appearance in the NYPL all-star game thanks in large part to his high 90's heater.
Listen in as we talked about starting his pro career in Brooklyn, playing for manager Wally Backman, his thoughts on starting vs. relief and more! Click the 'Play' button below to hear our chat.
Click past the break for the transcript of our chat:
Rob: We're just getting into camp now; how was your offseason?
Fraser: It was great. I had a good Christmas, good Thanksgiving...a little short but I'm ready to get back into the swing of things and get the season started.
Rob: So looking back at 2010 a little bit, obviously you were drafted out of Memphis, you ended up in Brooklyn and you had a great run there; can you talk about that a little bit?
Fraser: Yeah it was kinda...I knew I was getting drafted. I wasn't quite sure on draft day who it was gonna be and luckily for me I got selected by the Mets, 16th round. A few days later I was in Brooklyn and playing before I even had time to relax. But I wouldn't have had it any other way. I had a great time. Playing in front of six to eight thousand fans every night was truly awesome...
Rob: They can be crazy up there in Brooklyn (laughs)...
Fraser: (laughs) Yeah they can be a little crazy, but as long as you get in there throwing strikes and doing good they get behind you. And I mean the feeling is, it's awesome.
Rob: What was it like playing for Wally Backman?
Fraser: (laughs) Everyone's asking that...
Rob: (laughs) He's a crazy guy too so I gotta ask...
Fraser: ...he's a little crazy but man, he's a good manager. I couldn't have been happier playing for him. He knows what he's doing and I felt like him being the manager, and kind of his mindset, made the team kind of easy and more relaxed so we could go out there and play better.
Rob: Going into the 2011 season, I've heard rumors that the team is thinking about trying you in a starting role when in the past -- especially last year -- you've pitched mostly out of the bullpen. Is that something that you'd be comfortable with going forward? And have you had any talks with the team about?
Fraser: Yeah, I've pretty much been a starter my whole life. I did relieve in college so it wasn't a big transition when I went up to Brooklyn. Obviously I think I handled it well and played good. I am kind of ready to go back to a starter's role, being in a five-man rotation, being on a routine. Either way, if they decide to keep me in the bullpen I think I'll be ready, obviously I think I can do that. Whatever gets me closer to the big leagues is all I can ask for.
Rob: Now that path to the big leagues, as a guy who can nearly hit the triple-digits -- you kind of look to me like a guy who's pitching with the Mets, Bobby Parnell who can (also) hit the high 90's. He was used as a starter a little bit in the minors but as soon as he hit that relief path full-time, he shot up through the minors. Is that something that you look at? Do you prefer either way...?
Fraser: Uhh yeah, obviously I have my goals. But I really don't look into the future quite so much. I just try to give everything I've got each and every day. Obviously, being a starter you're going to have maybe a little bit lower velo. for five or seven innings than you would for one good inning. But like I said, whatever makes me closer to the big leagues and helps me reach my goals, so be it.