In mid-July of 2009, the Yankees signed an indy-leaguer named Trent Lare. Lare, who would turn 25 years old in August of that 2009, had never had any professional experience. He had spent three years with the Kalamazoo Kings of the Frontier League after a tenure at Oklahoma State University.
Well believe it or not, this 25-year old got promoted twice in the few months that he spent in the organization, dominating Staten Island and Charleston along the way as a starting pitcher.
With Staten Island, a Short-season Low-A affiliate, he put up a 1.07 ERA over 33.2 innings with a 38/3 K/BB ratio and a 0.68 WHIP. With Charleston, a full-season Low-A affiliate, put up a 2.76 ERA over 42.1 innings with a 35/7 K/BB ratio and a 1.02 WHIP. Furthermore, he pitched in Game 5 of the Championship Series with High-A Tampa, while pitching one regular season game as well with them.
I interviewed him back in July, basically a day after he signed with the Yankees. Basically, I was interested in his story and he was happy to answer questions for me. The first interview can be found at my other blog, The Yankees: Minors to Majors.
Last week I was able to interview Lare again, a few months off of the conclusion of his excellent season. Here is the interview I conducted:
Steven Schwartz: Could you take me through your first day in affiliated ball? What was it like the day of your first start?
Trent Lare: My first day was pretty basic, when I got to the field. Met the coaches, did some paper work, played catch, and tried to meet as many of the guys as possible.
SS: When you joined the Yankees, did they try to alter your mechanics or pitching style at all? What did they work with you on?
TL: There were a few minor adjustments with mechanics that they made. Mainly out of the stretch, trying to make my delivery a little bit more consistent going to the plate by taking out some wasted movement. As for my pitching style I wouldn’t say they tried to change it just gave me some suggestions on pitch selection and things like that.
SS: After looking at your statistics, something jumped out to me. Even though you made the jump from independent league ball to professional ball, your walk-rate was cut in half, your WHIP decreased significantly, your hit-rate decreased, and your K-rate increased. What do you attribute this improvement to?
TL: I really don’t know if there was just one thing that I did better than any other year other than just concentrating on trying to be as consistent as possible every time I took the mound. Most of that I would contribute to the routine that I followed in between appearances.
SS: Where do you expect to start next year? Any personal goals/expectations for next season?
TL: I don’t really know where I am going to start at next year. I’m just taking the approach in spring training that I have to prove myself so I’m going to go to spring training ready to go and see what happens.
SS: How does the minor league lifestyle compare to that of indy leagues? Is it much nicer?
TL: It was pretty much the same and indy ball as far as bus rides; I would have to say that the hotels in affiliated ball are a bit nicer though.
SS: Did you before the season think that you would have THIS much success in affiliated ball? Did you think that you would be able to make it all the way to High-A ball in only a couple of months? Or was your success a bit of a surprise to you?
TL: Making it to High A was a pretty big surprise, and being able to start game 5 of the championship series with everything on the line was truly awesome. I will admit that I was surprised to get moved once let alone twice.
SS: Do you have a second job during the offseason?
TL: Yes, I work in a small warehouse in Kansas City, KS. I have worked there every off season for the last 3 years doing various things.
Well, there is the short-but-sweet interview. I will absolutely be rooting for Lare this year.