Tyler Viza, image- Jay Floyd
The Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers have enjoyed some solid success on the mound in the early going this season. Combined, four members of the team’s starting rotation (Tyler Viza, Elniery Garcia, Thomas Eshelman and Ranfi Casimiro) have combined for a 6-1 record and a 1.19 ERA through eight starts (two each). Additionally, another of the team’s starters, Will Morris, entered action on Monday with a scoreless five inning appearance in his game log.
This week I asked the righty Viza about his own success as well as the great efforts by his teammates. Phillies director of player development Joe Jordan and Clearwater third baseman Mitch Walding also offered their thoughts. Read ahead for the exclusive comments.
Viza, who was the Phils’ 32nd round draft pick in 2013, remarked about his consistent output-
My success through the early part of the season started around the all-star break last year. Aaron Fultz and I had a conversation about keeping the ball down and using all of my pitches from the first hitter on to get outs and not try to save anything for later in the game. Therefore it might be too late to use them.
I continued my success last year into the off season and worked with my pitching coach from high school, Jamie Brewington. He wanted to work out with me this off season instead of just throwing and long toss. I’m in the best shape of my life and I’m continuing to get stronger and learn about pitching.
Viza also spoke about his satisfaction with his 2-0 record and 1.59 ERA after two starts-
I’m very happy with my results thus far because my team is getting the chance to win the game.
Viza shared some thoughts on if having his pitching coach, Aaron Fultz, following him up a level from Lakewood has been a factor for his success-
Fultz and I have a great relationship. It’s always nice to have a coach like him that you can joke around with and also know that he’s not going to beat around the bush about anything. I trust in him and I know that he trusts in me.
The Phillies have great pitching coaches throughout the system and up.
Also, Viza talked about the Threshers’ starting staff and how they can all benefit from one another-
All of our starters have been outstanding so far in the early going of the season. We all have a great time in the locker room together and outside of the locker room. We all try to challenge each other to be the best player on and off of the field. Every single guy on this team has each other’s back and it makes things a lot easier out on the field. We all work just as hard and we all push each other to try and reach our full potential. Needless to say, our success isn’t where it is right now without the defense behind us, the hot bats that we are swinging, or the bullpen locking down the late innings for the team.
Jordan spoke of Viza and Eshelman specifically, but also the Clearwater pitchers as a whole-
There’s a lot of good arms. Eshelman, this is really our first look at him, but he’s as advertised. He can really pitch.
Tyler Viza…Tyler really started all this last year. His velocity is up a little bit. He’s always been able to pitch.
I think as a group, with an exception or two they’ve been very consistent and they’ve done a great job. And you turn the ball over to that bullpen and you’re going to win a lot of games. There’s a lot of power in their bullpen and, you know, so far they’ve closed most of the games they’ve had a chance to close.
Walding, after speaking about himself, commented about the Threshers’ pitchers-
Our pitching has been lights out. Lot of command in the zone. Getting ahead of the hitters. Pretty dominant so far this season. Thing I love most is even if they get to a 3-0 or a 3-1 count, they are making the hitters earn their hits or they’re battling back and getting them to get our or strike out.