On Monday October 13, I had some time to kill after arriving in Scottsdale for business and wandered over to Scottsdale Stadium, just a block from my hotel, where the Arizona Fall League was taking place. As luck had it, the Scottsdale Scorpions were playing and I was able to get press credentials. I conducted a number of interviews with some of the Phillies’ players and coaches who were in attendance. Come back each day to see the latest interview!
Ryan O’Sullivan is a 24 year old pitcher who the Phillies received from the Dodgers in exchange for Joe Blanton in 2012. O’Sullivan was the Dodgers’ fourth-round pick in 2011 and spent all of last season with the Reading Fightins where he went 7-8 with a 3.91 ERA with improved BB/9 IP and K/BB ratios.
Ian Riccaboni, Phillies Nation: What’s it like playing in the Arizona Fall League with some of the top prospects in baseball?
Ryan O’Sullivan: It’s fun. It’s funny, you know, I was talking to some of the guys, when you’re going through the season as a starter, you worry about the one through four or one through five hitters and you see the seven, eight, nine guys and you think “Ok, I might be able to cruise through this part of the line-up” but here, (seven, eight, nine) is a one, two, three, four hitter somewhere else so you really have to concentrate on every pitch. It’s been a lot of fun so far.
IR: Now, for baseball fans and folks who write about baseball, the opposing hitters’ names are really familiar. As a pitcher, do you have any concept of the other hitters as top prospects?
ROS: I mean, you kind of know who people are. The players that are here, you’ve played against at some point, some of them you’ve played with on different teams and things like that. Everybody’s here because their organization likes what what they are doing and everybody here is a prospect in a way so you know who they are. Some people you don’t know but those are the guys you know as this league goes along. I think everybody here has the ability to play in the Big Leagues and that’s what this league is for.
IR: Ray Burris is here of the Lehigh Valley IronPigs (pitching coach). How nice is that to be able to work with someone in the organization while you’re getting work in in the fall?
ROS: Oh, it’s great. He’s a great guy; he’s awesome. He knows a lot about pitching but it’s not all about pitching with him. He pitched for I don’t know how many years; he pitched for a long time! Not only that but he’s a good guy off the field, too. He’ll take time to talk with you, very approachable and it’s huge that he’s with the Phillies so that while we’re out here we can showcase to him, especially because he’s the Triple-A guy and he’s been in the Big Leagues we can showcase our talent a bit. Hopefully, we can get to know him so that when the team needs to make a decision, he’s knows who we are.
IR: Logan Moore is here, your catcher. Do you have any special connection with Logan because he’s in the system or is the same as maybe working with a catcher from another system where you have to walk through your repertoire and your out pitch?
ROS: No, him and I definitely have a very close relationship. We were together this past season and the season before so there’s definitely a connection there. The other catchers here definitely have to learn what kind of stuff you have and what your tendencies on the mound are and stuff like that but when he’s catching me, it’s kind of like we’re back in season so we just get in the groove and go with it. He knows what I pitch and what I like to throw so it clicks a little faster.
The other catchers here are great, too. It doesn’t take long for a catcher to get to know his pitchers and we’re lucky to have the catchers we have.
IR: What’s the one thing you’re really focused on working on here in Arizona?
ROS: Here? Pound the strike zone. I’m a sinker ball pitcher and it’s not going deep into counts, just trying to get balls put in play early, throwing a lot of strikes, pounding the strike zone, being aggressive. I mean, stats count here a little bit but it’s not all based on that. It’s based on trying to get better with what you’re doing, get better at your craft, and get seen by some people.