Young Guns Talk at RBI Club Lunch
Three of the Mariners young pitchers spent the noon hour Friday with members of the Seattle Mariners RBI Club, a group of season ticket holders and boosters. Stephen Pryor, Lucas Luetge and Carter Capps covered a wide range of topics during the Q&A, everything from their impressions of Felix’s perfect game from their perspective in the bullpen, the best baseball advice they ever got to their plans for the off-season. Here are some highlights from the laugh-filled session.
Stephen Pryor on his Major League debut against the White Sox on June 2, with two on and two out and Paul Konerko, owner of over 400 home runs, at the plate:
“I ended up striking him out on five pitches. Came back to the dugout and I think I held my breath the entire time.”
Carter Capps on pitching at AA Jackson with Danny Hultzen, Taijuan Walker and James Paxton
“That was one of the most talented starting pitching staffs I’ve ever seen. Taijuan, he’s so young and really skilled and athletic. Danny, obviously he had a great college year and just continued into AA and got moved up. Paxton actually struck out 10 his last AA outing in the playoffs. They’re all amazing pitchers and I’m sure we’ll see them before long.”
Lucas Luetge on meeting his boyhood baseball hero Ken Griffey Jr.
“Growing up I was a Griffey fan. I actually got to meet him this year. I was like a kid in a candy shop. I was shaking and nervous and sweating. It was cool, we talked about 20-30 minutes. It was kind of like meeting your idol. It was pretty awesome.”
Pryor on the best advice he ever got, which was from his AA Jackson pitching coach Lance Painter.
“Don’t get complacent. Never be satisfied. Always want more. And that’s something that’s really stuck in my head and it’s been something that I feel has taken me to the next level with the mental part of the game.”
When someone from the audience referenced all three as “hard throwers,” Luetge shook his head “no.” And when asked about the pitch he’d like to add to his repertoire, his answer was:
“I’m still waiting on that day where I wake up and there’s 97 (mph) in the arm.”
On their view from the bullpen of Felix’s perfect game:
Pryor: “In the 6th or 7th inning, when he struck out the side again for the second time, I got a feeling ‘He’s going to do this.’ Everybody in the bullpen, their hands were shaking and jittery, we were standing up, sitting down, we couldn’t get comfortable.”
Luetge: “Once it gets to the 6th or 7th, there’s a kind of realization that this could happen. We were in there clapping at every strike like Little Leaguers. And we had to tell this one (motioning to Capps) to be quiet because he was trying to jinx it. He kept saying ‘Wow, Felix is pitching really good on day games.’ We had to keep him quiet the last 2-3 innings.”
Capps: “I was thinking Felix should throw all the day games, he likes them so much. Obviously, he was just cruising for the longest time. It was unbelievable. In perfect games in the past there’s always a few plays that are borderline or someone makes a diving outstanding catch. But he was just overpowering guys and it was pretty special to watch.”
Offseason plans for Pryor include spending time with his wife and two daughters. Capps plans to do some hunting and fishing. And Luetge, he’s got big plans:
“The first week when we get back is the county fair. Jaso’s going to stop by, so I’m going to take him and show him around.”