You may remember my 2008 series with pitching coach Scott Aldred, in which we sat down and talked at length about each of the pitchers on the staff at the time.
Well, that series is back this year, but with a new pitching coach, of course.
Former big league pitcher Tommy Phelps joined the Thunder coaching staff this year after Aldred was promoted to Scranton, and we recently sat down and talked about every pitcher who was on the pitching staff as of a few days ago.
In the first of a 13-part series, Phelps talks about Wilkins Arias. In his first full season with the team after joining the club in late July last year, the diminutive Dominican has been used as a spot starter with good results.
Overall, in nine appearances, the southpaw is 0-1 with a 2.95 ERA.
Here’s what Tommy Phelps had to say about him:
“Wilkins has pitched the ball a lot better. He’s starting to get the ball on more of a downhill plane. He’s got a really good arm. He’s just learning how to use his pitches more. The biggest thing for him is keeping the ball down in the zone and not slinging it so much and getting good plane on it. He’s working on his delivery from the stretch and trying to be a little quicker to the plate and trying to get a better move to first. Other than that, it’s just getting him innings so he can get experience.”
I asked Phelps if that’s why Arias was selected as the spot starter…
“Yeah. Early on, he’s been throwing a lot of strikes and he’s been really working hard every day. I felt like he was the best one to come out and give us that opportunity to get him some more regular work. Plus, we’ve got guys in the bullpen that need to pitch out of there, so he was one of the guys who could go either way.”
Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com