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Daniel Bies (Robert M. Pimpsner)

Interviews

[Interview] Bies Talks Improvement in Pitches, 2019 Season, and More.

The New York Yankees initially drafted right-handed pitcher Daniel Bies in the seventh round of the 2018 MLB out of Gonzaga University.

Bies has had an impressive career with the Yankees in their minor league system ever since. However, he spent some time on the injury list last 2019 MLB season. This isn’t Bies’ first rodeo with injuries. Bies pitches with a replacement tendon in his elbow after the surgery his junior year in high school.

This interview is an example of the type of content that Pinstriped Prospects Dugout Members receive.  Dugout Members get complete access to scouting reports, interviews and more all with limited advertisements on the website. Click here to sign up!

Daniel Bies (Robert M. Pimpsner)

Pinstriped Prospects:  I heard that you spent some time on the injury list. What was that injury and how did you feel that it impacted your season?

Daniel Bies: That was a right wrist contusion. I got hit by a line drive in Asheville. I was actually throwing pretty well before. I had started the last six games for Charleston. I was throwing very well and then got hit with a line drive and that kind of set things back for me a little bit. I was in a really good spot, I was feeling really good about my pitching, and then I had to kind of figure some stuff out again once I came back because when I came back from the injury my fastball was cutting and my slider was more of a cutter than a slider. It honestly threw all three of my pitches in kind of a weird spot just because my arm was still sore and just in the wrist so that was kind of weird finishing through my pitches. It took a little bit to adjust back to that and get the feel back for all my pitches after that wrist thing but then there was pretty smooth sailing after that.

PP: Wow, I’m sorry that happened. Is everything okay, now? Is it back to normal for the most part?

DB: Yeah, it feels good now. I mean, I feel better now than I did before. Just with how my pitching is.

PP: Okay! So you pitched mostly in class A with the RiverDogs but got into six games with the Tampa Tarpons and one with AAA. What was the difference in pitching at those three different levels?

DB: I didn’t feel like there was a huge difference between high A and single A. I mean hitters were a little bit less forgiving in high A, But it was mainly just executing pitches and guys would gladly get themselves out if you were executing pitches. With AAA, I just had one outing. I was there for a little cup of coffee, you know, I was there for like two days but at that level, I still remember facing Logan Morrison and I walked him on four pitches. I remember the first pitch I threw with a fastball, maybe an inch off the plate, it was a terrific first-pitch fastball and he just spit on it the whole way. Then I threw him a 1-0 changeup that was, I mean, I could just go up to the plate and I couldn’t really put it there any better. Maybe an inch below the zone and he’s been on out all the way and I was like “holy crap,” like complete discipline here. It’s ridiculous. The umpires, they just called one true zone, which Is something that I’ve never experienced before. It was just a totally different game honestly because the hitters weren’t going to change anything and the umpires weren’t going to give you anything. So you had to come into that box and be really competitive, within the zone. It was fun, it was a really fun challenge. I really enjoyed it.

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PP: Wow that does sound challenging.

DB: It was definitely a challenge. The following was more kind of like High A, where you just got to execute pitches. I need to stop starting seasons slow. That was going to be my goal for this year was to come out the game hot but we’re kind of in a little bit of a hiatus right now.

PP: Well, how do you feel that your fastball has improved since you’ve been drafted?

DB: I think it has definitely improved just as far as the average velocity on it and just my location with it. My last outing out in spring training, I was 90-95 and I was feeling really really good with where I was putting the ball and the life that I had on it. I was without a doubt feeling really good with where I was at.

PP: Do you feel that your secondary pitches have developed and improved as well?

DB: Definitely, yeah. So I kind of curb the changeup a little bit. Kind of put that on the backseat a little bit and was focusing mainly on my curveball and slider and they were both looking very good in spring training. So I’m in the field for really ripping curveballs because when I was throwing that pitch in college it’s kind of a “get ahead pitch” or an “if I’m behind in the count”, I’ll just flip over a curveball,” but I was really thinking about ripping curveballs in spring training and I had really good action. The slider has always been a good pitch for me since I started throwing it but I made some adjustments to it, to the spring training and it got even better. So that was really nice.

PP: So what would you say you improved on most overall in 2019?

DB: I would say my slider was a huge improvement that I made in 2019. From where it was at the start of the year to where I finished the year. I mean, it was night and day. It was a lot firmer and just a lot sharper of a pitch. So that was definitely the biggest improvement that I made and then on top of that, just like mentally, just kind of getting used to scouting another team and kind of make a game plan for yourself how you’re gonna attack hitters. That’s something that I’ve never really dealt with before. And that was my first kind of experience, learning how to attack hitters and how to look at lineups and stuff like that. And that was the big thing that I took away from AAA. I mean I was there for two days, but I was just trying to talk to the older guys, the catchers, trying to figure out how they figure out how to attack lineups and stuff like that. I don’t remember his name but he was in AAA, but I had a pretty long conversation with this guy. I don’t think he is in the organization anymore. But I had a long conversation with him when I was up there. And he was super helpful as far as how to approach a lineup and things to look for, stuff like that.

PP: That’s great. It’s always good to have good support and help. So speaking of, what do you feel is the most memorable piece of advice you’ve received from a pitching coach in your organization so far?

DB: Yeah, that’s a really tough one. That’s tough to pick one because there are so many different ones. Every single day, we’re trying to make adjustments and we’re trying to get better. So, there are so many different pitching coaches that have factored into that improvement, that it’s tough for me to just take one specific thing that somebody has said. There’s been like Sam Briend who will make a suggestion with my slider and that’ll just completely turn that pitch around. I’ve had analysts, and previous pitching coordinators talk to me about my fastball which has kind of given me a lot of confidence in that pitch. And I’ve been working with Dustin Glant a lot on my curveball, he’s been helping me out with that a lot. And, you know, like, my pitching coach in high A, Jorge Rosado, will talk to me a lot about mentality and stuff like that. So it’s really tough to pick one.

This interview is an example of the type of content that Pinstriped Prospects Dugout Members receive.  Dugout Members get complete access to scouting reports, interviews and more all with limited advertisements on the website. Click here to sign up!

PP: It seems like you just have overall amazing support, which is great.

DB: I mean, honestly, the pitching coaches that we have in this organization, they’re just incredible. We have so much support and they’re all very good at their jobs. So even when I was in AAA for just two days, I felt the pros and cons out there. They just kept coming to us with “hey, you know, whenever I got called up when I was in your guys’ shoes, I was always super nervous. But you got to be relaxed and have fun because, you know, it’s a great opportunity. So just go out there and have fun.” I felt like that really, really helped me out when I was up there.

PP: Sounds like great advice! So, so far in your career, you’ve pitched 36 games, with 11 of them being starts. Is there one rule that you would prefer to be in whether it is a starter or reliever?

DB: Honestly, I really enjoy the routine of starting. But I also would like to be either starting again or finishing the game. What I would say I love is getting the ball at the end of the game and it’s either I’m gonna get this win or we’re gonna lose this game. So it just kind of amping yourself up. It’s really just kind of you versus them. I also love the routine that you can have when you’re a starter and how laid back it can be. You’re just preparing for your day and then you go out there and say “I’m gonna give this the best chance that we can have to win this day.” I would say either starting or finishing I’m not a big fan of long relief or middle relief. I mean, I will do pretty much whatever it takes to take a win. I’m not a guy that’s gonna be like “I want to start or I don’t want to do anything.” It’s just not who I am.

PP: So then how do you approach your game preparation when you do move back and forth between both roles?

DB: WelI scout the team the same. I’ll still come up with a game plan for how I want to talk to hitters and then the only difference is kind of mentality wise and what you’re doing during the game when you’re a starter. When I’m a starter, if I’m not throwing that day, I’ll be watching the game. I won’t be moving around and trying to keep my body loose, because I know that I won’t be going into the game. When you’re a reliever you’re watching the game but you’re also thinking “alright, this is how the starters doing this, this is kind of the situation in which I’ll be coming in.” I need to be ready to come in and if it’s looking like it’s gonna be your spot or an area where you would normally come into the game, then you kind of start getting loose and getting ready and then the game’s called and you get out there and get ready to go. When you’re a reliever you show up to the parking and you’re thinking every day you could potentially be coming into the game. Whereas a starter, there’s some days where you show up and you’re like, “zero percent chance I’m going in again today.” I’m just gonna show up and get my work in and go off again.

PP: So when you do start, are there any pregame rituals or superstitions that you perform before a game and why?

DB: I have a polo that I wear every day that I start. So it’s a blue polo with fish all over it. I wear that every day that I start or every day I know I’m supposed to throw. So yeah, that’s my superstition. If I couldn’t wear that shirt It’s not like I would just shut down and be like, “oh I can’t throw today I didn’t wear my fish shirt,” but I love to wear it on the days that I throw.

This interview is an example of the type of content that Pinstriped Prospects Dugout Members receive.  Dugout Members get complete access to scouting reports, interviews and more all with limited advertisements on the website. Click here to sign up!

PP: Why did you decide to choose that shirt, does it have any special meaning to you?

DB: No, I just love the shirt, it’s a fun shirt. It has fish all over it, it’s like a fashion statement.

PP: Okay. So what teammates have stood out to you during the 2019 season that fans might not have heard as much about?

DB: I would say probably, Max Burt and Mickey Gasper. Just two guys, senior signs who are just gritty players. I mean they just get the job done. They’re really fun teammates to have and they’re just grinders. They’re fun to have on your team. Both are really good at what they do. Those are probably guys that haven’t gotten talked about as much as they should be.

PP: Okay. What goals have you set for yourself for the 2020 season, despite the given circumstances?

DB: I was really hoping to come out of the game throwing well. I think in previous years I put too much pressure on myself at the start of the season. Just wanting to start the year hot. This year I’m trying to come in, relax and just knowing what I could do, and having fun. I feel like whenever you’re at your best, you’re enjoying the game, you’re having fun, you get your work done. But then, once you’ve prepared, it’s just about competing. I think in previous years when I had slow stars, I just didn’t have that mentality that I thought I was gonna bring into this year.

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