Interview with Robby Rowland: Arizona Diamondbacks Pitching Prospect
Thursday December 1, 2011
Jonathan Hacohen: We are proud to welcome to MLB reports: Robby Rowland, pitching prospect of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Robby was a 3rd round pick for the Dbacks in the 2010 draft. He recently completed his second season of Rookie Ball, playing for the Missoula Osprey of the Pioneer League. Standing an imposing 6’6″, the soon to be 20-year old Rowland has a bright future ahead with the Dbacks. I have enjoyed getting to know Robby over the past few days, as we talked our favorite subject…baseball. I got the sense speaking to Robby that he truly loves the game. His passion and commitment will carry him very far in my estimation, as he works towards joining the Dbacks one day in Arizona. There is definitely no attitude in the world of Robby Rowland. He understands where he came from and what he needs to do in order to one day become a successful major league pitcher. With spring training less than three months away, I had a chance to catch up with Robby Rowland and learn about his career. It was a fun interview to conduct and we are looking forward to having Robby return back soon on the Reports!
Featured on MLB reports, I proudly present my interview with Robby Rowland - Diamondbacks Pitching Prospect:
MLB reports: Thank you for taking the time to join us today Robby. How has your offseason gone so far?
Robby Rowland: Thank you for having me! The offseason has been good. Just working out a lot and got a little part-time job. But I already want it to be over. I am just missing baseball too much right now!
MLB reports: You just completed your 2nd season in Rookie Ball. Plus you are still 19-years of age! How have you found the process of getting adjusted to playing professional baseball?
Robby Rowland: It’s definitely a tough process. I used to think that pitching was very simple; that you just throw the ball and get outs. But I have found out that a lot goes into it. Coming from high school, the adjustment was a lot harder. It’s not just throwing the ball as hard as you can anymore. It’s about pitching to your strengths and trying to locate the ball down in the zone. The hitters in pro-ball will make you pay if you make a pitch up in the zone. I am no longer able to take any pitches off; I have to be zoned in the whole game. Aside from the pitching aspect of the game, I just love professional baseball! I get to live and breathe baseball without any interferences.
MLB reports: You were drafted by the Diamondbacks in the 3rd round of the 2010 draft. Did you expect to be drafted by Arizona and what round was supposed to be “your round”?
Robby Rowland: They were one of the teams that showed a lot of interest in me. It was tough to determine, just because I always had a lot of scouts at my high school games. But when it came down to it, I believe Arizona was in the top-4. Everyone told me the highest I would go was 2nd round and the lowest would be in the 4th round.
MLB reports: How did you first find out you were drafted: what was that like?
Robby Rowland: Well I had a couple family members over and we hooked up the computer to the TV in our living room so we were able to watch it on a big screen. My agent would call me and let me know that I might be selected here or there so it was kind of a roller coaster day. The names on the screen seemed to be going so slow. After the second round was completed I grew very anxious. I started thinking about the worst possible scenarios. My agent called me and told me the Diamondbacks were 50/50 in taking me. Right after I hung up with him- my area scout, Dee Brown, called me and told me they selected me. I saw my name on the screen and some highlights. Definitely a surreal moment.
MLB reports: Ever have to pinch yourself: does it feel like a dream playing professional baseball?
Robby Rowland: Haha I had to pinch myself a couple of times during those first few playing days. It’s something that I was born to do. I grew up around this game. My dad played for 10 years, so I was always around the game of baseball. My mom has a couple pictures of me when I was real young holding a couple of my dad’s bats and playing with baseballs around the house. I am just blessed that I am able to be playing the game I love for a living.
MLB reports: What other sports did you playing growing up? Given your height, did you ever consider pursuing basketball instead?
Robby Rowland: I played football when I was real young but it cut into my Fall Ball for baseball, so I only played one year. Yes actually I was always a basketball player. There were a couple of colleges that wanted me for a dual sport scholarship. It came down to my senior year until I decided to just focus on baseball. It was one of the toughest decisions I have ever made in my life. Still to this day, I miss basketball.
MLB reports: What are your most dominant pitches? Any new ones you are working on?
Robby Rowland: I like to say that all of my pitches are dominant. But if I had to throw my best pitch in a certain situation, I would go with my sinking fastball down at the knees. I am a firm believer in a fastball down in the zone with movement is the toughest pitch to hit. I am not necessarily working on new pitches, but when I was instructional league down in Arizona, the pitching coordinator got with me and really helped me to define my mechanics. Before I wasn’t using my lower half and my arm slot was too high, therefore my head was tilting to the left when I would throw. What he did was straighten my body out and helped me figure out how to use my lower half. I also dropped my arm slot a little bit getting some more sink on my ball. The key now is to try and figure out how to control all my pitches with this new delivery and arm slot.
MLB reports: How would you describe “your game”? What “type” of pitcher are you?
Robby Rowland: I like to say I am a strike thrower. I guess you could say that I am a little old school in the fact that I am going to go right after hitters with my best stuff. Almost a “here you go hit it” type of guy. In high school, I was always a strikeout type of overpowering pitcher. But when I got to pro ball, I realized that I needed to start pitching to contact. Keeping the ball down and getting lots of ground balls. It’s like the Bull Durham quote, “Strikeouts are boring, besides that they’re fascist. Throw a ground ball- it’s more democratic.”
MLB reports: Looking into a crystal ball, when do you expect to make it to the Show?
Robby Rowland: I couldn’t tell you that. Of course that’s the goal. But right now it’s about figuring out how to pitch, keep getting better, and when all that comes into play- then hopefully I will make it.
MLB reports: Long term: do you expect to stay a starter or will you consider a move to the pen?
Robby Rowland: I would like to stay a starter my whole life. My dad has always told me that starters have the life! Pitch every fifth day… who wouldn’t want that? But whatever my team needs me to do I am willing.
MLB reports: What are your goals for 2012?
Robby Rowland: I have a lot of goals for 2012. I feel like I have a lot to prove after a shaky 2011 season. My main goal is to get my mechanics dialed in and keep learning how to pitch. Of course I want to be on a full season roster and log a lot of innings. But I realize I am still young and it’s all about figuring out the concept of pitching. I am always just finding ways to get better.
MLB reports: If you weren’t playing baseball, you would be __________________
Robby Rowland: Oh man… I would have to say I would be playing basketball in college somewhere…
MLB reports: Favorite pre-game meal?
Robby Rowland: Gotta go with a Quiznos sandwich here. The Black Angus steak with extra sauce. Really gets me going.
MLB reports: What music are you currently listening to?
Robby Rowland: I have a wide variety.. I’ve always loved the classic rock.. Tom Petty, Boston, Lynyrd, Grand Funk Railroad- all those bands. I will also listen to a little bit of rap and hip hop. I currently just got into a little bit of country but I don’t really know any of the singers.
MLB reports: Funniest prank you ever saw in a clubhouse?
Robby Rowland: Ohhhh… there’s been a lot of good ones. I would have to say the time when some guys took a player’s stuff out of his locker and saran wrapped it to one of the benches in the locker room.
MLB reports: Final question: What would you most want to be remembered for in baseball when you hang up your spikes?
Robby Rowland: I want to be remembered as someone who played the game the right way. Someone who every time he put a jersey on, he played the game with respect. I also want to be a game changer. The guy that you can throw out there in a must-win game and know that there is a great chance that the ball club is going to get a win. Oh and not to mention maybe one of the best hitting pitchers to ever play the game… just saying…
MLB reports: Thank you for your time today Robby. It has been a blast speaking to you. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. We look forward to having you back on soon!
Robby Rowland: Thanks for everything man. Let me know if there is anything else I could do for you. Sure was a fun interview!
Thank you again to Robby Rowland for taking the time to join us today on MLB reports. We highly encourage our readers to post at the bottom of the article any questions and/or comments that you may have for Robby. As well, please follow Robby on Twitter (@RobbyRow_12)
Jonathan Hacohen is the Lead Baseball Columnist & Editor for MLB reports: You can follow Jonathan on Twitter (@JHacohen)
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