Archive Interview: Lucas Harrell

FutureSox interviewed Lucas Harrell back in 2006 upon his original call-up to Birmingham. Here's a look back. Interview conducted by Alex Ernst.

First off, how does it feel to be called up to Birmingham?
It's really nice, you know. I'm working on a lot of new things this
year and I feel like my progress has gotten a lot better. I did well at
the low A level, and now I'm hoping to do well at the AA level. I was
really excited.

How come you picked a start day to do this interview rather than
one of your off days?

Well, on my start day I don't have to be at the stadium until two hours
before the game. Our game is at seven o'clock tonight, so I have to be
there at five. I just have this little down time, where I just don't
think about anything. It's when I get to the field when I start putting
on my game [face].

Early in your professional career you had struggled with your
command and you talked about how it could be attributed to trying to
overpower professional hitters. Talk about the progress you've made
with your command and where you currently see yourself "command" wise?

The command in my movement, I throw a two-seam fastball, and early in my
career I threw it hard; actually, a little bit harder than I do now.
But, I couldn't control the movement. And then I learned that with a
little bit off I can still throw 92-93 (MPH), but I can control, and
with that pitch, being able to control that, that's really helped me
just with my other pitches. I mean, my change-up was always good, but
in high school I didn't throw it enough because it helped hitters out.
At this level, that's my second pitch. And then my slider is still a
pitch I really need to work on a lot. It's either there or it's not.
Maybe some days I'll throw two good ones in a game when I need to throw
eight or nine [good ones]. Some days I can throw nine or ten good ones,
and maybe one or two bad ones, so I need to get more consistent with my
slider. And, I mean, I can always improve my fastball command and my
change-up command, but those are two of my better ones.

Was there anyone in particular that has helped you with your
command? Maybe a pitcher coach or instructor?

Yeah. Last year when I was in Kannapolis, I got with J.R. Perdew in
spring training and that's when we tweaked my mechanics a little bit, to
change a few little things, and I noticed my command getting better.
And then there were some things that he taught me, like how to work
hitters, how hitters set you up, how you can set hitters up, and to work
to your strengths, keep it simple, and don't try to do too much. He's
really helped me in my development.

What is your plan on the mound? How do you go about attacking the

It depends. There are a couple guys where you see their teams a lot, so
the hitters make adjustments, and you have to make adjustments also
because if you don't, they'll start to hit you. You have to be able to
recognize what their strengths are and what are each hitter's
weaknesses, and try to exploit that. Therefore, you do pitch to some
different than you do others. I mean, with lefties, I'm going to attack
more with my fastball, change, and with righties, I'm going to attack
more with my fastball, slider, but I will mix in a change-up away to the
righties also.

How would you describe your arm angle during your delivery? Is it
overhand, ¾, sidearm?

I guess it's kind of three-quarters, maybe a little bit below.

What pitches do you throw? Also, are you working on anything new?
Right now, I'm not working on anything new. I'm just trying to keep the
ones I have good. But, I throw a four-seam fastball, a two-seam
fastball, a slider, well, it's kind of a slider-curve or slurve, and a

What would you consider your strikeout pitch?
It would probably be my circle-change. Actually, I'm a right-handed
pitcher, but I think I match up better against left-handed hitters.

Do you think your groundball tendencies will put you above other
SP prospects in the system, considering U.S Cellular is a big HR Park?

I would hope so, but, yeah, U.S. Cellular Field is definitely a field
where the ball flies out, so you want to be a good groundball pitcher. I
have a lot of natural downward movement to my change-up and my
fastball, so that's helped me get a lot of groundballs, and hopefully
that puts me ahead of some other prospects because I do get a lot of
groundballs. But, I'm still young, and I know it's a work in progress.

Do you think getting a chance to pitch with some top Sox pitching
prospects like Lance Broadway and Tyler Lumsden will help you in your

Yeah, no doubt. I actually watched Lance throw last night, I was in the
dugout, and I just picked up a couple little things he does; he attacks
hitters. But, I mean, I think you can learn something from everybody,
even the guys that are younger you, even though (laughs) I'm the
youngest one on this team, now. And Tyler Lumsden is a good pitcher,
smart. And another one is Corwin Malone. He's an older veteran guy, so
if you just sit and listen, you can learn something from everybody.

What teammate of yours has impressed you the most this year?
It might sound funny, but I'm going to say Chris Kelly. He was our
first baseman in Winston, and he hits the ball well. He's probably
hitting .270, .280; probably has about 15 homeruns. I think was leading
the league in RBI's, too, with about 60-something. But, he'll have a
bad at-bat, and some guys will come in there saying "f-this, f-that,"
and he'll come in there, set his helmet down, and he might even smile
because he knows that there's going to be another at-bat, don't get so
pissed off that it ruins the rest of your game. He doesn't take his
at-bat to the field. He is the best fielding first baseman that I've
ever played with, and he's just very professional, and does what it
takes to get the job done. If you need a hit in a clutch situation,
he's the guy that going to get your hit.

What are some things you need to improve in the future to make the

Consistency and also my mental side of the game. From last year to this
year, I know a heck of a lot more, and you have to recognize when guys
make adjustments to you. I think those things, and you've got to be
able to get out left-handed hitters. I know when Lance Broadway was
pitching last night, he was ahead of hitters, and you have to be ahead
of hitters because when you fall behind, you get hit. So, the mental
side of the game, staying ahead [in the count], and throwing pitches for
strikes at any time are the main things.

Primarily, you've pitched as a starter in the minors? Have you
ever pitched in the relief role, and if so, is that something someone in
the organization has ever approached you about doing?

No one has ever approached me about doing it, at least not to my face.
When I first got drafted in '04, I was sent to Bristol, and I actually
started out there throwing two or three relief appearances, and I
struggled. But then shortly after my last relief effort, they moved me
to starter, and I've started ever since.

Growing up as a kid, who was the player you tried to emulate? Are
there any players currently in the majors that you model yourself after?

Well, if you look at my high school draft video, I look almost exactly
like Nolan Ryan. That's who I wanted to throw like. I didn't quite
throw as hard, but actually, I threw harder in high school than I do
now. But, Nolan Ryan is a guy I really look up to. He took care of
business the way it was supposed to be done, and he had a long career.
Greg Maddux is another guy I really look up to.

If you had to chose, who is the one person that has helped you
throughout your baseball career the most and why?

My dad. I always had an interest in baseball since I was four or five
years old, and he didn't really push the game on to me like some parents
do. Every time I wanted to do something, he'd put the tools in front
of me so I could do it. Like, we had a batting cage in our back yard.
He spent money he didn't have to, for me to do stuff, do trips, and they
really put a lot of time and effort and love into it.

Best baseball memory?
I have two. In high school, my senior year we won the state
championship and that was a great feeling. Obviously, I want to win a
World Series one of these days, but I mean, I beat Blake DeWitt, who was
a first round draft pick of the Dodgers that year and I hit a homerun
off of him, and then the next day we won the state championship. That
was a pretty good feeling. And then last year, when we won the South
Atlantic League in Kannapolis, that was a pretty good feeling. We
worked hard all year. We didn't play well in the first half, but we
played really well as a team and did the little things to get the job
done. It was pretty awesome.

Do you have a nickname? If so, how did it come about?
They haven't really given me one. They call me "Ducas" sometimes, but
besides that, they haven't really given me one. Since I'm the youngest
one, they give me the most crap. I was the youngest one in rookie ball,
then in Kannapolis, and then this year in Winston-Salem and Birmingham.
I'll probably get one here. I've only been here a few days, so the
older guys will probably give me one.

Who's the toughest minor league hitter you've had to face this

There are two, and they both play for Myrtle Beach. Michael Rosamond,
who's actually in Mississippi now, is a left-handed hitter,
well-balanced, and he doesn't swing at stuff out of the zone. He's got a
good eye. And then, when you get ahead of the count, he'll foul of
five or six pitches to make you throw eight or nine pitches to him.
He's always a tough at-bat. And then another guy who's in Mississippi
now is Brandon Jones. Same kind of guy [as Rosamond]. He's a
left-handed hitter with power, and if you make a mistake, he'll hit it
out of the ballpark.

Is there any one song or CD that you listen to before you pitch to
get you pumped up for the game?

There's not a particular song. I just listen to some hard rock or rap,
whatever I'm in the mood for that day. Just something so I can sit
there and think about the game, but at the same time, get pumped up.
Favorite Baseball Team growing up?
American League = Royals
National League = Braves
Favorite Movie?
Favorite Food?
Chinese Food
Lastly, what's the best prank you've pulled on a teammate or seen

When I was in the instructional league, I got a prank pulled on me.
They almost pulled it off, but I was sick and I didn't feel good. It
was early in the morning and I had fallen asleep in my locker. So, they
turned the clock to where it said 9:45, when we were supposed to be
stretching. Then Snyder comes in and starts yelling, but I had my cell
phone in my hand. Anyway, he starts yelling "What are doing!" And
everybody is out in the hallway, listening. I didn't look at the clock
on the wall, though, because if I would have, I wouldn't have known, but
for some reason, I looked at my phone and saw what time it was. So, I
was just like "What's going on?" All the guys say that they got me
because I did jump up at first because I was kind of startled. And they
were all laughing. It was kind of funny.

Filed under: Interviews

Tags: Lucas Harrell, White Sox

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