Interview with Dan Remenowsky

White Sox pitching prospect, closer Dan
Remenowsky, took some time recently to have a conversation with
FutureSox’s Matt Cassidy. Remenowsky was signed as an undrafted free
agent in 2008, and despite being a relative unknown, has done nothing
but put up great numbers against Rookie level and Low-A competition.
FutureSox wanted to know more, and Dan delivered.

Were you surprised to not see your name called in the draft?
Did the fact that you weren’t drafted add any extra motivation? And do
you have any advice for other college players who don’t get drafted?

Ahh I get this question often, haha. To be honest I was pretty upset
and devastated that I wasn’t drafted at all, kind of made me question
the whole ordeal, but I definitely think it added motivation to try and
succeed. I have a very supportive family but also great friends who
were there for me. They helped me get through the process, and we knew
it would be a long road, but I’m glad that I’ve started on that journey
with the White Sox. I don’t know what type of advice to give because I
think it differs for different people, but I sat down with my parents
and tried to map out how I could get into affiliate ball. I went to MLB
showcases, and then as soon as I got a call from Windy City, through my
Dad’s networking, I went straight there. All I wanted to do was pitch
and I think the rest is history. 10 days later the White Sox got a deal
done.

Have you met or spoken with any of the other undrafted guys
in the organization (like C.J. Retherford, Ehren Wassermann, or Chase
Blackwood), about their similar experiences?

It’s funny because I had a locker right next to C.J. in spring
training and didn’t realize that he was undrafted. I didn’t get a
chance to talk to him about anything important really, but he seemed
like a very likable guy. I could see that he kinda knew the ins and
outs of things, so I tried to pick up little things from him since it
was my first spring training. Other than that I haven’t met the other
guys.

You dominated pitching in your college conference for four
years, but some of your numbers dropped off a bit your senior year. Do
you think that is why you weren’t drafted? Was there an injury, or
change of approach, that caused that?

I think my velocity dropped off a bit, but I was able to learn the
mental side to pitching with my pitching coach. I’m sure my velocity
was one of the reasons why my stock might have fallen, but scouts could
see that I understood how to pitch as well as set up batters and attack
the strike zone. There was an injury to my lower back my junior summer
that might have changed my mechanics a bit, but other than that I think
teams in my conference had seen me for 4 years and kind of knew how I
pitched. I’m not really sure why the numbers weren’t the same, but it
didn’t seem like I threw as much my senior year as I had in the past.
The season sort of flew by and before I knew it, my college career was
over.

Have you gotten to meet or speak with any of the guys on the
major league club? If so, what were your impressions?

I got to meet Jim Thome in spring training. Buddy Bell introduced me
to him and I think he might have been one of the nicest people I’ve
ever met and it definitely took me by surprise. Carlos Quentin, Bartolo
Colon and Freddy Garcia have all been through here (Kannapolis) on
rehab assignments and they couldn’t have treated us any better. I’ve
had some great experiences with all of them, I think they all know where
they came from and were looking out for us. It’s great to know that
they tried giving back to us a bit in anyway they could, not that they
should have for any reason. They definitely went out of their way.

Tell us about your experience being signed out of the
Frontier League – how did that work? Who did you meet, if anyone, prior
to signing?

It was pretty exciting. I made one start and I believe there were a
few teams interested. A deal fell through the first time, but I made
another appearance and that was it. My agent had some ties with Buddy
Bell and thankfully they were able to get a deal done. It was a good
experience because I learned from the older players who had been in
affiliated ball how things worked. I was able to come into the system
feeling more comfortable that I knew how the business was run to a
certain extent.

If you hadn’t been signed, and weren’t going to play baseball
professionally, what would you be doing instead?

That’s tough to answer because I still have some more school to
finish. Baseball’s a passion of mine and I think I would have tried to
get in any way possible. Maybe try networking for a front office job
haha, I’m not really sure.

Has the organization given you any plan for the future or
timetables for your progression? Will we be seeing you promoted to
High-A Winston-Salem this season?

Yeah I’ve been given some general timetables that I was happy to
hear, but I don’t think it would be professional to share how exactly
the meetings have gone. I believe there are still players ahead of me
deserving a promotion because I think I’m still paving my own way with
the organization. The best way to put it is that I’d be very happy to
move up to a new level because it’s one more step closer to my ultimate
goal of making it to the Show. I think the more polished I can get
myself here the better I can be in the long run.

Given that there seems to be virtually no scouting
information available about you, can you tell us about your pitch
repertoire? What pitches you throw, what velocity you throw them at,
what sort of movement, etc.

I have a 4-seam fastball, sinker, split, change, and spike curve.
Right now I’m working on my fastball and changeup combo, but my splitter
is my best secondary pitch. My fastball is 88-92, but still working to
bump that up a little bit more, my changeup and splitter had similar
velocities so I’m working on dropping my changeup lower and perhaps get
more depth to be an above average pitch. I think my command is my best
asset. I just throw the ball to the glove and don’t worry about the
things I can’t control.

Judging by your K rate, how does it feel to throw an
invisible baseball? Seriously though, are strikeouts your goal, or
would you be happier getting a first-pitch ground out? And do you have
one pitch that has been your strikeout pitch?

Haha, our pitching coach Larry Owens said that to me earlier in the
season. I would much rather prefer to get a guy out on the first three
pitches no matter what. I think a key for me is that I’m able to get
ahead of the guys, and put them away when I have 2 strikes. I try to
throw my fastball to four different spots and I think not throwing the
ball down the middle of the plate has helped me so far this year.

From the few pictures and videos we could find, you seem to
have an unorthodox approach and a very high leg kick. How do you feel
this has helped you? Do you think it makes the ball tougher for hitters
to pick up? How did you develop your approach?

I think it helps me get my arm through quicker, and it’s just become a
habit for me. I don’t realize how high it is now and I’m surprised
myself when I see the pictures. This might help get a little more
deception, it’s just what I’m comfortable with so if anything I need to
work on keeping it more compact with runners on base. It started as a
joke with my pitching coach in college because I didn’t want to pitch
with the phone booth technique my freshman year, and then it just kept
getting higher and higher. My windup was similar to Bronson Arroyo
without the long golden flowing hair. I just prefer the stretch,
keeping with the same motion every time out because it’s easier to
repeat.

What area of your game are you most interested in trying to
improve on? What aspect of your pitching are you most proud of?

Right now I’m trying to bugs bunny my changeup, take some velocity
off it since it’s around 80. I’d like to get as comfortable throwing it
as my fastball, but I think that’s going to take some time because it’s
hard while I’m closing games. The last thing I want to do is blow a
lead, I take losing more personally then winning. I’m a thrill seeker
and nothing compares to when you’re closing games out and the
adrenaline’s flowing through you. I’m excited that I’ve been given
those opportunities this season.

-OK, now some easy questions, just for fun…

What was your favorite baseball team (or teams) growing up?

Born and raised in Cincinnati. The Reds. I’m glad they’re not in
the American League.

Who were your favorite players? Any particular pitchers you
modeled yourself after?

I love watching Manny Ramirez, Ken Griffey Jr. and Josh Beckett.
They can be so dominant, or were while I was growing up. I didn’t know
much about the White Sox growing up, but I do like watching Bobby Jenks
now. I never really tried modeling the way I pitch after someone else,
but I like how Josh Beckett pitches. Mark Buehrle is great watching how
he sets up hitters.

What stadium has been your favorite to play in thus far?

Lakewood was awesome because it was in a great location and I was
able to make it to New York City for the first time. It’s great to go
to Lake County (Ohio) because I get to see all my family and friends,
it’s always nice to get a home cooked meal.

If you could play a position on the field other than pitcher,
what would it be? And how is your hitting?

I always liked playing the outfield, try and throw someone out. My
hitting is a little suspect, but I guarantee I’m not going to get
cheated up there. You’d see some full blown hacks, maybe even a pulled
back, but I’d hit that white thing a mile if I got a hold of it.

What is the strangest thing you’ve seen happen on the field?

I’ve seen a triple play already this year, nothing really beats that.
You got to love the head on collisions at the plate though!

What music do you like to listen to? If you got to come out
of the bullpen to close a big league baseball game, what song would you
want playing?

I’m a hard rock kind of guy, but none of that heavy screaming or emo
stuff. I like a lot of pop and alternative, but I’m not a big country
or rap fan. To come into a big league game you’d have to have your own
song, but also let people know you’re there, and not cliché…I think mine
would be Mudayne’s- Happy.

Favorite movie(s)?

Way too many to name, I like a lot of comedy, action, thriller,
horror, drama…anything really. I’ll take on any challengers for the
movie game. The best movies I’ve seen lately were Transformers Revenge
of the Fallen and The Hangover.

You were playing briefly for Windy City in the Frontier
League. Did you get to know Chicago at all, as a city? What did you
think of it?

No I wanted to. I have a cousin that lives in Wrigleyville, that
might take away some of my street cred haha, but I hadn’t been to
Chicago since UConn men’s basketball team won the NCAA tournament
beating out Duke in 1999! I love Chicago style pizza though, Gino’s
East of Chicago I believe it was. That stuff is amazing. I would
definitely like to go back, but preferably not sight seeing.

And finally, have you had a chance to look around SoxTalk
and/or FutureSox yet? What do you think of it?

My mom looks at all the blogs and fills me in at times. She keeps me
posted pretty well, and from what I’ve seen of the site it seemed very
informative. A lot of interesting stuff! It was a pleasure taking the
time for these questions, thanks for asking me for the interview!

FutureSox would like to thank Dan for taking the time to
answer the questions and wish him luck the rest of the season!

Filed under: Interviews

Tags: Dan Remenowsky, White Sox

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