Waechter Has Time on his Side|
by: Patrick Hickey, Jr. | Senior Writer - NY Sports Day | Sunday, September 9, 2007
Working entirely too slow on the mound earlier in the season, Cyclones starter Nick Waechter’s pace reminded many of former Met Steve Trachsel’s, but without the success that usually came with it.
Now working extremely quick when on the rubber, thanks to tutelage of the Brooklyn coaching staff, Waechter has gone 5-2 with a 2.72 ERA in his past ten starts and has played a huge role in the team’s playoff bound season.
However, after losing his first two starts this season in less than stellar fashion, Waechter looked like he was headed to the bullpen. That is before the coaching staff was forced to deal with season-ending injuries to J.J. Leaper and Todd Privett and decided to try and break down Waechter’s game and find out what his problem was. Luckily for him, not only did the coaching staff find out what was wrong, they forced him to adapt, making a huge difference in his play down the stretch this season.
“When he works slowly, he has too much time to think about what he wants to do on the mound,” said Cyclones manager Edgar Alfonzo. “When he’s working fast, he keeps his stuff down and he’s much more effective. Over his past few starts, he’s really shown how hard he’s worked all season.”
Easily one of the Cyclones most dominant pitchers this year, Waechter believes most of his success is due to the coaching staff that never gave up on him, especially when hot shot rookies like Mike Antonini and Dylan Owen needed more playing time. Not missing a start all season, the 23-year old is grateful for the opportunity to be pitching every fifth day.
“I’ve been just trying to get my mechanics down and Hector [Berrios, Cyclones pitching coach] has been helping me a lot. I’m a lot more comfortable on the mound now than I was before,” said Waechter. “The games I wasn’t pitching as well as I would have liked to, my pace on the pound was a lot slower. The coaching staff noticed it and has made sure I’m more deliberate and quick and the mound. My tempo is much better now.”
While feeling that the quickness of his tempo plays a big part in his success Waechter also believes that the Cyclones defense has been his saving grace this year.
“Even if I don’t have my best stuff, working at a faster pace keeps hitters off balance,” said Waechter, who threw a one-hit complete game shutout last week against the Hudson Valley Renegades, while throwing only 84 pitches. “They have less time to think and when I’m on the mound, I know what I want to do, so it gives me an advantage, but I also think the defense here has helped me a lot as well. I love playing here, these guys help me out so much. I can just pitch here and have them take of everything else. I don’t even worry about getting strikeouts here, I’m just putting the ball over and letting them take care of business.”
However despite having a coaching staff that has molded him into a solid young hurler and a defense that gobbles up everything that’s hit his way, Waechter biggest asset may be his maturity and work ethic, which he believes has changed a lot since his college days, where he didn’t have to work as hard to be successful.
Perhaps understanding that he’s reached the make or break time point in his young career is concerned, Waechter is out to make up for lost time on the mound. While the jury is still out on how successful he’ll be in the future, if Waechter keeps working as quickly as he has been as of late, the Cyclones may still be sitting atop the McNamara division when the season is over.
“I had a coach in summer ball in Portland that basically told me the same things Hector has told me and I think now it’s finally sunken in,” said Waechter, who was 12-0 with the Wildcats during his senior year in college. “I struggled a bit in college with my work ethic; I was lazy and I took my time a little bit too much. This year is my first real season in pro ball, so I just want to be as consistent as I can and learn from my mistakes.”