Jul 27th, 2009
Interview with Dan Remenowsky
White Sox pitching prospect and Kannapolis (Low A) 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.
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!