BRADENTON, Fla — Heading into the 2014 season, Jason Creasy wants to pick up right where he left off.
After a bit of a bumpy start to his minor league career when his throwing mechanics were altered, the Pirates’ prospect had a solid season a year ago, with a 6-4 record with a 2.74 ERA in 32 appearances for the West Virginia Power of the South Atlantic League.
The growth of his relationships with pitching coaches and other members of the Pirates organization are to thank for Creasy’s success.
“The first year I was just trying to get used to a couple things they were trying to change with me,” Creasy said. “Last year was my second year and I got a lot more comfortable with the pitching coaches and everything. My delivery of pitches just came a lot smoother than it did the year before.”
Changes made to Creasy’s pitching mechanics included lowering his arm action and altering his weight distribution on the mound to emphasize landing on his toe instead of his heel.
“Hopefully that will enable me to put away hitters,” Creasy said. “I had a little bit of trouble putting away hitters [with] two strikes, so hopefully now I’ll have that good out pitch.
”Pitching coaches have also been working with the 21-year-old on developing a consistent third pitch. Last season, the right-hander introduced a breaking ball to his repertoire, but he changed between a slider and a curveball over the course of the year.
Creasy hopes that finding a middle ground between the two pitches will be able to give him an effective tool to finish off batters.
When the native of Clayton, North Carolina is in need of extra motivation, he finds it in the form of his good friend and big-league pitcher Chris Archer of the Tampa Bay Rays, who he claims has been the most influential person on his career thus far.
“I started working out with [Archer] when I was in the seventh grade and I still work out with him now in the off-season,” said Creasy. “Whenever I get to a point where I’m like ‘I don’t want to do this,’ he’s been right there, pushing me the whole way.”
While Archer has a chance to become a mainstay in the Rays’ major-league rotation this year, Creasy claims he does not have any specific statistical goals for himself.
All he cares about is building on his progress from last season and continuing to feel confident and achieve success on the mound.