CLEARWATER FL — If you ever wondered ‘When am I ever going to use this?’ about something you learned at school, Philadelphia Phillies’ pitching prospect Matt Sisto proves sometimes, you do.
It was called the three-pitch rule, something engrained in him at the University of Hawaii, and that has served him well.
Drafted to the Phillies in 2012, Sisto still prefers to put the ball in play rather than rely solely on a strike out.
“At school we were engrained in our heads the three pitch rule. You had either three pitches to get him out, or on base,” said Sisto, at the Phillies’ minor league complex.
“So, that’s just kind of what I’ve stuck with. I like to attack hitters … I’m not afraid to force contact.”
Last season with the Williamsport Crosscutters, Sisto continued to display his ability to find the strike zone walking only 11 batters in 41 innings pitched in relief.
As his sophomore season with the organization begins, it appears Sisto has no intentions of switching up his style.
“Any time you can go out there and get outs it doesn’t matter how you do it, they like it,” said Sisto, sitting on the bleachers at the Phillies multi-field complex, certainly a different view of the diamond than he’s used to.
He said the approach takes teammates a while to get used to, but it keeps them in the game and ready for plays. It suggests a lot of confidence in those around him, an admirable quality from the young California native.
“I’ve got nine defenders, and hitting is the hardest thing to do, so I take my chances,” Sisto said. “Once they get used to my pitching, they know I do throw strikes but they stay in the game and they’re ready for balls.
“I don’t rely on strikes, I put the ball in play.”
Keeping engaged for some players may be difficult for those in the Gulf Coast League at the complex, as most spectators, outside of visiting family, aren’t often allowed. It could affect the intensity, but not for Sisto.
“You’re still out here competing against other teams, and everyone’s fighting for a spot on the final roster,” Sisto said. “You don’t need fans in here to find the motivation to go out there and perform.”