Q&A with St. Lucie Pitching Coach Dan Murray

Murray likes how Niese is intent on learning

We caught up with St. Lucie Pitching Coach Dan Murray to talk to him the progress of Jonathon Niese, how Deolis Guerra is coming along with his curveball, why they moved Jose De La Torre into the rotation, and more.

InsidePitchMagazine.com: Jonathon Niese is not getting off to the same start he had a year ago. What have you seen from this year and how is the development of his curveball and changeup going in particular?

Dan Murray: He's been great. He works hard, he learns quick, and he's a good student of the game. I didn't see him much last year, but from what I've seen this year is he's very intent on learning and understanding the game. He's just been great to help out, basically. The curveball has developed real nicely. He's done a great job with that. He's throwing strikes with it, throwing it as a swing-and-miss pitch, he's been fantastic. The changeup is coming along nicely, so things are looking good for him. He just needs innings. He's doing great with everything and the more innings he gets, the quicker he's going to develop.

Inside Pitch: He's out right now with an injury, but what have you see from Deolis Guerra this season?

Murray: First of all, he's super-intelligent. He's a very intelligent young man. He's eager to learn and he's open to everything. His maturity as an 18-year old is off the charts. He's been fantastic. The development of the curveball has been great. He's worked hard at it. It's got really good rotation, he's learning how to throw it for strikes, he's starting to gain a lot of confidence in it, and his upside has been fantastic. As he gets older and his body develops more, I think he still has more left in there [velocity-wise]. And of course his changeup has been off the charts. His changeup is one of the best pitches I've seen in a long time.

Inside Pitch: Bobby Parnell was struggling with that oblique injury last year and now that he's healthy, he's putting up some good numbers. What have you seen from him this year and is he developing that third pitch to go along with his great fastball-slider combination?

Murray: Yeah, absolutely. He's slowly getting confidence in his changeup. The thing that impresses me the most about Bobby is his focus. It's been awesome. Every pitch, every inning, he's locked in. His focus, intensity, and work ethic have been really, really good.

Inside Pitch: Jose De La Torre flourished in the bullpen last year and this year he's starting. What was the reason for the shift into the rotation?

Murray: I think it's an innings thing. We want to give him as many innings as possible to help him develop all of his pitches. He's done that real well too. He's getting through five innings every time now. He's developing all three of his pitches. His changeup has become a plus pitch, it really has. We're seeing a lot of good things out of Jose. Most importantly he's an athlete. As long as he feels good, everything's fine. He's athletic, he moves really well, and he's quick with everything he does.

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