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“Overall, I think I’ve done well this year. I started off the season slow, but I made the changes mechanically and physically. Now, our team is playing out of it’s mind and hopefully we’ll get back into the playoffs and win this thing again,” said Kevin Tomasiewicz.
That is the positive attitude he has carried all season. Coming off a very productive 2006 season in Hagerstown in which he was 6-2 with a 2.60 earned run average in 47 games, the southpaw worked to attain the same success in his first season with St. Lucie. Thanks to a 5-1 record, a 3.60 ERA and .237 opponents’ batting average, he looks back on this season on a high note.
In addition to his work in the Florida State League, Tomasiewicz spent a month in the Binghamton bullpen. While his tenure with the B-Mets was not as extended as he had hoped, he returned to St. Lucie with lessons learned and a fixed knowledge of how to move forward.
“I was really excited to move up there mid-season, and I was used in a lefty specialist role and I really enjoyed it,” he said of his time in Double-A. “I think if I can the opportunity next year to pitch in Binghamton, the month I spent there this year will really benefit me because I’ll have a better idea of how to go after hitters.”
As a left-handed reliever, his game is all about attacking lefties at the plate. To his credit, he has done admirably in those situations (lefties have hit .215 off him this season), but he knows there is constantly room for improvement.
“I’ve gotten better at getting left-handers out,” he said. “But, I really need to be even more consistent with that because it’s my job.”
What will help reach the success he desires are more mature compliments to his fastball—specifically his curveball and changeup, both of which he recognizes are still works in progress.
“Eddie Camacho, who has been a valuable lefty in this organization for a long time, taught me to how to effectively use the changeup, which I hadn’t used much since college.”
“I need to continue to develop my changeup and be able to throw it away to left-handers which should induce more groundballs,” he said. “As for my curveball, it is coming along good. When I was first drafted in 2005, it was a more 12-to-6 curveball but it has since developed more a hard slider-like break. I’m learning how to aim it in the zone so it can break away from lefties at the right time.”
Throughout the season, he worked extensively on his breaking ball with St. Lucie pitching coach Dan Murray, Binghamton pitching coach Rickey Bones and Mets’ pitching coordinator Rick Waits.
“Working with the coaches has been great. They’ve all shown me different grips to use and I really feel like the curve is coming along great and I just can’t wait for it to get even better,” said Tomasiewicz.
Another adjustment the lefty made was to his delivery, specifically, the timing of his hands in his wind-up. Before, he would begin his delivery with his hands down near his belt, but found that approach caused his pitches to flatten out, making him wild around the strike zone. He attributes the change as the reason for greater command this season.
“I set my hands up near my head which allows me to stay on the top of the ball more and get a bit more sinking action, on my fastball specifically,” he explained.
The long term goal of all his development as a lefty in the bullpen is to become more than a specialist; a role which settles on many lefties due to their inability to get outs from the right side. For Tomasiewicz, he is dedicated to making sure he does not befall the same fate.
“I think as a lefty, if you can get right-handers out, you’ll stay in the game longer, and really make it up the ladder. If I can’t, I’ll be on a short hook most of the time. I’d like to be able to force the coaches to leave me in by proving that I can get guys out on both sides of the plate,” he explained.
What this year has taught Tomasiewicz is that he has the ability to be a reliable arm within the organization. His short time in Binghamton has provided him the confidence and belief that he can get to where he wants to be. Yet, he knows he will not achieve much in the long run if he cannot harness his tools now.
“I’ve almost met my goals. This year, I made it up another level and spent June with Binghamton, but now I’m back in St. Lucie and helping them win. As progression goes, I’m pleased but I’m always striving for me. Next year, I’d like to stand out in Binghamton and maybe get a call up to New Orleans, but my work needs to show that I deserve it first, which is what I’ll always continue to work on,” he concluded.