, drafted out of Fresno Pacific University, made an early impression on the young Cyclones staff. Though he made just one start in his first seven appearances, Schwinden's consistently located fastball gave him an advantage against swing-happy NYPL hitters. In his first 22.1 innings pitches, he posted a 0-1 record and a 1.61 ERA and effectiveness, combined with his fastball, was enough to push the coaches to move him into the rotation.
Schwinden took advantage. In his debut as a starter on July 18, he blanked the Oneonta Tigers
over six innings, allowing just one hit and striking out five. It was a move and an opportunity he appreciated from the start.
"I never thought I'd get this opportunity to pitch so much, but I got my shot and I did my best with each outing. I just kept things simple and took it start by start," he said.
He could not have been any more impressive in his next two starts as he tossed 13 shutout innings, striking out 19 and giving up just five hits and one walk. The momentum carried him into All-Star recognition, distinction that confirmed his unflinching motivation.
"Every time I go out there, I'm trying to be the best I can be. I want to be the top pitcher, but I think that's something every pitcher thinks," he said.
"The motivation is that every time I go out there, I'm facing some of the best hitters I've ever seen and I want to try to get them out with every pitch. Facing pro hitters is an adrenaline rush and that's pretty much my motivation."
Schwinden does not get fancy with the opposition. He pumps in his 90-92 MPH fastball, moving on both sides of the plate and using in any count. His fastball is his most comfortable pitch, he does not lack confidence with it even when behind the count and is the result of being such an aggressive pitcher.
"I pitch for contact and avoid walks because the higher percentage of runs comes from walks, so I'm out there to pitch and not nibble. Attacking the zone works out well for me because I'll see more outs that way," he explained.
Perhaps more than anything, his confidence and clear mind have helped him achieve success which he attributes to Brooklyn pitching coach Hector Berrios' hands-off approach in-game. But he also knew there was much to learn from Berrios.
"This season, the coaches have really let me pitch my own game and that's let me figure out all the different situations about pitching," said Schwinden.
"There is still a lot to learn, but being with Hector here, he's allowed me to expand my knowledge of what to throw to hitters in specific situations and counts. Working on picking my spots and choosing the right pitch is something I'll continue to work on."
The Mets drafted right-hander Chris Schwinden in the 22nd round of last June's draft and it did not take long for him to make his mark in the Cyclones rotation. He does not have the heat or the depth in repertoire like some of his peers, but what he brought was a steady approach focused on attacking hitters.