Robby Rowland was drafted out of high school by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 3rd round of the 2010 draft. Since the draft, Rowland has had his share of difficulties, going a combined 6-13, with a 7.01 ERA, over his 2010 and 2011 seasons.
After the rough start to his baseball career, the D-backs traded Rowland away to the Pittsburgh Pirates earlier this season. The change of pace has turned out to be a good thing for Rowland, as he’s really turned things around in 2012 with the West Virginia Power (class A affiliate of the Pirates).
So far this season, Rowland has gone 6-3, with a 3.39 ERA. (Truly a remarkable turnaround from the 8.07 ERA he posted just a year ago.)
If Rowland can continue to improve the way he has from last season to now, he should have no problem working his way up through the ranks of the organization.
Robby Rowland–pitcher in the Pirates’ organization–took the time recently to answer some of my questions:
1.) At what age did you first become interested in baseball? Who was your biggest baseball influence growing up?
Well, mom and dad say I became interested in it when I saw my first baseball…picked it up, and threw it. They said it had good movement on it. [My biggest influence] has to be my old man. Growing up going to his games–always traveling to see him play–made me really fall in love with the game of baseball.
2.) Who was your favorite baseball player growing up? Why?
I really idolized Roger Clemens. My dad got to catch him one year with Boston and he would always talk about the type of competitor he was and how hard he worked. I want to be noticed that way as well.
3.) You were drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 3rd round of the 2010 draft. What was that process like for you? Where were you when you found out? Initial thoughts?
It was definitely a roller coaster ride; very fun and stressful at the same time. Being still in high school I had to worry about getting good grades and making sure my academic side was all taken care of before I even stepped foot on the diamond. But just having scouts call and text you about games and what not was very cool. [As for the draft] I was watching it on my computer in the living room. Felt almost like a dream.
4.) After two seasons in the Diamondbacks’ organization you were traded to the Pirates. Were there any major differences that you noticed between the two teams/leagues?
[There’s] always going to be a couple of things different, but for the most part everyone here within the Pirates organization has made the transition very smooth for me.
5.) After a couple of rough years in the D-backs organization you’ve really turned things around this season with the Pirates. What’s been the biggest difference for you, in your opinion, that’s enabled you to have this success?
I think what really saved my career was reinventing myself during Instructional league last year and in the off season. The Pitching coordinator with the D-backs was really helpful with that part. Just being able to constantly fill up the bottom half of the zone and by doing that gain the confidence back that was once there when I got drafted.
6.) What’s one thing you feel has really come a long way, in terms of your pitching, since you began your baseball career? What’s something you feel still needs work?
I’m constantly working on something. I’m a perfectionist, and there is always something I need to be doing. In high school it was so easy to blow guys away with balls right down the middle, and not have to worry about anything else. But now in pro ball, the ability to go in and out with your fastball, and change speeds, is huge.
7.) Favorite thing to do on an off day during the season?
Probably go to the movies. I’m a huge movie buff, and I go see one any chance I get.
8.) Favorite TV show?
I literally only watch ESPN…except I do like “The Walking Dead”. I don’t know why, but I’m a huge fan of zombies.
9.) With your food addiction I’m sure this is a tough one for you: Favorite food?
Wow. You’re right, very tough. But I’m going to have to go with Mom’s tostadas. I don’t know how she does it, but I could probably eat them everyday during the off season.
10.) Lastly, what advice would you give to kids who are just starting out that dream of playing professional baseball one day?
Big thanks to Robby Rowland for taking the time to answer my questions.
You can follow him on twitter: @RobbyRow_12