MD: How did it feel to be drafted by an organization like the New York Mets?
MC: It was awesome to be drafted by the New York Mets. To know I would have a chance to pitch in the greatest city in America is a major blessing. We have an amazing coaching staff and leaders who are serious about winning. The Mets are always competitive, and with the grace of health will continue to fight for playoffs annually. I only hope to be a contributor to them in the future.
MD: Who has been your biggest influence as a pitcher?
MC: I have a family friend by the name of Charles "Sonny" Matthews who coached and mentored me in baseball my entire career since I played coach pitch in the Pony Leagues. He taught me a lot of what I know about the game and how to play it. Also, I give credit to all the other coaches I have had along the way from High School to College and now Pro-Ball who have considerably influenced my learning and development in the game.
MD: 2010 was a breakout year for yourself.. Talk about your season as a whole, and how enjoyable was it to reach AA?
MC: In a few words, I was blessed the entire season. I learned more about the art of pitching in this season than I have any other season of my career because of the many talented players and teams I faced. Also, my mental maturation really excelled once I reached AA. I was really excited to reach AA, and just like any other guy, nervous. It was a big jump but our executive leaders had strong faith in my ability to react and adjust at the new level.
MD: Talk about receiving the Sterling Organizational Pitcher of the Year award.. That is quite an honor..
MC: You said it perfectly, it is the highest honor I have received in my career thus far. The award ceremony was one of the greatest experiences a minor league baseball player could have, and I was able to meet some of the big leaguers who gave me inspiration for the future. I thank the staff for choosing me as such an elite honor, and there were numerous guys like Dillon Gee who were worthy and deserving of the award. I feel blessed that they chose me over the other great season performances. I hope that the award is a reflection of the amount of work put into the season. I like the idea of the award because it gives me incentive to continue to perform.
MD: Man, you had a stretch in June, before your call-up to Bingo, of 33 1/3 straight scoreless innings, including 3 straight shutouts. Have you ever been in such a groove, and looking back on it now, what do you think about that streak?
MC: It was probably the coolest period of success I've enjoyed since my best statistical performances in the season were consecutive. I was suprised myself even just after doing twice. I would say that was the first time I've been in a groove like that pitching. I experienced similar zones to it, but nothing of that magnitude. Looking back, that will definitely be a highlight of my career no matter how much I accomplish. It was definitely a unique streak, and I will only have to work twice as hard to ever achieve that again.
MD: Talk about the difference between Low-A hitters and AA hitters.
MC: The hitters in AA have a very good understanding of the strike zone and do not swing outside of the zone like a Low-A hitter would. Also, AA hitters are very patient and will wait until late in the count to hit the ball whereas an inexperienced Low-A hitter was more aggressive and looked for anything early to swing at. Last, the AA hitters adjusted very quickly, they would learn your out-pitch and what pitches aren't working that day, and exploit that information.
MD: After a couple of tough outings in AA you seemed to settle in just nicely, with a 1.62 ERA over your last 6 starts. What changed for you over those starts?
MD: Are you out to prove to yourself or others that you can accomplish your ultimate goal of reaching the big leagues?