May 21, 2014
For the second time in three years, the Lansing Lugnuts are using a piggybacking system to break in a talented young rotation. Right-hander Alberto Tirado is one of the young arms taking part in the piggyback system to adjust for a full season workload.
Discussing what decisions goes into a piggyback system, Lansing Lugnuts Pitching Coach Vince Horsman highlighted the benefits of the system: “The good thing about the piggyback system is it gets guys used to starting and relieving,” Horsman explained. “The great thing is everybody gets opportunities to start, but it really helps getting a young group of pitchers their required innings.”
“Alberto is doing a good job,” he added. “He’s a young guy that needs innings. He competes every outing and will only get better with experience.”
The piggyback system is nothing new for Tirado who was part of the same system last season in Bluefield. Tirado was 3-0 with a 1.68 ERA and 44 strikeouts in 48 1/3 innings of work in the Appalachian League.
Currently in Lansing, Tirado is 1-0 with a 3.03 ERA, 31 strikeouts, and a save in 29 2/3 innings in the Midwest League. Command has been his biggest weakness in Lansing as Tirado has walked 28 batters, but he has done an excellent job pitching around base runners all year.
His biggest adjustment has been entering the game out of the bullpen. But Tirado definitely sees benefits to learning how to be a reliever.
“Working in the bullpen is something I haven’t done a lot of, but I’m adjusting to it,” explained the 19-year-old. “I’ve been a starter most of my life, but I see the benefits of learning how to do both because I don’t know where I will be in the future.”
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Another benefit to pitching in Lansing has been Tirado’s opportunity to work with Pitching Coach Vince Horsman whom Tirado has only praise.
“I really like working with Horsman,” stated Tirado. “Vince is always straight forward with me and helps me a lot with my game. He’s a great guy to work with.”
While on the mound, Tirado is more focused on hitting the strike zone than the velocity of his pitches. Tirado shared his pitch repertoire and his approach to the game.
“I use four pitches. A fastball, sinker, slider, and changeup,” explained Tirado. “I don’t focus on my pitch velocity. I’m more focused on attacking the strike zone. I feel my ability to throw strikes is my biggest strength as a pitcher and when I’m doing well attacking the zone it gives me more confidence as a pitcher.”
Watch for Alberto Tirado as he continues to attack the strike zone for years to come.