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RHP Chase Mallard Succeeds in Many Roles

Chase Mallard is a finesse pitcher entering his third professional season

RHP Chase Mallard Succeeds in Many Roles

February 17, 2016

Chase Mallard

RHP Chase Mallard will take part in his second Spring Training in 2016. (Kyle Castle)

In recent years the game has really cut down on control pitchers; the guys who throw all their pitches for strikes and generally retire guys with pinpoint location instead of velocity.

With major league teams focusing more on power pitchers, it can be extremely difficult to make it to the top in this role. White it’s challenging, it’s not impossible with the right coaching and mindset.

Toronto Blue Jays right-handed pitching prospect Chase Mallard hopes to be one of the select few that defy the odds stacked against him and climb the ladder to The Show. Understanding that his progression is going to be a process over the next couple of seasons, Mallard comes to the ballpark every day eager to learn.

“Every time I’m out there it’s a process at this stage in my career,” explained Mallard. “Whether it’s in practice, or in a game it’s a process. I’m just trying to get better.”

Adjusting to full season baseball proved to be challenging for the prospect who didn’t jump off the page with the low-A Lansing Lugnuts. Finishing the season with a 6-8 record and a 5.49 ERA wasn’t exactly what the 24-year old pitcher was looking for in his second professional season.

But it’s all part of the process. A major positive from Mallard’s season was the fact that he led his team in innings pitched with 123 and finished third on the club in strikeouts with 86. Another promising sign was the prospects versatility. Used as a starter, long reliever, and closer in 2015. Mallard stayed extremely cool with the game on the line as he successfully completed all four save opportunities he attempted.

Every time I’m out there it’s a process at this stage in my career.

Despite a few struggles during the season Lansing Lugnuts pitching coach Jeff Ware remains high on Mallard’s future within the Blue Jays organization. Especially impressed with the prospects capability to be a student of the game Ware feels Mallard is on the right path for continued success in upcoming seasons.

“I really like Chase Mallard,” stated Ware. “Chase is a finesse pitcher. He uses a sinker, slider, changeup combo. He has a lot of ability. Chase is also a student of the game. He goes out there with a good delivery. That’s what we’re looking for in a pitcher. If he can continue to do that in the game of baseball he’ll do well in the future.”

Mallard also uses a 4-seam fastball to compliment the three pitches Ware alluded to. Generally sitting around the 90 mile per hour mark with the 4-seamer. It’s important for the prospect to get a lot of ground balls with his sinker as he’s not going to blow too many professional hitters away with his velocity.

Known for his ability to keep the baseball down in the strike zone was the skill that Blue Jays scouts liked about Mallard when he was at the University of Alabama-Birmingham.

Logging 257 collegiate innings in his four seasons as UAB; Mallard went 16-12 with a 2.70 ERA. The righty also racked up 208 strikeouts for the Blazers, while maintaining an impressive 1.18 WHIP and a respectable 7.28 K/9 ratio.

“UAB prepared me well for pro ball,” said Mallard. “UAB knows a lot about baseball. The coaching staff knew what they were talking about. I feel that I was prepared well for the challenges that professional baseball presents daily.”

“I’ve found the transition from college baseball to professional baseball easy,” Mallard added. “The biggest difference is the amount of games. Right now I only have to focus on pitching. It’s nice being able to just play baseball without taking classes as well.”

In March, Mallard will report to Dunedin to take part in his second spring training. Even though the camp can be a grind both physically and mentally the young pitcher found it fun in 2015.

“I had a really good time in my first spring training,” stated Mallard. “It was a lot of work. There were a lot of early mornings. But there was a lot of fun as well.”

Hopefully Chase Mallard continues to have fun in the game of baseball for years to come as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays organization.

Brian Crawford

Brian Crawford

Brian has covered professional baseball for eight seasons for numerous media outlets.
Brian Crawford