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LHP Tim Mayza Looking to Build Off Breakout 2015 Season

LHP Tim Mayza Looking to Build Off Breakout 2015 Season

February 19, 2016

Tim Mayza

LHP Tim Mayza experienced a breakout season in 2015. (Kyle Castle)

The off-season presents an excellent opportunity for prospects to fine-tune their skills for increased success at higher levels of play. Completely focused on this concept a year ago left-handed pitcher Tim Mayza prepared himself for his best professional season to date in 2015.

Posting career bests in WHIP at 1.37, ERA at 3.07, opponent batting average at .238, and H/9 ratio at 7.92 showed the progression that the Pennsylvania native made since his first two seasons in the organization where he had some command issues with his pitches.

The increased success came from the extra work Mayza put in during the 2014 off-season when he returned to Millersville University to practice with his former collegiate program. The lefty was welcomed back by head coach Jon Shehan who let Mayza workout with the team on a few occasions to strengthen his game for the demands of playing a 140-game schedule.

“I went back to my college a few times last off-season,” explained Mayza. “They let me throw a couple of bullpens and field some ground balls. That along with the strength and conditioning interns I worked with prepared me well for my season in Lansing.”

Another major change for Mayza was his mindset while on the bump. With the ability to hit the mid-90s with his heavy fastball the prospect realized he could be more aggressive against opposing hitters than just trying to bite corners like pitchers without as much velocity.

“I feel the biggest difference this season was just being more aggressive in the zone,” stated Mayza. “I went out there and really focused on attacking the hitters. I wasn’t too worried about picking corners. I really went after hitters and picked the plate in halves.”

But Mayza has more in his repertoire than just an overpowering 4-seam fastball. He also uses a 2-seam fastball, a changeup, and a slider on a daily basis. The slider was new for Mayza in 2015 and after some extra work with the pitch during extended spring training the prospect was ready to showcase it more to hitters in the Midwest League.

“When I went back down to extended spring training we really focused on implementing the slider,” stated Mayza. “I wanted to learn to use it against any hitter in any situation. When I came back to Lansing I started to feel more comfortable using it in games.”

“The biggest improvement this year was improving the slider and throwing it for strikes,” Mayza added. “Having a consistent spin on the slider has given me some gains throughout the season.”

His excellent play in Lansing earned Mayza a starting opportunity on August 22nd against the Bowling Green Hot Rods (Tampa Bay Rays low-A affiliate) and the prospect made the most of the opportunity going five scoreless innings.

While Mayza enjoyed his start. It was more than just the successful outing that made this his favorite Lugnuts memory.

“My favorite moment in Lansing was my spot start,” explained Mayza. “It was my favorite just because my family was in town and they got to see me pitch. It was nice to go out there and give my team a chance to win. Getting that opportunity when I did was a really special moment.”

Topping his 2015 campaign off with a playoff appearance against the West Michigan Whitecaps (Detroit Tigers low-A affiliate) on September 12th was a great way to end his first full season. Pitching in 2 1/3 innings that afternoon, Mayza allowed one run and picked up the save in his first postseason appearance.

“It was my first appearance in a playoff game professionally,” stated Mayza. “The atmosphere was outstanding. It was exciting to get into the game when I did and pick up the save.”

Looking for continued success from Mayza from here the Toronto Blue Jays added the lefty to their instructional league roster last fall. The additional practice will definitely help the prospect hone his skills more for future seasons.

Returning home to Pennsylvania after his time in the Instructional League Mayza is looking to do some extra conditioning this off-season to continue to increase his endurance for the demands of playing in a full season atmosphere.

“This off-season I’m planning on hitting the weights pretty hard,” said Mayza. “I feel there are some gains that need to be made in terms of strength on my end. I can especially benefit from getting stronger in the lower legs.”

With very little left to prove in the Midwest League. Mayza will most likely be earning a promotion to the advanced-A Dunedin Blue Jays out of spring camp this season.

Wherever the destination, fans of the Toronto Blue Jays will want to continue to follow Tim Mayza’s progression as he has the repertoire to keep hitters guessing every outing.

Brian Crawford

Brian Crawford

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

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