Hang on folks, we're getting Matt!
Matt is here!
What kind of pressure did you feel going into your first post-season outing last year?
The pressure, I try not to pay attention to it, as weird as that sounds. I really wanted to go out there and attack the zone and throw strikes. I was extremely hyped up for the moment.
What is it like joining such a deep rotation like the Rays and how do you think it will benefit you?
It's going to benefit me in a lot of ways. These guys have been everywhere that I plan on being. A few have been in the World Series. That's where we all plan to get to. Hopefully, being in the rotation on the opening day roster, it's pretty special roster to be a part of.
Where do you start for mental preperation when playing in such a big game like Game 1 of the ALCS vs the defending A.L Champion Rangers?
Well, they told me that I was starting the night before. I started then. I tried to prepare for it like any other game. I had breakfast in the morning. I tried to take it as normal of a start as I could. I didn't want to mix things up.
Sell me on why I should draft you onto my fantasy team?
Oh man, I don't know...I'll be your wild card.
How did you find out you had been promoted to the major league club in September?
I was in a hotel in Durham with my car packed about to head home the next day. Our farm director called me and told me I didn't have to worry about driving tomorrow that I was going to meet the team in Baltimore.
How amazing is it to be on a competitive team with a small payroll that is beating the big payrolls of the yankees and red sox?
It's very special. Those teams have very good players on them, as do we. For me personally to be on a team this competitive this early in my career, I feel very very lucky for that. It doesn't always happen like this.
hey matt, did you throw easy 98 when you were drafted or was that developed in the minors with the rays?
It's a lot of different things. I topped out at 94 when I was in high school. The velocity jumped this year. I started working out. Heath got my body working better. A lot of these things tie the lower body with the upper body. I think a lot of it has to do with the picthing coaches helping me get smooth in my delivery.
Big fan Matt. How many innings are you expecting to throw in the majors this season? Would you be opposed to an innings cap if you guys are in contention?
That hasn't really come up. I threw somewhere in the range of 180 innings last year. We've gone up 35% each year. I'm striving to get to the 200 inning mark this year. If I get there, that's great, that means I'm pitching well and winning games.
What was your Favorite MLB Team as a Kid?
The Atlanta Braves.
When do you plan on heading to tampa to get ready for 2012?
I'm actually in Tampa. I just got in a couple of nights ago.
Do you think the Rays rotation of Moore, Price, and Hellickson can begin the long legacy of a rotation much like the Braves had in the early 90's of Maddux, Glavine, and Avery?
Haha! Let's get a few more innings under my belt. It's not even that. I don't even feel comfortable talking about a rotation spot. There are 7-8 pitchers competing for the rotation. There are a lot of things that can happen. I don't know if I can quite compare to those guys.
What stadium are you most excited to travel to next season?
I don't know if we're going there, but I always thought it would be cool to be at Wrigley Field. I got to see Fenway and New York last year and Baltimore and Texas. Those are all great places to go to.
who is the most intimidating player youve faced
I didn't really feel intimidated too much to be honest. I tried not to let myself get into that mindset. I'll tell you what, Josh Hamilton's kind of got me figured out. We'll have to make a couple of adjustments next time.
Matt, Do you have any pre-game rituals?
I like to get a light workout in before I go out. I listen to rock music. That's what I like to do. That's about as ritualistic as it gets.
How does it feel to be ranked as the top pitching prospect in the nation?
It feels great. Any time you can have support from anybody, you'll take it. There are a lot of people on that list that are very deserving as well. It's cool to hear.
Has David Price and James Shields give you any veteran advice during the season? If so, what?
They all kind of had the same message. This is you, this is your game. Don't do anything different than what you've been doing. Go get this.
Among the pitchers on the Rays, who is the best hitter? Do you guys ever get to let loose in the batting cages?
I have not been around the guys to take BP. I haven't even taken BP in about 4 years. Get back to me in June.
What lineup do you think poses the biggest challenge in baseball?
At this point, in the AL East with Boston and New York, they're always tough. I think Anaheim will be tough this year.
A lot of hype about you challenging ROY this year? Do you think you can make a run for the Cy Young?
Not too much to think about. I'm just going out there and do what I can. If everything goes well, then we'll see where we're at.
If you were a hitter instead of a pitcher, what would your walk up song be?
Rock of Ages by Def Leppard.
I watched you in the post season. You seemed not to let the stage get to you. Did you get nervous about pitching in the playoffs
Yeah. I definitely had nerves and anxious. I call it more anxious more than nervous. It's different than any feeling I've ever had before. It's definitely the best time I've had on a baseball field.
Who are you less eager to face - Prince Fielder in Detroit or Albert Pujols in LA?
Ooooh, that Detroit lineup is going to be tough, man. They have a lot of sluggers there. I don't know. I don't know who we play more, but I don't want to see either one a whole lot. I'll tell you that.
Thank you guys. Keep an eye out for me on Twitter. I'll be on there soon.