Keeping up with the Houston Astros prospects: Justin Ferrell

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The Justin Ferrell interview

Photo courtesy of @QCBanditPhotog.

CTH: What was it like at the end of last season to get the first taste of professional baseball? Were there any takeaways from your first season?

Ferrell: It was real neat, I got to play with many different type guys from various parts of the world. The Gulf Coast League atmosphere was not that much different from Junior College, but once I got to Quad Cities, the atmosphere was awesome.

CTH: What did you do this offseason to get ready for 2015?

Ferrell: I worked with George Frazier on a few minor mechanical changes that have helped me this season. We worked on keeping me a little more intact and solid on the mound.

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CTH: During Spring training, when you were told to report to Quad Cities, what was your first thought?

Ferrell: I was surprised because I was told at the end of 2014 that I would be reporting to Tri-Cities to start 2015. When I heard I was going to Quad Cities; I was excited.

CTH: Your team (The River Bandits) has one of the best records in baseball, 74-39 at the time, when did you notice that this team could be special?

Ferrell: I had realized it before they got here, all the guys are really into the game, and everyone gets along. Every player on this team goes after it each day. I appreciate the words of encouragement from Nick Tanielu when I’m in tight situations, he is a great teammate. He helped me this year and last year with great plays behind me.

CTH: I know you were drafted out of Connors State College in Oklahoma, were you on any MLB radars out of high school?

Ferrell: Yes, I got scouted by a few teams, but nothing ever happened. I went to two years of Junior College, then got picked by the Astros.

CTH: Where were you when you found out that you were drafted?

Ferrell: I was at my high school baseball field, I was paying attention to the draft and wanted to get some fresh air. So I got in my truck and drove around, I parked at my old field. I got a phone call from Jim Stevens, the scout who scouted me for Astros, telling me that the Astros were about to draft me.

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CTH: Did you miss some time this year, you have only pitched 52 innings, which seems low for this time of the year?

Ferrell: I was in extended spring training until the short season teams started, I have been gradually increasing my innings pitched per game since.

CTH: Did you play some basketball with your height?

Ferrell: Yes, I debated which to pursue, but I decided that I might have more of a plus future in baseball. I was a power forward, even though the center I played with was 6 inches shorter. It was funny, the shortest guy on that team would post up on the tall guys.

CTH: What are your thoughts on the tandem system the Astros use?

Ferrell: I like it, it helps us get more rest while building up our innings gradually.

CTH: Do you pitch for contact or go for strikeouts?

Ferrell: Before I got to Quad Cities, I had more strikeouts but ended up facing more guys. Now, I try to focus on getting the 1-2 count. The fewer pitches I have to throw, the longer I can last in a ballgame.

CTH: You average about two walks per game, is that a product of control or being aggressive.

Ferrell: It’s more nibbling, not that I can’t find the zone, trying to get the hitters to swing at my pitches, not theirs. I like to throw around the bottom of the strike zone.

CTH: What has been your best moment as a pro so far?

Ferrell: During my first season in the GCL, I had a no-hitter going into the eighth inning, ended up going 7 1/3 inning that game, but it was a great feeling. (Side note, one of the opposing hitters on that day, tried to break up the no-hitter with a bunt, there was a slight commotion over that.)

CTH: What is your pitching repertoire?

Ferrell: I throw a 4-seam fastball, curveball, slider, and changeup.

CTH: Are you surprised with your success this year with Quad Cities?

Ferrell: Not surprised, just from the little work in the offseason and the little tweaks, I could tell the difference while pitching.

CTH: What is something interesting about you?

Ferrell: I like to go fishing, it’s very peaceful.

Thanks to Justin Ferrell for taking the time to answer my questions. If you would like to follow him, you can do so at @jferre72.

You can check out the rest of my prospect interviews here.

Next: Predicting the Houston Astros lineup when George Springer returns