Astros: An interview with pitching prospect Tyler Ivey
By Brian Murray
The Astros highly touted pitching prospect, Tyler Ivey, seems to be on the fast track to the Major Leagues and he was gracious enough to grant me an interview.
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a piece on the promising future of Tyler Ivey and his quick rise through the Astros Minor League organization. Well, he must have been pleased with the article, as he has allowed me to pick his brain a little with a question and answer session.
Noticing that he was Texas born and raised, I had to ask. Did he grow up a fan of the Astros or that “other” team? “I was born in Dallas and raised a little east of there, so growing up I was a big Rangers fan.” Ivey said. “Although I did attempt to become an Astro fan when my family moved to Katy, TX for two years (2005-2006), I found that you can take the boy out of Dallas, but never the Dallas out of the boy.”
Now, before you exit out of this article too quickly, give him a second chance. He did quickly follow that up to make one thing clear. “But with that being said, I was extremely excited and thankful when I got the news that I was going to be an Astro, and looking back there’s no other organization I would have rather have been drafted by!”
In fact, his childhood idol was a former pitcher for the Astros. “Growing up my favorite pitcher was Roger Clemens. I idolized him so much that I tried relentlessly to mimic his exact mechanics/delivery.” Ivey added, “My dad used to video me pitching in the yard, and I’d beg him to put it up next to clips of Roger Clemens pitching, just so we could watch it for hours at a time trying to figure out how to throw exactly like him.”
When asking him what pitcher he likened his pitching style to now, he responded, “Today I would say I try to embody Clayton Kershaw’s style of pitching, he works the quadrants and uses pitch sequencing better than just about anybody.”
After Ivey graduated from Rockwall-Heath HS in Heath, Tx, he attended Texas A&M University in 2016 getting some experience in the rotation as a freshman. But the next year, he transferred to Grayson County College in Denison, TX. That piqued my curiosity and I asked him why the transfer.
“Leaving Texas A&M is still to this day one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make. I loved everything about Aggieland, the rich culture, proud traditions and not to mention the most wonderful people on the planet. I loved my teammates and most of my coaches, but at the end of the day, I had a vision of developing myself in a way that I could have much more control over my own destiny, and thankfully I was given the opportunity to bring that vision into fruition.” Said Ivey.
He added, “Some say I do things a little differently, and Grayson gave me the freedom to work and develop myself the way that I thought was best. I can’t thank them enough for that, and I’m so glad it worked out the way it did.”
In the 2019 season he went from the Rookie-level to the A+ level, and then the AA level all in one year. I wanted to know if there was anyone he credits for his quick rise up the ladder of the Astros Minor League system and what were his goals this offseason to get ready for the 2020 season.
“In 2019, I started in AA Corpus Christi, ended up having a minor elbow problem and had to work my way back up. But I accredit all of our coaches and trainers who help us so much with development and keeping us healthy, and not to mention getting us back on the field so quickly!”, Ivey said. “My goals this year are pretty simple, I want to stay healthy all year and make my MLB debut.”
I also wondered if he had a favorite “go-to” pitch to get that big out and are there any types of pitches that he’s especially working on to improve his repertoire? “I would have to say my curveball, I feel I can throw any pitch in any count, but I’ve thrown that pitch for so long that there are certain points I command it better than my fastball.”
On his pitching repertoire, “At the moment I feel like all my pitches have the shape that I’ve envisioned them to, now it’s just about throwing them over and over to gain confidence and command over a long period of reps.”
Seeing that he started 37 of his 50 appearances in the Minors. I asked if he would prefer to be in a starting role with the Astros or as a relief pitcher? Ivey explained, “I would prefer to be a starter; I see myself as a starter and I believe that’s how the Astros see me as well. But at the end of the day, I just want to help the Astros win in any way I can. So, if that means coming out of the pen, I have absolutely no problem with that.”
It is expected that Ivey will begin the 2020 season with the AAA Round Rock Express. Some pundits have predicted that he may make the step into the Big Leagues sometime in this upcoming season.
But pitching isn’t Ivey’s only area of expertise. He and a longtime friend and former teammate from Grayson CC, Isaiah Snyder, have recently opened up, Shayle Glass and Mirror Co., a company, and that specializes in residential frameless showers, wine rooms, and glass railings.
It may be something on the side or to have when his baseball days are done, or possibly to fall back on if his baseball career doesn’t pan out. Whatever the case I hope he doesn’t need a safety net and he has a bright future with the Astros, and I thank him for the opportunity to have this time to get to know him better.