Indians lefthander Chuck Lofgren is off to a fast start at high Class A Kinston, racking up eight strikeouts in five innings in his first start against Wilmington. The fourth-round pick in 2004 took the mound for a second time Saturday, allowing three hits over 5 2/3 to pick up his second win of the season.
A lot of clubs liked Lofgren better as a hitter coming into the 2004 draft, but the Indians liked him better on the mound and he is now on the fast track in the system.
Lofgren, 20, ranks as the Tribe's No. 11 prospect and will be catching up with us on a weekly basis to discuss each one of his starts, the downtime in the four days between, and life on the road in the Carolina League.
"In my first start, I was working to get quick strikes fast and establish that outer half from the beginning–which I was able to do and came away with three strikeouts in the first inning.
When I'd get 2-2 or 3-2 counts, I felt very comfortable flipping in a breaking ball or going to my changeup to get a swing and miss or roll a ground ball. I got into a little trouble in the third inning–Jacoby Ellsbury is a heck of a player and a lot faster than I expected–but other than that, I just felt really comfortable in that first start.
In comparison, in my second start on Saturday, I was having some trouble with my fastball command. I couldn't establish first-pitch strikes consistently, but for the most part I made my pitches when I needed to. I wasn't getting ahead and working ahead nearly as much as I was in my first start, which is part of the reason I wasn't getting strikeouts.
So right now I'm just preparing for my next start (April 20 at home against Myrtle Beach). The way I go about getting ready is getting a good night's sleep every day, getting my running in and working on arm drills. It's about staying healthy and eating right in those days between starts. I also keep a mental notebook on who I'll be facing next, but I'm not facing Wilmington, so I'm going to have to keep these guys in the back of my head for next time.
My roommate on the road is Jensen Lewis. He's one of the nicest guys you'd ever want to meet and we talk about everything under the sun, and he knows so much about the game and really, life in general. He just seems to have a lot of fun with everything he does.
But most of my downtime in the hotel is spent playing Xbox, honestly. Right now I'm playing NCAA Baseball and MVP basically all the time. In the college game, being a Californian, I play with Santa Clara or (Cal State) Fullerton and in the major league game, it's either the Giants or the Red Sox."