By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – While several local players are simply adjusting to life as a pro after being selected in the Major League Baseball draft earlier this month, Vince Voiro is adjusting to a new approach to pitching in his second season as a pro after being selected by the Oakland A’s in the 15th round of the 2012 Draft.
Voiro was a standout at Cherry Hill West High School and the University of Pennsylvania. He went 5-3 with a 2.45 ERA as a senior with the Quakers. So far, he has spent all of 2013 with the Beloit Snappers of the Single-A Midwest League.
“I feel good so far this year,” Voiro tells KYW Newsradio. “It’s been a little bit complicated, we’re doing a system called ‘piggybacking’ where you switch every other game with another guy. You’re starting one game, and you’re relief the next game. Gives you a different feel on things, but so far, so good.”
The approach seems to be agreeing with Voiro. In 13 games with the Snappers here in 2013 (6 starts), the 23-year-old has gone 3-2 with a fine 2.79 ERA. He also has picked up a couple of saves.
“It was a little difficult at first, having been a starter for the past four years,” Voiro says. “But you get in there for a couple games in the relief position and you just kind of learn to figure it out.”
He says that the organization right now considers everyone who is “piggybacking” a starter.
“But the way it works is a lot of guys, as they move up, they get their chance, their opportunities, maybe out of the bullpen and maybe as a starter,” Voiro says. “A lot of time it’s out of the bullpen and then they get chances to start after that. So really it’s just to give you that opportunity to know what you need to do to throw out of the bullpen, to know what you need to do to be able to start.”
Voiro says he is a four-pitch pitcher these days, utilizing a fastball, change-up, cutter and a curve.
“Using pretty much everything,” Voiro says. “Changing speeds, keeping the ball down in the zone. That’s pretty much the key at all levels and that’s what they try and preach to us, and I’ve been successful doing it this year.”
Keeping the ball down is really an understatement. In 51 2/3 innings this season, Voiro has yet to allow a home run and in fact, he has only allowed one long ball in 89 professional innings.
“I’ve found that being successful, keeping the ball down and changing speeds, like I said, you’re able to keep guys off balance and they don’t get as good swings on the ball and the ball stays in the ballpark,” Voiro says.
Now into his second season as a pro, Voiro says it has more than set in that he is pro baseball player.
“Really when you came into spring training this year, that’s when you get the full effect of playing professional baseball and it’s your full-time job,” Voiro says. “And now that we’re halfway through the season, you’re starting to feel that grind, but you enjoy it, especially being on a team that’s successful this year.”
Voiro helped Beloit win the Midwest League’s Western Division’s first-half title with a 43-27 record.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.