Toronto Blue Jays right-handed pitcher Kyle Drabek may have had a difficult and trying 2011 season, but he has arrived at this year's spring training with a new and fresh perspective that will enable him to adapt and overcome last year's issues.
Getting called up to the Blue Jays from Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats, Drabek made his MLB debut on Sept. 15, 2010, against the Orioles and pitched seven innings, threw 101 pitches with seven strikeouts and gave up one hit and one earned run.
After three successful starts in 2011, he began to decline and was optioned down to Triple-A Las Vegas, where he continued to struggle.
In Drabek's MLB overall experience, he has a win-loss record of 4-8, an ERA of 5.83, 63 strikeouts and a 1.72 WHIP in a total of 21 games since his call-up to Toronto.
Putting the struggles of the 2011 season behind him, he has learned from those experiences, both positive and negative, and will use what he has learned to grow in a positive direction.
He has changed some of his pitching mechanics, and he continues to work on them in spring training. He is learning how to adapt to certain situations and understands how to take something negative, learn from it and turn it into something positive.
In the past, Drabek would tend to overthrow pitches trying to work himself out of a jam. His pitching mechanics last season led him to tail off to the first-base side at the end of his delivery.
Pitching coaches have set up yellow lines on the mound in the bullpen for him to pitch from in an attempt to keep him on-line and not tail off. The changes appear to be working well for him, and he will continue to practice and develop new pitching mechanics.
Drabek pitched three innings on Thursday against the Houston Astros in the Grapefruit League, allowing one earned run and one hit.
Drabek's father, former MLB pitcher Doug Drabek, gave him some advice explaining how important it is to not only learn from your mistakes, but also to learn from your achievements.
He is in the hunt for a spot on the rotation, and manager John Farrell seems to be impressed with what he has seen in Drabek so far this spring training.
Farrell has seen the positive changes in Drabek this year. He still has work to do, but Drabek has demonstrated signs that he is headed for a bounce-back 2012 season.