Prospect Roundup: PR interviews Kyle Freeland's HS Coach Tory Humphrey

Charlie Drysdale

I met with Kyle Freeland’s High School coach Tory Humphrey on a beautiful Saturday morning at Eaglecrest HS in Aurora to discuss the Rockies newest addition, and a little bit about baseball in Colorado.

PR: Congratulations on what is no doubt a very exciting time for you, and of course for Kyle.

CH: It was really exciting to be there at Kyle’s house with his family in the room, to sell his hard work payoff and it is a great story for fans as well.

PR: As a Colorado guy you have to be pumped for Kyle, but given both the franchise's track record for developing pitchers, and the obvious issues with pitching at altitude was part of you hoping he would end up somewhere like Oakland?

CH: (Laughs) Well there is a part of you that is hoping to see him go in the first couple picks, but once the draft started to take shape it became obvious that he would be there and I think the Rockies really got the right guy. I am a Rockies season ticket holder so selfishly I was excited to see them get a guy who I think can succeed here. He is a guy who was in the Denver Public Schools, he has a bulldog mentality that makes him want to attack hitters and he has the stuff to do it.

PR: Kyle obviously has a big arm but like 90% of guys on draft day there are concerns that his current arsenal will not be enough to successfully put away advanced hitters 20+ times a game, knowing Kyle the way you do what do you see as his most advanced third pitch?

CH: Kyle has a circle change with beautiful movement that is by far his best third option, he will need to continue to work on the arm action to make it an MLB ready pitch but it has big league potential. I am not an MLB advance scout, but as a former pitcher myself I am always looking at what the pitchers do more than hitters and I think that change is his most advanced.

PR: Kyle as a HS player, was anything different? Attitude? coach-ability? work ethic?

CH: Kyle got a start with us at TJ before he was on the team, shagging flies, soaking up the mentality and getting an idea of what it takes to be on the varsity team. He always had a work ethic and passion for the game that matched up with his obvious talents. We knew he was special very early, but you really have to give credit to Kyle and the guys at Evansville for his developing from a very talented HS player into a top 10 MLB draft worthy player.

PR: There were rumors that the Injury that Kyle suffered in High School hurt his draft stock, given the recent rash of injuries both in the Rockies organization and in MLB is there any reason for fans to be concerned.

CH: With pitchers you can never fully predict injury, with that in mind there is absolutely nothing about what Kyle suffered that means people should be concerned. He had a small issue when he was 14-15 years old, the doctors went in and cleaned it up and he was put on strict rest and rehab plan. This isn't the case of a nagging injury that he was forced to continue throwing, he was put on a supervised throwing program and to my knowledge has been fine ever since.

PR: What is the toughest part about coaching in HS, do you find it harder to motivate the players or to rein them in when they push too hard?

CH: It is much harder to get them motivated when they don’t have the natural passion for it. With the guys who want to go too hard you really have to discipline yourself as a coach to put their future first. Here at Eaglecrest this year we had some exceptional performances from some of our sophomores, and as a manager it is really hard to pull a guy out of an important game 1-1 game in the 7th inning because he hit his pitch limit but as a coach you have to put their future ahead of the present.

PR: Are there any guys you can remember from Colorado preps where it really shocked you they didn't make an impact at the MLB level?(Personally I thought Darnell McDonald had an everyday future {I was in HS so no expert but Baltimore obviously did too}), are there any that surprised you that they did.

CH: There are several that surprised me when they failed: Matt Brunson from Cherry Creek (#9 pick of the 1993 draft) is still the highest draft pick in Colorado prep history I really thought he would hit his way to the Majors. Kevin Kouzmanoff was a very good High School player but I don’t think anyone saw him as having a long MLB career ahead of him guys like that really step forward after High School. The guy I really remember being impressed by was Mark Melancon, we met up with him several times he was a truly great prep player.

PR: Colorado has produced some talented pitchers in recent years with guys like (Kevin) Gausman and Freeland going in the first round, do you think pitching at altitude is an advantage for a prep pitcher?

CH: I think it certainly can be, it forces you to concentrate on executing your plan, and to limit mistakes. That said I think the given some of the limitations with weather and season length that even for guys like Gausman it is a really good idea for them to go to college.

PR: Your email mentioned that you are an associate scout for the Cleveland Indians, did you have an opportunity to scout any of the picks they had this year?

CH: As an area scout I scouted all the Colorado guys. Max George who was taken by the Rockies is a guy we really liked his approach and skills, the only real drawback being his body. Guys who get the most out of what they have, the way he does that do sometimes turn into Dustin Pedroia, but that was our only real knock on him.

Due to a scheduling snafu from my side I had to bring my three boys who are 7, 4 and 2 along with me and the coach showed incredible patience with them as we completed this interview I really want to thank Coach Humphrey for his taking the time out of his schedule to talk to me

Eat. Drink. Be Merry. But the above FanPost does not necessarily reflect the attitudes, opinions, or views of Purple Row's staff (unless, of course, it's written by the staff [and even then, it still might not]).

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