Rockies starter Jason Hirsh was recently ranked the 42nd best prospect in baseball by Baseball America. Recently, he was kind enough to answer some questions for MLB Trade Rumors via email. Jason and his brother Matt maintain a website called Brothers In Arms; check it out.
It appears that you were nearly traded to the White Sox in early December for Jon Garland. Did that possibility take you by surprise? What are your feelings on the city of Chicago?
I had heard about the ChiSox rumor and then it was finally in USA today and I really didn't think anything of it. I called my agent and asked him if he had heard anything and he said no, it was just a bunch of talk from the winter meetings that someone from the media got hold of and ran with it. I thought Chicago would have been cool, everyone I know says the town is awesome and I know the fans are very loyal.
Did the near-White Sox trade give you a chance to prepare mentally for the eventual deal to Colorado about a week later?
I took the ChiSox deal with a grain of salt so I was completely blindsided by the deal to Colorado. I don't think anything could have mentally prepared me for that bombshell when it was dropped on me.
The Rockies have an "organization guided by Christianity" (see article here). Is this drastically different than your past clubhouses? Do you feel comfortable in this environment as a member of the Jewish faith?
Being in the clubhouse now for the last few weeks here in Spring Training I have never felt more comfortable around a group of guys in my professional career. Everyone is very accepting of me and they are all friendly, even the seasoned vets. I feel as though I've been with this organization my whole career so its definitely comforting to know that everyone gets along even though some of us come from different backgrounds.
Colorado has more starting pitching depth than ever…would you be disappointed not to make the starting rotation right away? Are you comfortable in the bullpen?
I think I would be disappointed for sure if I didnt make the rotation out of Spring Training. I was told when the trade went down that I was going to be a vital part of this rotation this year and then they went out and signed like 4 more starting pitchers. I understand that they are trying to create competition and get the most bang for their buck, but I think that I can outdo them all and win a spot in this rotation. I'm not very comfortable in the bullpen, I've been raised as a starter my whole life/career so coming from the pen is not my cup of tea so to speak. I have a difficult time getting loose and getting into the mindframe of a reliever, but if the pen is where I'm destined to go then so be it, but I believe I'm better suited for starting.
How do you feel about your changeup these days? Do you have confidence to throw it at any time?
Personally I feel like my changeup is my second best pitch right now behind my fastball. My confidence in it has swooned the last two years. I've really got a feel for it and I'm definitely not afraid to throw it in any count to any hitter.
Do you think you'll ever get a chance to pitch against your brother Matt?
I hope that at some point down the line in my career that both Matt and I will have the opportunity to pitch against each other, but I know he still has a lot of development ahead of him, but I know he'll make it!