9 innings with 2011 MLB draft prospect, Vanderbilt signee LHP Philip Pfeifer of Farrugut HS (TN)
Philip-Â Hey Mr. Schaum its awesome for me to be able to do this for you, and I can contribute a little to the baseball world.
1st inning- How important were sports to you when you were a kid?
Philip-Â to be honest I come from a military family, and sports were not something my family ever thought would be something that went long term. I was taught to play because my dad loves baseball and it kept me in shape. My dad initially taught me discipline, how to train, and how to compete till the last pitch, and success was expected of me, but talking to him it was generally thought I would serve and find a career after that. However, my dream was to play baseball as far as it will take me, so I suppose the plans have changed.
a great pic from Sports Illustrated of Philip and Nicky here
2nd inning-I understand you have known teammate Nicky Delmonico a long time. How much has it helped you to be able to have a teammate going through much of the same routines as yourself?
Philip-Â When nicky and I were little he was my arch-nemesis. The kid was an incredible athlete since he first put on rubber spikes and stepped foot on a t-ball field. But since we first played together on our high school team as freshmen I have no idea what I’d do without him on my team, he’s a grade A kid and an unreal competitor, I’ve spent as much time around him traveling the country as I have with my family at home and it’s really been a blessing to be around the guy, he makes you play harder
3rd inning- From my research it sounds like you are a really dedicated athlete off of the field in terms of nutrition and exercise. When did this become important for you and can you give us some ideas of how you implement nutrition into your life?
Philip-Â this really comes down to one simple idea, you are what you eat. And nowhere does it show as much as it does on the ball field. However, exercising for me started in 8th grade when my best friend up the street got a weight set and started coaching me through some of the workouts his football team did. This was also supported by my dad training me to run up to 8 miles since I was around 10, but there was a long way to go, as I hadn’t discovered how to eat right and what all it could do. Eventually my home workouts led to a summer with my school’s football team, which is where I first met the baseball team’s strength coach, Trace Pate. He’s a really energetic guy that taught me to be an athlete. He also taught me basics of nutrition, and helped me reconfigure the way I was built. Since that summer I’ve learned a few more things along the way that help. My biggest point is to eat, too many people try to lose weight by not eating, when really it can be as simple as eating a little less, more frequently. 6 meals a day is what I generally stick to, and I mean healthy reasonable portions, protein bars are great if you don’t have much time. Another key is to eat a little protein before you go to bed so you have something to digest while you sleep, otherwise your body can start breaking down due to a lack of energy. The last big point is to eat protein within 15 minutes of a workout, or if your stomach can handle it, during the lift. It helps the muscles repair, making you denser and less sore. Nutrition is one tool that way to many athletes on the high school level don’t take advantage of, and can really put you in front.
4th inning- What is your process the day of a start (any routines or superstitions)
Philip-Â My starting routine is the big flaw in my diet. I have a superstition where I can only pitch after drinking diet coke. I don’t know how it started but it really is my liquid fire. Its the one thing that I seriously need before I throw.
5th inning- What do you do pitching wise between starts and why do you feel that routine is important?
Phlip-Â My off day routine varies, because my recovery time is really quick, so I can throw off little rest so- on occasion I run and light toss the day after, do a flat ground pen the 2nd day, and start again the next day. However, if I have 3 days off I scoot the two above days back, and get a solid but not overwhelming lift to maintain muscular endurance so it can carry on through the season. This won’t be max effort but lots of repetitions emphasizing complete range of motion and heavy core work. The core is the foundation for the body, a strong core can protect you’re arm and body, and let you have more gas left at the end of a long game.
6th inning- We have a lot of coaches and kids that read this site…If you could give a group of 12 year old baseball players advice what would you tell them?
Phlip-Â as for advice, I only have two things that I cannot stress enough.
1. Take care of the game. You don’t deserve to win against any team, you play against the white ball, and the one that can beat the ball best wins.
2. Stay hungry. Never sit back and think that you’re the stuff. To look down on where you’ve come from takes the focus of where you’re headed. So when you’re tired or sore or just not feeling like putting in the time, push yourself knowing that someplace out there there’s a kid working his tail off to beat you. The most competitive people put that into practice and get more done in less time, while becoming more determined and skilled.
7th inning- I read where you were a big Whitey Ford fan…it is weird to me to see a high schooler bring up that name (as great as he was it just surprised me) why are you a fan? (who even taught you about Whitey Ford)
Philip-Â Whitey Ford was one of my dad’s idols. He grew up in New York and always tells me the stories of watching the yankees play, and he loved learning about classic players. Being a shorter lefty, and having a respect for the hardest competing players of all time, Whitey Ford seems like my ideal choice of a player to try to emulate.
Philip-Â i love learning pitches, and I’ve looked around and tried every pitch I could grip, but currently my pitches set up like this:
2-seam circle change(because I mainly throw 2-seam fastballs) anywhere between 79-81ish
Fastball, mainly 2’s but to go up and in or up in general its a 4 so it doesn’t sink back down. Its generally 88 or so, occasionally pushing 91-92
Curve, I throw this as hard as possible, to have the same arm action as the fastball, around 79
Lastly, I throw a splitter, really loose in my hand. I’ve thrown it since I was 11 since I used to not use a changeup for a while, and it gets great movement but I’d really recommend taking this pitch seriously because done wrong it can be harmful to the elbow. Its usually 81-83 depending on how much movement I need.
9th inning- Your baseball team is one of the premiere programs in the entire nation, but in your own state one of the premiere prospects in the country is waiting for you in LHP Daniel Norris. How far back do you and Norris go and how much would it mean to you to face your old friend one more time in both of your high school careers?
Philip-Â Daniel and I go back all the way to 7th grade playing against each other. Back when I hit often for my summer club he made me look silly. We also got to play together on team Tennessee freshman year, what an awesome guy. He’s just like Nicky, incredibly genuine and a great person to be around. He’s also one of the most talented kids I’ve played with. But as for facing off, we play their high school this year april 30th at our field, and the way it currently sets up we’ll get one last match in our high school career. Its going to be great, I respect him as a player, and its just going to be great baseball all around. You really can’t ask for more than to be able to go toe to toe with the best players around.
extra innings- If you could go to the ultimate concert (performers do not have to be around anymore) who would be the opening and closing act and who would you take ( 4 others including one teammate, one opponent, one celebrity, and one current or former major leaguer) and why?
Philip-Â geez, I love music so this is kinda tough. I play a little electric bass in spare time for fun, and the bassist for my favorite band blink-182 is just a great performer, so I’d have to say they would be the closer. As for opening, I’d have to say MGMT because their music has a little funk to it that gets me ready to have a good day. To pick people to go with me, I’d say lil D(nicky), because we have traveled so much together I think I may get lost if he didn’t go, opponent, daniel norris, because he’s a great friend and loves music more than I do (he even takes piano lessons), celebrity, ryan renolds, just seems like a pretty neat guy, and current or former MLB player…that’s tough. I’d probably have to go with Barry Zito, he’s got a hammer curve I’d love to learn, and he’s also a musician so he’d be a good guy concert bud.
thank you so much for the time and best of luck the rest of the way
Philip-Â I hope this was able to help someone out, baseball’s my life, my love, and my passion so I don’t mind sharing it with the baseball world, it feels big but it’s really tight knit, because its obviously the best game on earth.
video from MLBdraftables
video from knoxnews
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