Q&A: Boise's Michael Hyle

Right-handed pitcher off to promising start

Michael Hyle wasted little time before signing with the Cubs following this year's draft. He bypassed a stint in the Arizona League and went to Boise, where in a few short weeks he won Northwest League Pitcher of the Week honors. Inside The Ivy caught up with the 22nd round pick and University of Georgia alumnus recently for a Q&A.

Inside The Ivy: You're off to an impressive start despite a 2-4 record. Tell us how your first taste of the professional level has gone so far from your standpoint.

Michael Hyle: Oh, it's been great. I've been having a lot of fun getting to come out and play ball here every day. You can't complain too much about that. I've loved every moment of it so far.

Inside The Ivy: You also won Northwest League Pitcher of the Week honors last month. How much did the award mean to you?

Michael Hyle: I only found out through our announcer (Mike Safford). It was a surprise. I didn't even know they had a pitcher of the week award. [laughs] I never put any thought into it. I just try to do the best I can every day.

Inside The Ivy: You've come a long way to get to Boise, Idaho, having pitched at Georgia in college and also in the Cape Cod League. Tell us about your experience in the SEC and how it relates to playing in the minor leagues.

Michael Hyle: The SEC is one of the best - if not the best - conferences for baseball in the country. They have great teams year in and year out. I had so much fun playing in the conference because of the atmosphere, the crowds, and because the competition is so much fun. To have an opportunity to play in the Cape Cod League against the cream of the crop, you can't ask for much more than that between those two levels. The people you meet and the things you learn, it's awesome.

Inside The Ivy: You've done both starting and relieving this season. Has there been any let-down after starting throughout your whole career in college?

Michael Hyle: It wasn't disappointing because I knew as long as I came out and threw strikes, it didn't really matter where I am. You can be just as valuable setting up guys in clutch situations. I've done a little of both with the team this year.

Inside The Ivy: How different is it for you in the bullpen as opposed to starting? We know you obviously prefer to start.

Michael Hyle: It's a different role and a different approach that you have to take. It was something (Hawks pitching coach) Dave Rosario had to work with me on. He's still working with me on it. Now I'm back to starting, which is a little more back into my realm.

Inside The Ivy: What's the one thing you've picked up on the most at the professional level so far?

Michael Hyle: It's all on you to get your work done now. In college, everything is so structured. In pro ball, this becomes your job. You have to do the extra work on your own and do everything you need to do, on your own, to make it to that next level. And I've rather enjoyed that.

Inside The Ivy: Tell the readers about your repertoire and some of the pitches you throw.

Michael Hyle: I throw a four-seam and two-seam fastball, a curveball, changeup and slider.

Inside The Ivy: The slider is a relatively new pitch for you, correct?

Michael Hyle: Yeah, I just started throwing it when I got to Boise. It's been pretty effective for me when I use it during different times of the count. I like to set everything up with my fastball and build all of my other pitches around that. My arm has been feeling a little tired lately. Right now, I'm between 86-89 (mph) on the gun.

Inside The Ivy: How far off is that from what you were averaging in college?

Michael Hyle: In college this year, I was usually 88-93 mph.

Inside The Ivy: What do you enjoy doing away from the park? Anything different from your teammates?

Michael Hyle: I don't think so. I love to fish and play golf. You can't go wrong with either. [laughs] Sometimes with our schedule and the limited number of off-day's you get in this league, I like to just relax and enjoy the time off.

Inside The Ivy: Now we noticed on your student hobbies page at Georgia that you worked at an Abercrombie and Fitch for a few months. Do you ever give the guys on the team a fashion lesson or two?

Michael Hyle: [laughs] I worked at Abercrombie and Fitch one Christmas. There were probably eight of my friends from high school there at the time. We thought it would be easy money, and they let us all work at the same time. Anyway, no, I've never given fashion advice. Someone probably needs to give me some, though. [laughs]

Inside The Ivy: Growing up in Atlanta, it goes without saying who your favorite team was through the years. Who inspired your baseball career the most?

Michael Hyle: Well, I loved Dale Murphy. My dad and I used to go to old Fulton County Stadium very often when the Braves weren't that good. We'd buy the nosebleed tickets and enjoy Dale Murphy. From a pitcher's standpoint, I always liked watching Nolan Ryan. Growing up a Georgia Bulldog at heart, Bo Jackson was a rival, but he was OK. You might say he was an above-average athlete. [laughs] I didn't ever get a chance to meet any of those guys, unfortunately. I was actually a big Braves and Red Sox fan growing up. My grandpa lived in Cape Cod and I remember watching Roger Clemens at Fenway Park growing up.

Inside The Ivy: What did you know about the Cubs' organization going into the draft?

Michael Hyle: I knew they were one of those teams that everyone kind of roots for I guess. I don't know if mystique is the right word, but I was honored to be picked by them nonetheless.

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