Q&A with Rocky Roquet

Roquet dominating the Midwest League

Right-hander Rocky Roquet was a fifth-year senior from Cal-Poly that was signed as a non-drafted free agent last summer. At 24 years old to begin 2007, Roquet is benefiting from his age and experience in the Class-A Midwest League with Peoria. In his first 15 appearances with the Chiefs, he has nine saves and has yet to allow a run in a span of 18 2/3 innings.

Roquet went to Class Low-A Boise for the start of his professional career last summer and would finish with a 5.49 ERA in 19 appearances with the team. He struck out 31 batters and walked five in 19 2/3 innings.

This season, Roquet has been used in the closer's role with Peoria, where he is a perfect nine of nine in saves opportunities and has 23 strikeouts.

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Coming up from the short-season league, what were your goals heading into the season?

My goals were to try and get off to a good start like everyone else. Doing that is a lot easier battling-wise. I wanted to get off to a good start and just get my team some wins saving some games.

Did you expect to be closing games this year?

I was a closer in college and I was in that role in Boise. But in the Instructional League last fall, I was just trying to get innings in and I thought maybe I'd be a middle reliever just to get my work in this year. [Instead] I find myself in that role (closer) again. I like it and I like coming in and trying to get that W for the starter. I think I have the mindset for it. I take it like it's a regular inning and just try to get three outs.

Are you still in the mid to upper 90s with your fastball?

Yeah, although recently I've been trying to work around 90 to 91 (mph) just to get ahead of hitters. But when I get a guy 0-2 or someone is on top of my fastball, I'll try to throw it harder. I am trying to be more of a pitcher than a thrower, which I was last year. It's been good. I've tried to get ahead of hitters and not strike everyone out. If I find myself ahead in the count, I will go for the strikeout. The problem last year was I tried to go for the strikeout in 0-1 and 0-0 counts.

Can you remind everyone of your repertoire?

Basically, it's fastball-slider right now. I throw a changeup and have thrown it in games this year. To lefties, I've been going backdoor slider and that's helped me with not throwing a changeup as much to left-handers.

How much attention do you pay to things such as scoreless inning streaks and for that matter, promotions?

Not much. I really like this team and I have a lot of friends here. Playing for Ryne Sandberg and playing at this stadium, I'm having a really good time. If the time comes for a promotion, so be it. For now, I'm just enjoying myself.

How much work does Sandberg put in with the pitchers versus how much is left up to your pitching coach, David Rosario?

He leaves most of it up to our pitching coach. The cool thing about Ryne Sandberg is that we'll come out early before the hitters and do our stretching, running, and then throw our distances, flat-ground's or side sessions, and he'll be there watching. It's not like he's just a hitter. He might not have much to say, or he might have one thing that will really help, but either way he'll put in as much effort as he wants you to put in so he leads by example. He was obviously one of the best hitters so he'll tell you what a hitter is thinking in certain situations and so forth.

Do you feel any pressure given your age?

It's in the back of my mind, just because I am one of the older guys on the team. But there's nothing I can really do about it. My arm is still young and in good shape. I feel I worked hard in the off-season to keep it that way, and I look forward to pitching some more here and getting the job done.

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