View Full Version : Horst calm heading into playoffs

09-02-2008, 11:15 PM
Horst calm heading into playoffs
Hurler says he wants to keep mentality of a regular-season game heading into Game 1.

By Marc Katz

Staff Writer

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

DAYTON Who is in the Midwest League playoffs?

Not always the players you'd expect.

Ty Howington was a No. 1 draft pick by the Reds, yet he pitched to only one batter (walking him) in the playoffs during the Dayton Dragons' first season, 2000.

Chris Gruler? Another No. 1 pick who lost his only playoff game.

Homer Bailey, another No. 1 pick? His Dragons team didn't even make the playoffs.

Tonight, Sept. 3, Jeremy Horst is the choice of the Dragons to pitch the first game against Lansing, and they held him back a day to put him in this position. Horst is 8-2 with a 2.38 ERA, and pitching coach Doug Bair calls him one of the best two lefties in the organization below Class AAA level.

"I told him not to change anything," said Bair of Horst's playoff assignment. "Some guys try to make their fastballs better and their changeups better during the playoffs. I told Jeremy to make the hitters adjust to him, not try to adjust to them."

Howington and Gruler never made it to the majors, succumbing to arm injuries. Bailey has had limited success with the Reds, but he's only 22.

Horst, a 21st-round draft pick last summer, has never been mentioned in the same breath with any of them, yet here he is, with a stunning record to match.

"I've had some success this year," said Horst, who began the season in the bullpen. "I feel like I've worked hard, also. I've worked on the mental part of the game, learning how to pitch instead of just throwing. I've got a lot more to learn."

While this is only his second professional baseball season, Horst has been around, especially in the cold. Born in Cheyenne, Wyo., not quite 23 years ago, he grew up in Burlington, N.D., and lives in Green Bay, Wis.

"I'm fortunate," Horst said. "I've always wanted to play baseball. Growing up in Burlington, I went to a small school where all the same guys played football, basketball and baseball. My graduating class was 34 kids.

"I played football and baseball and when I was 12, I played for three baseball teams, Bambino, Babe Ruth and American Legion. I spent all day at the diamond. I learned how to build a mound and put down chalk lines. I don't see myself not playing baseball."

It took him awhile to get here. He attended a junior college in Iowa and a four-year school in Georgia, dabbled with some offers from the Pirates and White Sox and was finally drafted and signed by the Reds.

It can be argued he is now the best pitcher on the Dragons, which is why he's opening the playoffs.

"I'm trying not to change anything," Horst said. "I know there's a playoff feeling, but I want this to be like a regular-season game. Don't try to do too much. You got to the playoffs by performing a certain way."

Some day, Horst may get to the big leagues performing that way.


09-02-2008, 11:23 PM
Horst had a very solid season with Dayton. He's put himself on the map as a solid prospect as far as I'm concerned. He's apparently got a solid fastball for a lefty and a very good changeup. The development of his breaking ball will determine if his future is as reliever or starter. He'll be 23 years old next season so I wouldn't be too surprised if he begins the season in Double-A. Check out his final stats from the 2008 regular season:

102 IP, 74 H, 3 HR, 33 BB/110 K, 2.38 ERA, 1.41 GO/FO

Very solid. Low hit total, over a K/IP, and he keeps the ball in the yard.

09-03-2008, 03:10 AM
Another in a recent surge of groundball type pitchers in the organization whose stuff keeps the ball down.

09-03-2008, 08:58 AM
www.redszone.com/forums/showthread.php?t=67450 (http://www.redszone.com/forums/showthread.php?t=67450)

A small point of pride... I believe I was first in on Horst, back in April, while on sleeper watch.

09-03-2008, 06:21 PM
Horst is 8-2 with a 2.38 ERA, and pitching coach Doug Bair calls him one of the best two lefties in the organization below Class AAA level.

I suppose the other lefty is Wood, but it is not obvious to me.

09-04-2008, 11:37 AM
Dragons' Horst gets standing ovation, butterflies, win
Starter pitches Dragons to 3-1 victory over Lansing; Soto drives in two runs.

By Marc Katz

Staff Writer

Thursday, September 04, 2008

DAYTON Everybody in the crowd at Fifth Third Field on Wednesday, Sept. 3, understood starter Jeremy Horst deserved an ovation, and they gave it to him, standing.

It was Horst who won the Dragons' opening playoff game, with Neftali Soto's two-run double the determining blow in a 3-1 Dragons victory over Lansing as the Midwest League playoffs opened. Cincinnati Reds General Manager Walk Jocketty and some of his staff watched.

The best-of-three series continues tonight in Lansing's Oldsmobile Park.

During a season which the Dragons have been very up and very down, the turning point for a final upward cycle came the first week of July, when Horst walked out of the bullpen and Soto flew in from rookie ball.

The Dragons were a moribund team at that point, having gone 14-36 in the 50 games just prior to Soto's addition in the lineup as a third baseman/designated hitter. On July 6, his first game, the Dragons lost, then won 31-of-53 games to the end of the regular season.

Horst began starting just a few days before, and, like Soto, the Dragons lost in his debut start, but went 8-2 in Horst's starts while he was 5-0 with a 1.64 ERA.

"There were other guys here doing well," said Soto, a 19-year-old who hit .326 for the Dragons. "I was just trying to help the team."

As well as Horst was pitching, Lansing's Marc Rzepczynski was matching him, until the sixth. With one out, Dayton's Jake Kahaulelio reached on a throwing error and Zack Cozart singled to left. Soto then drove a ball that center fielder Darin Mastroianni made a dive to catch, but couldn't.

"I thought that center fielder was going to track that thing down," said Dragons manager Donnie Scott. "He has been hitting well, and how about that sacrifice fly by Denis Phipps?"

It was Horst, though, who received the standing "O" when he reached 100 pitches in the seventh and was lifted with two out and a man on.

"I got butterflies," Horst said. "That was awesome. I never had a standing ovation before."

Playoff schedule

Series 1 (best of three)

Game 1: Dragon 3, Lansing 1

Game 2: 7 p.m. today

at Lansing, WING-AM (1410)

Game 3 (if necessary):

7 p.m. Friday at Lansing


09-10-2008, 01:14 AM
An invite for Horst

Pitcher Jeremy Horst was finally asked to participate in the fall Florida Instructional League, an extra training session, mostly for top prospects.

Generally, it's considered a good thing to be invited, but Horst wasn't, even after finishing the regular season as the team's top starter following his move from the bullpen.

Then Reds general manager Walt Jocketty saw Horst pitch last week, and invited him.