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Get To Know: Twins Minor League RHP Tyler Wells

With their 15th round pick in June’s draft, the Minnesota Twins selected a 6-8, 260 pound right-hander from Cal State San Bernadino. Tyler Wells had his ups and downs this first two years of college, but he put together a strong junior season. He went 4-7 but posted a 2.84 ERA and struck out 89 in 92 innings. The Twins sent him to Elizabethton after the draft. In ten starts, he went 5-2 with a 3.23 ERA and 59 strikeouts in 47.1 innings. He ended very strong, giving up only an unearned run over 18.1 innings in his final three starts. In the middle of that he threw seven innings of one-hit ball with 14 strikeouts.

Tyler Wells will be one to watch in 2017 and beyond. Today, we get the opportunity to get to know him. Recently, he took time to chat with Seth. Feel free to share your thoughts or ask further questions in the comments below.
Image courtesy of David McQueen- image of Tyler Wells
Let the Q&A begin! Let’s get to know, RHP Tyler Wells.

Seth Stohs (SS): Growing up in southern California, who was your favorite team to follow? Who were some of your favorite players?

Tyler Wells (TW): Well, I didn't really grow up in California. I was born and raised in Oklahoma and moved to West Virginia when I was 13, then moved to California when I was 17. So I never really had much a hometown team to follow. But I really enjoyed watching players like Derek Jeter and Roger Clemens.

SS: What were some of the better memories of your high school baseball career? Did you play other sports or were you involved in other activities?

TW: The day my grandmother, whom I was really close with, passed away, I had to start a game. I showed up late to the game, and we were losing 7-0 in the first inning. Then I pitched the next 6 innings, struck out 14, and we ended up winning 8-7. And I was never really involved with other sports in high school. I just stuck with baseball because it's what I loved.

SS: What was the recruitment process like for you out of high school, and what was it about Cal State San Bernadino that made you want to kind of stay home and pitch there?

TW: The recruiting process was very minimal for me. I never marketed myself to schools, never did Perfect Game events. I just played high school baseball and played on a scout ball team. I chose CSUSB because it was close to home, and I have three little brothers I wanted to be a role model for; the youngest is five now. I wanted to continue being a big part of their lives.

SS: What was the experience for your at CSUSB? What were some of your highlights and favorite moments in your four years there?

TW: My experience was very normal. I practiced, I worked out, and I did school work. I hung out with my friends when I could. I had some fun times with some great friends that I met over the three years I was there, but nothing out of the ordinary.

SS: Did you have the chance to speak with many scouts before the draft? Where did you think that you might be drafted? What was your interaction with Twins scouts before the draft?

TW: I talked to quite a few. I thought the draft was going to be a little better for me, but I'm not sweating it. I got my foot in the door, and now I'm trying to make a statement in this upcoming season. And the Twins scout I talked to was a very nice, genuine guy. Very helpful and supportive of my future with the Twins!

SS: When you did hear your name in the 15th round, where were you? What your reaction and the reaction of those close to you?

TW: I was at home on the phone with the scout from the Twins actually. We were talking and all of sudden my dad starting yelling and saying I got picked by the Twins. But everyone was really happy and excited because it's been a lifelong dream of mine.

SS: What has the adjustment like for you, from the amateur/college game to the professional game, both on and off the field?

TW: Well, it's been a big adjustment on the field as far as learning how to pitch all over again. Learning a bunch of different things like when to throw a certain pitch in a certain count, just a lot of learning in a short amount of time. And off the field wasn't much of an adjustment, because I always tried to be professional away from the field, even in college. I know people watch us athletes closely, and I want people to look at me and think "He's a good person away from the field, and a bulldog on the field."

SS: To what do you attribute your success in the Elizabethton, particularly late in the season when you ended the year with 19.1 scoreless innings?

TW: A lot of time and effort was spent getting my delivery in sync and really working on my mentality. Me and our pitching coach worked and talked all the time about mentality and controlling what I can control, and not worrying about outside factors.

SS: Specifically, what was working so well in your 7 inning, 1-hit, 14 strikeout game against Bristol?

TW: To be honest, it was all my mentality. When I was on the mound, I wasn't really thinking at all. Ben Rortvedt just put down the pitch, and I threw it. It was great because I didn't worry about anything. I just played the game. I had a good slider that day, a good change up, and my fastball had a little something on it. Just came together perfectly.

SS: What pitches do you throw, and what would you consider your out pitch?

TW: I throw a fastball, curveball, slider, and changeup. My slider would be my out pitch..

SS: At this very early stage in your career, what would you say are your biggest strengths?

TW: My biggest strengths would be my mentality, my size, and my drive. I've been an underdog all my life. I've worked hard on my mentality with mental training and visualization. My size is something you can't get, I was just blessed with it. And my drive is something that pushes beyond my limits. I refuse to let someone tell me I can't do something, especially in this career.

SS: What are the areas of your game that you would like to spend time working to improve in the offseason and going forward?

TW: Really just working on educating myself on our pitching philosophy. I learned a lot about it when I was at Instructs, and now I want to be able to put it in action on the mound.

SS: Are you be going back to school in the offseason? What is your major in school?

TW: I took the semester off to really focus on my training and getting my body ready for this next season. But I will be continuing school next offseason, if possible. While I was in school, I was a kinesiology major, with a concentration in exercise science.

SS: What are some of the things you enjoy doing away from the game of baseball?

TW: I love to fish, hunt, and hike. Recently just got back from a hunting trip in Texas with my grandpa and great-uncle! I also love to golf with my dad and little brother.

SS: Who are some of the people who have helped you get to this point in your career?

TW: Kurt Stange, my pitching coach for the first two years of college. Dave Martinez, my pitching coach my junior of college. Dave Coggin, my trainer/mentor. And my father, Jeff Wells. All of them have helped me becoming a mentally strong person and really pushed me to go out there and grind everyday.

SS: Favorite baseball movie?

TW: Bull Durham

A Huge Thank You to Tyler Wells for taking time to answer our questions today at Twins Daily. The right-hander is certainly one to watch, particularly as he begins his first full professional baseball season.
If you you have any questions, please feel free to ask. I can get back to Tyler, or who knows, maybe he’ll answer himself.

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Seth, I'm curious as to his solid college season and his size...not to mention his performance at Elizabethtown...and wonder why he lasted until the 15th round? He would seem to be "projectable". Despite his size, is he just not a very hard thrower?
    • glunn likes this
operation mindcrime
Dec 16 2016 01:09 AM
Good interview. \m/
    • glunn likes this

Great interview.  I like this kid.  I'm going to keep my eye on this one.

    • glunn likes this

Wouldn't be surprised to see this kid amount to something. Sounds like he doesn't overthink the game.

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