The Detroit Tigers selected Tyler Stohr in the 6th round of the infamous reliever draft of 2008. In four seasons, the 25-year-old has posted an impressive 3.58 ERA, striking out more than a batter per frame over 143 1/3 innings. Recently the right-hander was added to the Tigers 40-man roster, putting him on the short list to join big league club. This spring the Tommy John survivor will battle for one of the last remaining spots in the Tigers ‘pen.
Yesterday Tyler Stohr was kind enough to check in with us and participate in a Q&A.
MCB: Who has had the biggest influence on your baseball career?
Tyler Stohr: I’d have to say my parents, I mean we’re talking about people who named all three of their children after famous baseball players. Thankfully my parents named me Tyler instead of Tyrus, yes my parents named me after the Tiger great.
MCB: At what point in your life do you remember deciding that professional baseball was something that you wanted to pursue?
TS: I always dreamed about playing professional baseball, now I didn’t always dream about pitching professionally. I wanted to be a hitter growing up. It wasn’t until I was playing in college that it became something that could become a reality.
MCB: Have you had any favorite coaches or mentors allow the way?
TS: I have had the pleasure of playing for some very good coaches along the way. My high school coach Tom Dooley is second to none, he taught me so much about how to play the game the right way and how to be a man. Also, my coach at N. Florida, Dusty Rhodes, was an amazing coach to play for; he definitely toughened me up and pushed me to get me to my full potential in college.
MCB: After transferring from Army to North Florida you moved from the rotation to the ‘pen. How did that move come about?
TS: Honestly, that move came about because I was getting shelled as a starter. In 3 starts at UNF I think I pitched a total of 7 inning and gave up somewhere in the range of 15 to 20 runs. Coach Rhodes at UNF put me in the bullpen and honestly I thought I was going to get cut. Well, Coach Rhodes being the loyal man that he is, didn’t cut me but threw me right into high pressure situations out of the pen and I saw a lot of success. At this time I found major gains in my fastball velocity, which I think was a major factor that put me on the radar of many scouts.
MCB: You had to go under the knife in 2010. How bad was the Tommy John surgery and rehab process? Has it effected your mechanics or approach to the game at all?
TS: Tommy John and the rehab process were both a disaster and a blessing at the same time. The disaster was that I missed a year of professional playing experience. The blessing was that it challenged me to work harder than I ever have to give myself the best chance to come back and play the game I love.
MCB: In your first season back from surgery you logged almost 70 innings. How has your arm handle all the work?
TS: My arm held up unbelievably and I have Dr. Andrews, Matt Serlo at 5 Star Physical Therapy, Dustin Campbell our head minor league trainer, Steve Chase our strength coach in charge of rehabbing players, and myself for all the hard work that was done leading up to the 2011 season. During the season, the Tigers had me on some strict rules regarding how much I could pitch which did protect my arm a little bit. My arm is fresh and ready to go.
MCB: You participated in the AFL last fall. Tell us a little about your time there. Also, did they give you any hardware when you won the championship?
TS: The fall league was an amazing experience. I faced the best competition that I have ever faced in my life on a daily basis. There is no doubt that many of my teammates and opponents out there will play in the big leagues. In regards to hardware, we haven’t received anything yet, but just minutes before the championship game the league came into our club house to size us up for rings.
MCB: You were recently added to the Tigers 40-man roster. How incredible did that feel? Who was the first person you called when you got the news?
TS: Gosh, that was one of the greatest days in my life so far. It was the next step in my career that I had worked so hard for and it was a moment when I felt like all that hard work was starting to pay off. The phone call came when I was in Arizona at my apartment, I walked outside to take the call and as soon as I got off the phone I thanked God personally for how great he is and how awesome his plan is. Then I called my Mother, she’s always telling me that she’s always the last person to find things out so I thought I’d share this news with her before the rest of my family. Well, she didn’t answer her phone this time because she was at work so I called and spoke with my dad.
MCB: What part of your game, specifically, are you looking to improve on this year?
TS: I think the one major thing that separates Minor Leaguers from Big Leaguers is consistency. This year I will be working being the same guy every time I take the mound.
MCB: Switching gears a bit, I have a few non baseball questions from our readers. What are some of the things away from the game that you like to do for fun?
TS: In my off season I spend a lot of time hunting, deer hunting specifically. I also enjoy fishing.
MCB: Last December, you began writing over at What’s in Stohr?, can you tell us more about your blog?
TS: I was approached by my agent about blogging about my life as a professional baseball player for the website Through the Fence Baseball. I saw it as an opportunity to let baseball fans really see what it is like on the professional side and also get an opportunity to know me as a person and use it as a little bit of a platform.
MCB: You’ve played baseball in several different cities and states. What have been some of the best and worst venues?
TS: I would have to say the best is West Michigan because of the fans, the people up there love their Whitecaps and it’s a special place to play.
MCB: What have you been up to this off-season?
TS: My off season this year was pretty short, it didn’t begin until November 20 and I got back to Lakeland to prepare for this season on January 8. In that month and a half I spent a lot of time hunting, I spent the holidays with my family and I did a lot of relaxing.
MCB: Who were some of your favorite baseball players growing up? Did you model your game after any of your favorite pitchers?
TS: Growing up I was a big fan of the Yankees (I grew up in New York) and followed Andy Pettitte, Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams, and Paul O’Neill. I didn’t really model my mechanics after anyone pitcher, but I try to take some parts of the mental side of the game from some of the greats like Roger Clemens and Andy Petitte.
MCB: Outside of baseball do you follow any sports?
TS: I follow Duke Basketball because of Coach K and my grandfather. I follow the Jacksonville Jaguars ever since I went to college in Jacksonville. Currently, I’m following Lin-Mania regarding the New York Knicks, it’s a great sports story.
MCB: What are five songs or albums that you’re currently listening to on your iPod? Anything on there that might get your Man Card revoked?
TS: I don’t think I have any Man Card revoking music on there, I listen to Luke Bryan, Randy Travis, Eric Church, some Skillet, and some Cross Canadian Ragweed.
MCB: Is there a specific “walk up” song that you like to hear when you’re coming out of the ‘pen to enter the game?
TS: What ever they want to play for me within reason is fine haha it doesn’t take a special song to get me in the right mind set to pitch. But Awake and Alive by Skillet will do.
MCB: What’s your all-time favorite baseball movie?
TS: I’d have to say Field of Dreams, because out of all the great baseball movies out there this one depicts how special this game has been in America and I really like the father-son bond that Kevin Costner was seeking.
For more interviews with Detroit Tigers Prospects, click here.