With four quality starts in his last five appearances, Beloit Snappers pitcher Jared Poche’ has turned the corner in his first full professional season and become a steady presence on a club vying for a second-half playoff spot.
The Oakland A’s 9th-round selection in 2017 out of LSU, Poche’ has certainly experienced his fair share of big moments on a perennial national power. The atmospheres might be less electric in the lower rungs of the minor leagues, but the left-hander has still risen his level of play.
That was evident on Wednesday night, as Poche’ allowed two earned runs on seven hits in six innings, striking out five and walking just one. He didn’t factor in the decision, but put his team in position to win on a ninth-inning walk-off.
“The first part of the season was tough, adjusting to pitching every fifth day and the weather was brutal here,” said Poche’, a native of New Orleans, Louisiana. “I had never pitched in that cold of weather before. At the end of the day, it’s about going out there and executing and getting the job done.
“This last month, I’m learning more and more how to call my own game and figuring out what kind of pitcher I am. I’m figuring out what works to certain hitters. In college, our pitching coach called pitches and we worked along with him. Calling a game myself was a little bit different for me, so I’m getting better at that.”
Across his past five starts, Poche’ has allowed nine earned runs on 25 hits in 30 innings. He’s making Midwest League hitters earn any success they’ve had against him, as he’s mustered a 24:5 K:BB rate during the stretch.
Although he struggled at times early in the season, Poche’s overall body of work has been stellar. He’s compiled a 7-6 record and 4.19 ERA with a 1.19 WHIP. His 85:28 K:BB rate should put him in position to succeed as he works his way up the ladder.
“This is my first full season and I’ve experienced a lot of new things with the pro ball, minor-league lifestyle,” Poche’ said. “I wish I could have done some things differently and better a couple times. I’ve learned from the outings I’ve struggled in.
“The minor leagues are about developing and getting better each and every time you go out. It’s a different atmosphere from college where you want to win, win, win. You still want to win in the minors, but it’s more about developing, staying healthy and embracing the grind.”
The addition of a fourth offering to go with an upper-80s fastball, changeup and curveball has been part of the 6-1, 215-pound pitcher’s process.
“I started throwing a cutter this year and that’s been a big pitch,” Poche’ said. “I’ve always had a curveball and my changeup has gotten a lot better this year. I’ve got more bullets in the chamber now to throw at the hitter, so I’m learning when to throw them. The more you throw them the better they become.”
Simply continuing to take his turn in the rotation remains the goal for Poche’, who made just one two-inning appearance with the Short-season Vermont Lake Monsters last year before being shut down after pitching 113.2 innings at LSU.
“I just want to stay healthy,” he said. “It’s been a long season and I’m at about 100 innings so far. I want to finish the season stronger. My goal is to get better each month. I had a pretty good month this past month, so I want to do better this last month of August and go into the offseason healthy.”
Doing so should put Poche’ into consideration for a 2019 assignment at High-A Stockton.
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