Josh Warner has pitched a New York-Penn League best 25 innings this season, going 1-0 with a 1.08 ERA in 4 games for the Williamsport Crosscutters. The RHP has allowed just one home run and walked six, striking out twenty one batters. After the Phillies signed him as a non-drafted free agent in 2010, he pitched for the GCL Phillies in 2011, then for the Brisbane Bandits of the Australian Baseball League.
He started 2012 with the South Atlantic League Lakewood BlueClaws starting just two games before heading to Williamsport.
I want to get more first pitch strikes and work on my off-speed stuff more. The more I do that the more I can work off my fastball better. I’d also like to stretch out my innings even more and as much as I can.
On what he’s improved: Accuracy. Confidence with all my pitches. Maturity as well. I’m not letting the runners on or mistakes take me out of the game.
What he’s worked on most with Fultz: A few mechanical things. My stance as well. I’m not leaning over as much. He’s also really helped me with the mental side. Knowing what hitters do when, recognizing swings, and understanding when it’s time to try and strike a hitter out.
Pitching in the Australian Baseball League in 2011: The ABL is a as good a league as the Florida State League or even higher. I faced guys who’d been in Double-A, ex-major leaguers. That really gives you good experience and gets your adrenaline going.
Looking Forward: I’d like to add a cutter in the off-season. But they [the Phillies] really want me to have command of all my pitches before I add anything else.
He works really hard on his off-days. He takes the game very seriously. He’s really trying hard to work off his fastball.
On his adding a pitch: Pitchers always want to add a pitch. But they don’t always need to. He’s very good now and getting better with all three pitches he has. He needs to stay with that then talk to the Phillies about adding something later.
On what he’s doing to be successful: Two things. His preparation on his off-days. He’s running in the stands, running more in general, and getting better knowledge of the hitters. Second, he’s locating his fastball and using his off-speed stuff more effectively.
He’s got a plus curveball and his arm slot is good. He needs to work on the changeup.
On why he’s matured: He’s understanding that this is his profession. This is his job. So he’s taken things more seriously and working harder.
Williamsport Pitching Coach Aaron Fultz Breaks Down Warner’s Repertoire:
He throws a fastball, a curveball and a changeup. His curveball is a plus-pitch. The changeup is pretty good, he uses it really well. And he’s able to command his fastball both sides of the plate.
Velocity: He throws his fastball 86-91. Averaging around 89. So it’s not overly hard, but it plays better because he locates well.
Adding another pitch: I don’t see a reason for it right now. The only pitch he’d really add would be a slider and I think that would take away from his curveball. I don’t think it’s feasible at this moment.
Command: I think his fastball command is outstanding. I really do. He’s learning how to pitch. He’s doing a really good job. His curveball command is iffy. It depends on what day it is. Some days it’s really, really good and some days it’s not. The changeup he uses well and he keeps the ball down most of the time. That has a chance to be a plus pitch also.
Bad habits they’re working on: He throws across his body and that affects his curveball command. For me that’s the big concern, is his body position.
Maturity in tough moments: I think it’s progressing. You have to remember he’s nineteen. And his first real season. This spring I had times where I felt like I needed to beat him. Because he’d get so mad at certain situations. But he’s maturing and he’s getting better. There’s still times where I can tell it bothers him. But it’s not bothering him for as long, so he’s doing a better job.
Pitching deep: He’s leading the league in innings pitched. He is on a pitch count. The last game it was 95 and he threw 89 pitches. He will not throw over 100 all year. So for him to be getting in the innings he does is pretty impressive because he is working on that pitch count. Because he threw 90 this time, next start it might be 80. It just depends on how he feels and how he looks. That’s just something we’ll monitor closely.