Sean Wymer collected his first professional victory against Spokane at Nat Bailey Stadium July 8.
2018 Vancouver Canadians pitcher Sean Wymer stops in for the latest instalment of C’s Chat.
The Toronto Blue Jays took Wymer in the fourth round of the 2018 draft from the Texas Christian University Horned Frogs. Gerald Turner was the signing scout for the 21 year-old from Flower Mound, Texas.
Wymer was happy to be drafted but he wished he was still playing baseball at the time.
“It was awesome. It’s not good that we were home because we were out of the postseason at TCU but I got to experience it with my family watching the live stream on MLB.com. It was good to experience that. My brother flew in from New York, It was a good experience just kind of being able to be with the family in that special moment definitely. I was real excited to get out here and get going.
“I didn’t have any specific team in mind that I thought was going to draft me. It just kind of came down to like two, three picks before. My advisor, my agent now, texted me and said ‘Hey, the Blue Jays are going to take you here.’ I had no prior knowledge, I had no idea who was going to take me.”
2017 College World Series
Wymer was an ace reliever with the Horned Frogs who made it to Omaha for the College World Series. His biggest moment came against Louisville when he delivered 4-1/3 shutout innings to close out a win against Louisville in an elimination game. Wymer struck out Brendan McKay—the fourth pick of the 2017 MLB draft by Tampa Bay—in the fifth and eighth innings over 4-1/3 scoreless innings to pick up the win.
“That was amazing. It was probably one of the coolest baseball experiences I’ve had in my life definitely going to the College World Series. Just being at TCU was awesome. The coaches were awesome. I can’t thank them enough for what they did for me enabling me to get here.
The pitching coach there (former major leaguer Kirk Saarloos) was a huge influence in my baseball career. He kind of tweaked some mechanical things with me after my freshman year that kind of got me on pace to where I am now. That was a great experience there, great school.
I didn’t get to finish my degree getting drafted as a junior but I’m looking to do that after baseball is over. I’m a Computer Science major so I got one more year left.”
It was performances like those that earned Wymer a spot on the 2017 USA Baseball Collegiate National Team. He also earned Second-Team All-Big 12 Conference and First-Team Academic All-Big 12 honours.
Sean Wymer pitched 75 innings for TCU before logging 35-1/3 frames with Vancouver in 2018.
Pitching at TCU
Wymer says TCU’s success during his time there could be attributed in part to its detail to mental preparation.
“I think the biggest thing we do as a team is just kind of practicing the mental side of the game. We had a mental performance coach Brian Cain and he was a huge influence on all of us. That was the first thing they do when you get on campus is you got to buy into this – how we do things here.
The mental side of the game, understanding your routines, your (breathing) and all that to kind of slow the game down and just be comfortable out there while you’re playing. I think that was the biggest thing that helped us get there.
I definitely wouldn’t say every time you’re out on the field, you’re not always the most talented team but it’s the team that plays the best who wins. Being prepared mentally is a huge advantage.”
Of Wymer’s 46 appearances with the Horned Frogs over his first two seasons, all but two came out of the bullpen. This season saw him make 10 starts out of his 15 appearances. Wymer says he doesn’t have a preference starting or relieving.
“Either is fine. This junior year was my first year starting so getting used to starting took a couple of starts. It’s a whole different routine. Instead of going through the team stretch and BP and all that, you’re sitting there in the locker room just thinking about your start. It’s kind of a different animal mentally but I’m kind of getting used to that throughout my junior year. Now I’m good with either role.”
MLB.com considers Wymer to be a four-pitch pitcher but he says it’s really three pitches he has in his repertoire.
“It’s definitely a three-pitch (repertoire) – it’s fastball, curveball, changeup. I have seen the four-pitch mix and all that with the curveball-slider but I just throw one curveball. I think it breaks differently depending on the count. If it’s a two-strike curveball, it’s going to be more down. They might see the ‘not-two-strike’ curveball as more of a silder but I just call it one pitch. So fastball, curveball, changeup.”
Wymer says his fastball is a four-seamer that can reach 95 miles an hour during shorter stints but he does not concern himself with radar gun readings.
“I hold it as a four-seam. It’s got a little sink to it on a good day. It plays as a normal fastball if it’s not sinking. It’s just a four-seam fastball. I usually don’t pay attention to (the radar gun). I let the hitter tell me how the fastball is playing. I could be throwing 91, 92 (miles per hour) and they’re swinging through it and if I look back and see 91, 92, I’m not going to try and ramp it up if it’s working. It’s kind of just play it and seeing how the hitters react to it.”
Having a three-pitch is always good if you can command all three and keep the hitters off balance. I think that’s my biggest strength is when I command all three pitches, it’s a lot easier to throw. The fastball-curveball is my main two pitches out of the pen. It’s just kind of whatever is playing that day.”
Wymer says he is trying to get back on track in 2018 after an early-season injury with TCU.
“This year, just trying to get back into sync of how I was a year ago. I had an injury at the beginning of this season in college. It kind of derailed me a little bit and I had to get back on track. Now I’m feeling the best I’ve felt this year so I’m just trying to get everything back in sync.
It was a lower back injury. It kind of messed with some things mechanically and it got me into some bad habits and now I’ve kind of worked myself out of those so now it’s kind of a stepping stone I’m ready to get back to where I was.”
Wymer has been recognized as a pitcher to watch in the Toronto Blue Jays system as he was ranked as the team’s 26th best prospect according to MLB.com in late July. Wymer was happy to find his name on that list.
“It was awesome. I was working out in Everett and it was updated and someone came up to me and said, ‘Hey, congratulations!’ I was like, ‘For what?’ ‘You got in the top 30 prospects!’ I was like, ‘Oh!’ It’s cool. It’s nice being on there.”
Sean Wymer won three of four decisions with a 3.57 ERA for Vancouver during the month of July.
Pitching In Vancouver
Wymer says the biggest difference from college to the pro game is pitch calling.
“It’s a little different coming from college because in college, the pitching coach is calling your pitches and all that so you really don’t have control of it. He doesn’t like when you shake (him off) and all that but now getting here and getting comfortable with calling your own pitches was kind of a little shift that I had to make. It’s not terrible just because I know what I throw in certain counts. I know my strengths and all that stuff. It hasn’t been too big of a difference.”
Wymer says he really enjoyed pitching at Nat Bailey Stadium.
“It’s awesome. The crowd’s electric. It’s amazing because even at TCU, our most-packed games were like 4,000 (fans). Here with 6,000, they’re loud with every pitch. It’s awesome.”
Wymer has been in pitching in tandem with fellow righthander Joey Murray with the C’s and says the partnership has been a good one.
“We talk to each other a lot about like what were going through routine-wise. How we’re throwing before each game, when we’re going to long toss, when we’re going to take it easy when we work out on the same day and all that. It’s been good to go through and kind of bounce ideas off of each other and getting inside our routines.”
Wymer believes his routine gives him a plan of attack when he takes the mound every sixth day.
“I think just like knowing what I’m going to do each day. I mean I have specific details but the main kind of blueprint is like I’m pitching this day and then you do your lift the next day. You do your lift the next day and you have the side (throwing session). It’s kind of like having that routine of that sixth day rotation has made it a lot easier to adjust.”
Wymer says he has benefited from the tutelage of C’s pitching coach Jim Czajkowski.
“The first time we threw. He said, ‘I’m not going to tell you anything. I just want to watch you.’ He watches for about two weeks and kind of got a feel for how we throw and how we pitch and kind of what we did like routine-wise and he’s helped with that too in telling us like, ‘Hey, you just need to take it a little easier here. You don’t need to throw as much here,’ because in pro ball, you’re throwing every day. If you need an off-day, you take an off-day.
He’ll give up little tips like if he thinks something could possibly get you injured, just mechanically, he’ll mention it and you can work on it. He’s definitely not trying to make huge mechanical changes. He’s kind of letting us do our own thing.”
Wymer says his goals for the future include continuing to refine his routine.
“Just kind of getting into a routine of things. How I’m going to go about myself each day in pro ball and getting on the six-day rotation and then probably in the next year be a five-day (pitcher) in the higher levels. Just understand the pro ball philosophy and how you do things and all that.”
Wymer completed his first season in the professional ranks with a 4-3 record and a 4.84 earned run average that covered 13 appearances, seven of them starts. In 35-1/3 innings, he struck out 34 and walked seven with a WHIP (walks-hits-innings-pitched) of 1.19.
His most successful appearance came against Spokane July 8 when he spun three shutout frames of one-hit ball against Spokane July 8. His most dominant outing came against Boise August 27 when he struck out seven batters over three innings of two-hit balls. However, one of the hits was a solo home run and that resulted in a hard-luck loss. Wymer would whiff five more in another three-inning stint during the regular season finale in Spokane September 3.
My thanks to Sean Wymer for the latest edition of C’s Chat. You can follow him on Twitter @seanwymer26. Special thanks again to Media Relations Assistant Sharlene Canning for arranging the interview.