Tracy Staying On Top Of The Deuce

Matt Tracy is still working on the curveball

Left-hander Matt Tracy followed up his solid professional debut season last year with another good season this year, posting a 6-7 record with a 3.20 ERA in 2012. While he was clearly never daunted by skipping a couple of levels in his first full season, he is also comforted by the fact that he still has room to get better, especially with his curveball.

He missed the first six weeks of the season while battling a hamstring problem too and while he found that a bit frustrating, he can't help but be excited about the fact that he finished his first full season not only having some success but completing it without any arm issues whatsoever.

"It's a little bit frustrating when you're dealing well in Spring Training and you're excited to break camp with the team, and then you get hurt and it's not even your arm, it's just your legs," Tracy said. "It was a little bit frustrating."

The frustration didn't last long, however, as he continued to put up solid numbers once again despite bypassing the low-A level entirely and having success at a higher level without the consistent breaking pitch that he wanted.

"I thought it came along pretty well," he said of his curveball. "I went back down to Instructs this year and got another opportunity to work on the curveball [again]. I think we've made a lot of strides with it. I'm excited about seeing where it's at going into next season."

He finished his debut season a year ago posting a 3.04 ERA with the Staten Island Yankees and went directly to his first Instructional League camp to further develop his curveball. It remained a point of emphasis in Tampa this season as well and still was atop his agenda list into Instructs this year too.

"I hope it's got a bit more break," he said. "We worked on my posture and staying a bit more upright so I'm not bending over so it's got a bit more curveball break than a slider break. It's still the same velocity, I'm just hoping to have some more action to it.

"I think the posture with my mechanics going with my motion helped out a lot because it helped me get on top of the curveball a little bit better. That's the biggest thing I felt improved [the curveball]."

It's not as if his curveball was substandard this year either. Like he can with both his fastball and changeup, he still has very good command of his breaking ball.

"I feel like I've got pretty good command with it but command is something everybody has to keep working on all of their pitches to where they feel really comfortable with it," he said.

Tracy was thankful for a lot of things in 2012; good command of his pitches, pitching well at a higher minor league level, getting the opportunity to also bypass Double-A and get a start in Triple-A in his first full season, having his fastball velocity remain consistent all year, and perhaps most importantly, finishing his first full season with no arm problems at all.

So while he would like to keep all of that going into his second full season next year, there is one thing Tracy would have liked to change about his performance this year.

"A little more consistent breaking ball the whole season -- it wasn't as consistent as I would have liked it to be and as effective as I would have like it to be throughout the whole season. That's something I'm really looking forward to improving upon next season," he concluded.

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