The Orioles’ 7th round draft pick in 2009, Wirsch made his debut with the GCL Orioles the same year, throwing 16.2 innings with a 2.16 ERA and 18 strikeouts. Joe Jordan said “I wish we could sign five every year just like him.”
A projectable lefty, Wirsch was one of many high-upside pitchers taken in the 2009 draft class. With a high 80’s fastball, a plus changeup and a curveball that flashes plus, Wirsch has as much upside as anyone in the system.
After pitching well in extended spring training, Wirsch went down with an oblique injury that has kept him out of game action this season. I touched base with the intriguing young lefty during my trip to the GCL this season.
JT: In an interview with MASN, Joe Jordan said your changeup is better than the one Brian Matusz had coming out of high school. What do you think about that?
AW: It’s great that he says that. I have a lot of confidence in my pitches, I can throw my changeup in any count. I like to think it’s a pretty good pitch, an out pitch, along with my curveball. Last year I really developed it.
JT: When did you start throwing the pitch and how did you learn it?
AW: I started throwing the changeup when I was really young. Way before I started throwing my curveball. I remember throwing it a lot back in travel ball as my big out pitch.
JT: Can you describe your arsenal of pitches and how you feel about each one?
AW: My fastball sits anywhere from 86-90 mph. I have a two seam which I can throw in any count, in, out, up down. Changeup, I already talked about that. I’ve developed my curveball a lot, it’s come a long way since high school, I’m real proud of it.
JT: So would you say your changeup is your out pitch?
AW: Different games it varies, some days my curveball will be better than my changeup, other days it will be the other way around. You just have to go out and see how everything’s working.
JT: What part of your game do you feel the most confident in?
AW: My ability to start a game, have a low pitch count and go deep into the game, try to get the team a win. I haven’t been able to do that because I haven’t thrown in a while, I want to get out there and pitch.
JT: What kind of pitcher do you think of yourself as?
AW: A starting pitcher that can go deep into games with a low pitch count.
JT: Which MLB pitcher would you compare yourself to?
AW: A few years ago I was watching the Phillies in the World Series. I watched Cole Hamels a lot, that’s when he did real well. I was comparing myself to him.
JT: Yeah, because you both have good secondary pitches.
JT: What do you do to prepare before games? How about from a mental standpoint?
AW: Mentally, I just go through each pitch in my head, counts in my head. I like to make sure I’ve gone through everything in my head so when I get on the mound in that situation, nothing’s new. I make sure everything’s feeling good, everything’s good and that all three of my pitches are working.
JT: What’s it like having a pitcher like Mike Gonzalez down here during rehab?
AW: You just watch and see how he goes about his business. He’s a big leaguer, you know, that’s where I want to be one day. You talk to him a little bit, watch him throw bullpens, you gain from his experience.