By STEVE KRAH
Tanner Tully made his eighth start of the 2017 baseball season Thursday, July 6 at Fort Wayne’s Parkview Field.
The 2013 Elkhart Central High School graduate landed 58 of his 90 pitches in the strike zone, hitting 90 mph a few times with most fastballs in the upper 80s.
“I threw 80 percent fastballs and 20 percent off-speed,” said Tully, who received a no-decision and praise from Lake County pitching coach Jason Blanton.
“He’s a strike thrower,” said Blanton of the 22-year-old second-year pro. “He walks about 2 percent of the guys he faces. When you get Strike 1 on almost every hitter you face, you’re in a good position. His mindset is simple. His delivery is simple. It’s repeatable. He’s unflappable. Mentally, he’s very strong.
“He’s very in-tune with what his strengths are. He goes out there and gets after it.”
Tully talked about what has made him successful.
“I just keep the ball low and make the pitches go in and out,” said Tully. “I let the defense work behind me.
“I try to command the fastball and let (the hitters) get themselves out. If they hit it, they hit it.”
On Thursday, the 15 outs the southpaw recorded included five fly balls, three grounders and the seven punch-outs.
“I’ve been getting into a good routine,” said Tully, who was a “piggy-back” starter in 2016 and now works in a five-man rotation. After earning Indiana Mr. Baseball honors at Central in 2013, he pitched once a week as the No. 1 starter at Ohio State University.
Blanton said every pitcher is on his own program, but all throw at different distances, durations and intensities between appearances.
Tully, who played travel baseball with the Indiana Chargers, lowered his season earned run average for 15 games (seven starts) with the Low Class-A Midwest League’s Captains to 3.07. Throw in the June 17 spot-start victory at Double-A Eastern League’s Akron Rubber Ducks (six innings, six hits, three earned runs, one strikeout, two walks) and the figure dips to 2.83. He 5-5 on the season, including 4-5 for the Captains.
Blanton has watched the Cleveland Indians prospect soak up pro coaching.
“He’s an open-minded young man,” said Blanton. “He internalizes a lot of the information. He doesn’t really talk a whole lot. There’s fire underneath that surface. He works his tail off and he’s very competitive. He wants to get to the big leagues and dominate every time.
“I don’t think anything is too big for him. He’s very calm. He doesn’t let the game speed up on him.”
Tanner Tully, a 2013 Elkhart Central High School graduate, is pitching for the Lake County Captains in 2017. (MiLB Photo)