White Sox: Exclusive Interview with Pitcher Tyler Danish

Jun 11, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago White Sox relief pitcher Tyler Danish (60) delivers a pitch against the Kansas City Royals during the ninth inning at U.S. Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 11, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago White Sox relief pitcher Tyler Danish (60) delivers a pitch against the Kansas City Royals during the ninth inning at U.S. Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports /

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You can argue the Chicago White Sox have an abundance of pitching talent in their farm system going into this season. Newly acquired prospects such as Michael Kopech, Reynaldo Lopez, Dane Dunning, and Lucas Giolito have stolen headlines all throughout Sox camp this Spring. Perhaps someone that flies too far under the radar is the Sox 2013 second round pick: Tyler Danish.

I began our illustrious interview together with possibly the most important thing I could have asked Tyler; how much pride does he have pitching for the White Sox organization? His answer was something all Sox fans love to hear:

"“I have a ton of pride, an ecstatic Danish said. They’re the team that gave me the opportunity to pursue my dream.. I want to contribute for this team my whole career!”More from White Sox NewsThe Chicago White Sox might have had a season ending lossThe Chicago White Sox are expecting Tim Anderson back soonMiguel Cairo’s words spark life into the Chicago White SoxDylan Cease should be the favorite for the AL Cy Young AwardOzzie Guillen speaks the whole truth about Tony La Russa"

A man with tons of energy, Danish clearly wears his heart on his sleeve every time he pitches. Danish, 22, had recently been sent back down to minor league Spring Training. He had a solid Spring Training this year going 1-0 with a 3.68 ERA.

I went out of my way to ask the gritty right hander to see what type of reaction Danish would have in recently being sent down. Little did I know, I have never spoke with an athlete more determined to prove him/her self than Danish.

"“I feel very confident, Danish said. I know who I am as a pitcher. I’ve been to the big leagues, I’ve been in three big league spring trainings. So I know my stuff plays at the highest level just have to be more consistent.”"

Between two teams last season in the minors, Danish recorded a 4-10 mark with a 4.82 ERA. He began to pitch better down the stretch for the Sox Triple-A affiliate Charlotte Knights. In the midst of a Knights 10 game losing streak, Danish’s close personal friend and teammate Jake Peter broke the Knights losing streak with a walk-off hit. During the walk-off celebration, Danish hurt his knee requiring season ending surgery. I asked Tyler what it was like to recover from such a devastating injury:

"“Obviously it was really tough. I had just started throwing the ball well at Triple A then that happened… it was tough to have the game taken away from you just like that! But it also mentally helped me out and take that and make me work even harder…”"

I began to be amazed by his bulldogged determination (you’re going to be seeing that word quite a bit). He recovered well and was able bodied and ready for spring training this year.

I then asked Tyler what goals he would have coming into the 2017 and asked if he had anything to prove. He had made his MLB debut in 2016 appearing in 3 games with a 10.80 ERA in just 1.2 innings pitched. Although he was ecstatic to make his debut, Danish did note there is one thing in particular he’s looking to work on this season:

"“To continue everyday to get better… Danish simply stated, I did get a little taste of the big leagues. I also saw what I gave to work on which is commanding the baseball. That’s atop of my list.”"

In over almost 105 innings of work in the minors last season, Danish did not struggle much with his control at all; walking just 26 over those 104.2 innings. It was his command in the majors that had Danish upset with himself. Danish allowed three walks and six hits in nearly two innings pitched at the big league level. If he gets his chance in 2017 to be called up again, he will certainly do all he can to stay up at the big league level.

Since 2003, longtime Sox pitching coach and fan favorite Don Cooper has led his starting pitchers to the most quality starts in all of baseball. I asked Tyler if the tenured pitching coach has helped him mature as a pitcher:

"“He keeps it simple, Danish said. Attack the glove with your best stuff… he helped me become a better pitcher every single year I’ve been able to work with him.”"

Danish had met Cooer back in the spring of 2015, his first spring training with the Sox. Cooper helped develop Danish’s repertoire even further. This led me to ask Mr. Danish about what his ‘go to pitch’ is in his arsenal:

"“My sinker,” said Danish confidently. It’s my bread and butter pitch and will continue to be my bread and butter.”"

Besides learning what Danish’s favorite food is, throwing a bowling ball like a sinker is his game. Like most other sinker ball pitchers, he does not throw the ball relatively hard according to today’s standards. Tyler sits around 88-92 with his sinker and he is determined to master the pitch as it could be his gateway back to the majors.

I then asked Danish if he saw himself more as a starter or reliever. Throughout his five minor league seasons Danish has made a vast majority of his appearances as a starter. He did however make three relief appearances last season with the White Sox.

"“I want to start… I have a chip on my shoulder since the day I was drafted to prove everyone I can start, Danish stated. I’ll always do whatever is needed of me. I want to be apart of this exciting time.”"

The exciting time that Danish is referring to, is the rebuilding process the Sox are currently undergoing. It should be extremely exciting for him as the Sox are turning to Danish as a potential starting or relief option for seasons to come. I believe Danish is much better off as a starter because his power sinker is an invaluable tool that only gets better as the game goes along (and no I am not being biased in this situation).

Unfortunately, Danish had to undergo the sudden loss of his father to cancer when he was just 16 years old. Danish’s father was a humongous presence in his life as he had aspirations of his son playing in the major leagues one day. It is a shame that he was not able to see his son debut last season, but Danish dealt with the pain and used it as his drive to not only appear at the big league level, but to stay there for a long time:

"“It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever dealt with.. but it also gave me drive to pitch in the big leagues and pitch there for a long time.. it’s not only a dream of mine but a dream of his.”"

Besides his father, Danish also has other people in his life he attributes his success too, including coaches he has met at every level of his playing career:

"“There’s a lot of people all my coaches I have throughout my life, said Danish. I’ve learned so much from all of them and it’s not only made me a great baseball player but an even better person.”"

Without a doubt, Danish is as humble as they come. I took a break from the ball-breaking questions and asked him a few light hearted ones. I was curious to know what Danish would be doing with his career if he did not play baseball professionally. Big surprise, it was a baseball related job:

"“I’ve always been intrigued by a front office job with a major league team so if I had to say one, it would be that.”"

White Sox general manager Rick Hahn and senior Vice President Ken Williams might have to second guess their job security by the time Danish’s career is said and done.

Not that I did not get a good vibe of who Danish was in my interview with him thus far, I wanted to ask him if somebody described who he was, what would be the one word to describe him? His answer, determined.

"“Determined. Because my whole life has been about being a major league pitcher and being there for a long time.”"

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If it wasn’t already clear by his previous answer Tyler Danish is one determined dude. Besides that fact, he has a world of baseball talent and heart to make it at the big league level. With many rotation spots potentially in the air after 2017, Danish has just as good a shot to be a successful starting pitcher as anyone else in the Sox farm system. Oh, and a world of motivation behind him.