In the 10th round of the 2017 MLB Draft, the Mets swooped a right-handed submariner out of the University of Kansas by the name of Stephen Villines. Most scouts just overlooked this prospect. Once the calendar changed to 2018, opinions on the submariner changed as well. In 2018 Villines compiled a 3.11 ERA through 66.2 Innings, with 96 strikeouts and only 13 walks. The bulk of his season was between Columbia and St. Lucie with a few games at the Double-A level on the Binghamton Rumble Ponies.
Villines now has established himself as a legitimate relief prospect. He had a decent spring training this year He has a very interesting story so I reached out to the right-hander to share his draft experience, and what it’s been like to be a part of the New York Mets organization so far, and some of his likes outside of baseball too!
Yehuda Schwartz: What was your experience when getting drafted?
Stephen Villines: It goes by pretty quick! Coming out of my senior year of college I was unsure what would happen. Hearing my name called is a moment that will always be special for my family and me.
Schwartz: You have very quickly become a very good reliever, what pitches are key to your success?
Villines: Every level is different and with that comes different challenges. I would say one of the most important keys to success is having the confidence to execute a pitch and trust your skill set.
Schwartz: You are a submariner. How did you originally start throwing submarine?
Villines: As I grew up I would throw from a 3/4 arm slot and once I got to college I was able to work on a couple of changes and found the sidearm angle to be a more natural movement for me and was able to find some success with it.
Schwartz: I always wondered if a submarine pitcher can throw well overhand. If so, why don’t they switch the angles to fool the hitter?
Villines: I can’t speak for other sidearm throwers but for me, I am not the best overhand thrower. It comes out slow and flat so luckily for me I’m able to drop down.
Schwartz: Who was the first major league player you encountered?
Villines: The first major leaguer that I came across was when Matt Harvey did a rehab start for the Brooklyn Cyclones. It was awesome getting a front row seat to watch him pitch. It was also a good learning experience to see how a professional pitcher goes about his business and how he prepared for his start.
Schwartz: What are your favorite hobbies?
Villines: When I’m away from the baseball field my favorite hobbies would be:
– Going to the beach when I’m back home in CA
Schwartz: What is something Mets fans don’t know about you?
Villines: Something the fans probably don’t know would be that I enjoy watching golden retriever videos on Instagram.
Schwartz: Thank you for your time!
Villines: No problem!