Ty Buttrey has been a friend of Halos Heaven since being traded to the Angels last year. He did this interview before even debuting with the team. He also logged in and did a live chat with us over the off season.
And on what would later become one of the most memorable days in Angels history, Ty called me last Friday (July 12th) to catch up on all things Angels. Always personable, always generous with his time and insights, he shied away from no question. But out of respect for the obvious emotion he felt, the bond within the team, we kept the passing of Tyler Skaggs to one question.
If you would like to follow Ty on social media, his Instagram page is linked here.
Here’s a transcript of that call:
Ty, thanks for the call. You said you are driving back. Where did you go to spend your All-Star break?
“My wife and I went to Santa Barbara. My aunt lives up there but we got a little Airbnb in Montecito over by Miramar Beach and it was a good vacation, getting away from all the stress of the season.
And my wife had a brother, her brother passed away a couple weeks ago and then we had Skaggs pass away.
So it was obviously just a very sad and unfortunate time and it was a much needed vacation for everybody.”
Yeah. Sorry to hear about your brother in law. Condolences to you and your wife’s family. That is brutal.
“Yeah, I know. Appreciate that.”
As far as Skaggs' passing, that’s something we can discuss or not depending on how you feel. I’d imagine you were in pitcher's meetings and workouts with him and were around him as much, if not more than anyone on the team.
“Yeah. I was. [Pause]
Tyler was an amazing guy to me since day one. He just, the one thing that stood out about him was he never made anybody feel less than him. He had five years in the show, he could have easily been different.
He was just a very good guy to everybody. Treated everybody with respect, treated me with respect. Was a great leader. Definitely kept guys loose and had fun.
It is just so tragic because I felt like I was just really starting to get to know him and it's just....sad.
But the man took his job extremely serious and if there’s one thing I can take from him it is just the confidence he had. Just the way he walked around the clubhouse. He stood tall and he had, always had a confidence. He was a natural leader.
And like I said, it is just very sad.”
Thanks for that.
Going back to this year, you spent the All Star break in Santa Barbara but looking at your numbers, your Leverage Index, you are having an All Star type year. Are you enjoying the success you are having out on the mound?
“I am. It's unbelievable. I was honestly, I was talking to my wife and we were sitting there and my goal coming into the season was to make the team. I mean, last year being in Pawtucket with the Red Sox and fast forward half a year later and I’m in the big leagues pitching in the 8th inning, coming into high leverage situations.
I felt like I had that capability all along. But I’d be lying to you if I told you that’s what I predicted my future was going to be.
It’s just been unbelievable. The experience I got has been the most valuable stuff that I can’t really put a price tag on. The stuff I’ve been doing this year is only going to make me better for years to come I feel like.”
You, as a player, understand the management philosophy shift to using guys based on leverage situations instead of just innings like when we were growing up, right?
So how does that impact you getting ready to come into a game when you don’t know when you you’re going to come in?
“I think at first there was a little bit of an adjustment period. I think there just was.
But last year I was up for a month and a half and it was kind of a similar situation. Scioscia was bringing me in towards the end of my time last year, I was coming in to high leverage situations and closing a little bit.
And so I’m kind of used to it. I just don’t think anything of it. I know when it’s a closer lead, Brad’s going to lean on me and we’ve had a lot of good pitchers, Robles is doing unbelievable and Cam, Noe, and Justin. The whole bullpen is really going and firing and its good we have each other, pick each other up.
But in terms of how I get myself ready, I think that’s more of a learning process than anything. I’m good at it, I would like to be better in terms of just always being ready for the situation. And I think that’s what the best guys do, it doesn’t matter the situation. There’s not really an emotional high or low with them, they seem pretty even keeled out there.
And I feel sometimes I can kind of make the moment a little bigger than what it is and in reality when I’m at my best I’m out there, I’m focused, I’m not thinking about any distractions.
Trying to find that happy medium for me has kind of been my biggest challenge and something that I want to continue to get better at.”
I find it funny you said you wanted to make the team. I understand that mindset but-
In my season preview I literally said that you would be the important guy who puts out fires, the high leverage guy, and that Allen was brought in to pitch clean 9th innings, nobody on, just needing to get 3 outs.
Not to toot my own horn, but that was 100% the strategy at the beginning of the year, right?
“[chuckles] Yeah, I think Billy and Brad and everybody, that’s how they drew it up. I think, like you said, I do think that the Angels had big plans for me.
Honestly it’s not to sound overly humble with this, but I was so used to, with the Red Sox and just professional baseball, we’re taught to control what we can control. And its almost like it was too good to be true to believe that I was going to make the big league team and so I kind of put myself in a next step, just taking one step at a time mind set. That way if something happened or who knows, in baseball anything can happen, and I didn’t want to be disappointed.
I didn’t want to set my sights to that point. And it helps me to stay focused on my process, which ultimately drives my success.
So, yeah, like I said, that was my goal and when Brad, when they told me I made the team it was a very surreal moment. Because it’s not like I got called up halfway through the year or was a September call up, it is a really special feeling to know that I actually made a big league roster.”
And I know last interview we touched on you bouncing back from a couple of rough years in the minors, but you never lost the belief that you would make it here, right?
“Yep, we did. And definitely.”
This is Part 1 of the interview. I’ll have Part 2 up shortly. Please leave comments and questions below, as Ty does have an account here on Halos Heaven and will be checking in to see them.