The Rangers farm system is one that is revered across the league, and it’s no secret that it is littered with prospects. It was rated the #2 Farm system in the major leagues last year by MiLB.com. One of the less talked about prospects in the system is a 24 year-old, left handed bandit by the name of Ryne Slack. Between A-AAA, he has accumulated 5 years in the Rangers system and has posted a 27-9 record in over 300 career innings while striking out 325 batters and posting a 3.80 ERA. I had the opportunity to see Ryne pitch last year in Frisco and I will say I was impressed with the maturity of a then 23 year-old pitcher. His changeup and fastball define his arsenal, and it was a truly entertaining night to watch Ryne plow through opposing hitters with ease. I reached out to him, and he was kind enough to participate in an interview with me to get to know him a little bit better.
Your full name is Harrison Ryne Slack; when did you start going by your middle name and why?
“I was named after Ryne Sandberg and I guess my mom and dad wanted my name to be a little different because its not very often you see Ryne spelled that way. I like it, although its tough sometimes trying to explain it to people when they have to write it down.”
How did you get into playing baseball?
“My dad always had me playing when I was really young so I just took to it and have always enjoyed the game.”
Growing up, was there one person that really shaped your game?
“I can’t really pin it down on one person. I always watched baseball and tried to mimic different pitchers but didn’t start doing that until I was older and could understand mechanics and things like that. I do like to watch CC Sabathia pitch and thats one person I do remember trying to model coming up.”
Who was your favorite player growing up?
Did you play any other positions?
“I played the outfield in high school and first base. When I was really young and we had just started playing kids pitch I actually caught some games.
What is your favorite part about being a professional baseball player?
“Living out the dream you set for yourself at such a young age. It’s an awesome experience you get to see a lot of different places and meet a ton of different people.”
If you weren’t playing baseball, what would your career be?
“Honestly I’m from a blue collar type of town so I’d probably be working on a farm somewhere doing something like that. That’s something I’d like to have of my own one day anyway.”
It’s a normal home game with a 7pm start time. Can you walk us through what your day is like?
“We get to the field around 1 for lunch, we have stretch at 3 for pitchers. 4 rolls around and our hitters start taking batting practice on the field and then usually from 5-7 we get treatments for guys who need them. Eat the pregame meal, shower up and then get ready for the game.”
How is Round Rock so far? Is the jump from AA to AAA a difficult one?
“It’s great. The jump isn’t as hard physically as it is mentally. The game doesn’t change, it’s how you approach it that changes. The guys you face and how you look at them. Confidence is the most important part I’d say.”
What is your favorite/most reliable pitch?
Is there anything else you’d like to say to the Rangers fans?
“For everyone who is taking the time to read this Thank you! This game’s very tough and believe me the majority of players know that without the fans we have no job and I promise we don’t forget that. Hope to see you all soon in Arlington!”
A huge thank you to Ryne Slack for participating in this interview with the busy schedule that a pitcher follows during the season. We too hope to see you in Arlington this year.