MLB Trade Rumors is doing a new and very cool segment where they host an open forum with former baseball players. Former SF Giants reliever Alex Hinshaw appeared on the latest episode and answered plenty of interesting questions including who he modeled his game after.
Former SF Giants reliever's intriguing inspiration
Hinshaw holds a unique place in Giants history as he was drafted four times in total including three by the Giants (2000, 2002, and 2005). The lone exception was when the Miami Marlins drafted him in the 25th round of the 2003 draft out of Chaffey College in Rancho Cucamonga, California.
Clearly, he was a frequent target by the Giants and it turns out that the third time was the charm as San Francisco selected him in the 15th round of the 2005 draft. He appeared in parts of two seasons with the club in 2008 and 2009.
He registered a 3.40 ERA with 47 strikeouts in 39.2 innings in a promising rookie campaign, but that would end up being the most exposure he received in the majors. He completed just six innings with the Giants in 2009 and remained with the organization until 2011 when he signed with the San Diego Padres.
Interestingly, he modeled his pitching style after several former teammates such as Barry Zito, Randy Johnson, and Houston Street. However, one veteran reliever took him under his wing as a rookie and that was Jack Taschner.
Similar to Hinshaw, Taschner was a left-handed pitcher with swing-and-miss stuff (great changeup by the way) and subpar command. The similarities do not end there as Taschner's best season came as a rookie in 2005 like Hinshaw's rookie campaign just three seasons later.
Hinshaw commented that the veteran reliever showed him how to prepare before, during, and after games. So many players emulate their game after some of the best in the sport, so it was interesting and surprising to hear Hinshaw a lesser known player.
Both Taschner and Hinshaw worked out of the bullpen when it was a major roster flaw. This is especially true for Taschner as he was part of a unit that struggled to hold the lead in the later innings during the mid-2000's. This is not to say that he was at fault, but only that he pitched during that time.
By the time Hinshaw debuted with the Giants, the bullpen was beginning to transition into a high-performing unit led by Brian Wilson, Sergio Romo, and Jeremy Affeldt to go along with Bruce Bochy's expert game management. Despite only appearing briefly in the majors, Hinshaw pitched as a pro for nearly a decade and it appears that Taschner's influence helped him prolong his career.