MMN Exclusive: Tony Dibrell Coming Off Impressive Season

By Yehuda Schwartz

November 2, 2018 No comments

Tony Dibrell/Photo by Ed Delany

Going into the 2017 MLB Draft, the Mets were looking to help replenish their minor leagues with quality pitching. With their pick in the fourth round, they selected right-handed pitcher Tony Dibrell.

A native of Johns Creek, Georgia, a suburb outside of Atlanta, he attended Kennesaw State University in Georgia. Professionally, the 22-year-old has a 3.70 ERA compiled through 150.2 innings pitched.

In those innings, he has a struck out 175 batters compared to 62 walks and has allowed only 131 hits. In 2018 with the Class-A Columbia Fireflies, he posted a 3.50 ERA, 1.27 WHIP and 10.1 K.9 over 131 innings.

Dibrell ranked as our No. 25 prospect in the Mets improving farm system when we updated our rankings in August.

MMN: So Tony you got drafted in the 4th round of the 2017 MLB Draft. How did you find out that you got drafted?

Tony Dibrell: So my agent called me and said that the Mets and the Orioles are thinking of taking me in the fourth round, and then I talked to the scout that came and saw me for the Mets and he said just watch TV and hopefully your name gets called. Four picks later I’m sitting there with family and friends and my name is called in front of the TV.

MMN: That must’ve felt pretty good for you.

Dibrell: Yes that was probably the best moment of my life so far. To see my name get called and to know that I’m wanted, and just having that moment with my family and friends was pretty cool.

MMN: Did you have any interaction with any Mets player in person after you got drafted?

Dibrell: No, it was more once I got down to Port St. Lucie I met a lot of the guys, the big leaguers that were rehabbing. I met them, then obviously all the guys that were gonna play in Brooklyn and Kingsport and the new draft guys were the first interaction with players that actually played for the Mets.

MMN: Did you have any interaction with David Wright at all?

Dibrell: No I didn’t, but his brother is actually my agent so I’m sure I’ll meet him soon.

MMN: You had a very impressive season for Columbia (lead league in strikeouts).  What were your keys to success this year?

Dibrell: The number one key was pitching inside to righties and left-handers because then my off-speed is pretty good and I throw 97 to 100 so it just made my off-speed more effective when I threw my fastball inside to batters.

MMN: What are the secondary pitches you rely on the most?

Dibrell: My slider. This is the first year I started throwing my slider to left-handed batters, so down and in they had a tough time and then my changeup was a very good pitch to get them off the fastball, the majority to lefties and then to righties also.

MMN: How do you throw your slider? 

Dibrell: I try to use the same exact arm angle as my fastball, and then I try to keep the same exact arm-speed as the fastball, so it looks like a fastball until the last second.

Photo by Ed Delany, MMN

MMN: Were any of your parents athletes?

Dibrell: Yes, my Mom ran track at college at Southern University in Louisiana and my Dad played high school sports coming up, basketball, football, baseball, so that is where I get my athletic ability from,  both of them.

MMN: What other sports did you play as a kid before you chose baseball?

Dibrell: My first sport ever was soccer, I did gymnastics also which was kind of crazy, but majority basketball, football, and baseball.

MMN: That is usually what most players come up playing. In high school, what sport did you envision yourself playing?

Dibrell: Baseball…actually football, playing quarterback that’s the position I played in high school, so I envisioned myself playing quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys.

MMN: Who was your biggest motivation?

Dibrell: Probably my Dad. He came and took me to every single game, was at every single game, and he’d always motivate me, he’d yell during the game, and had hour-long talks with me after the game so he’s probably the biggest motivation besides myself.

MMN: What other hobbies did you have outside of baseball?

Dibrell: I just like to be outside and play tag with my friends, play ultimate frisbee which was like a huge one that I used to play all the time and just stuff outside playing around, and then I got into video games in middle school, but I don’t play much anymore.

MMN: What baseball team did you follow as a kid?

Dibrell: I followed the Braves just because I’m from Atlanta and they’re the hometown team.  I loved the Braves when Chipper Jones and Andruw Jones were on the team.

MMN: Who is the player you idolized? Is it Chipper Jones?

Dibrell: It was Chipper Jones but I was never that good of an infielder so my biggest person that I idolized coming up was probably Justin Verlander.

MMN: Do you think that your pitch repertoire is pretty similar to his?

Dibrell: Yes, I like the fastball up near the belt belly button area to throw the curveball off it. I love that pitch sequence and he does it very well.

MMN: What number would you wear now if you can choose a jersey number, and what significance would that have to you?

Dibrell: I’d wear number one. I know its unconventional for a pitcher to wear number one but I had my best season ever when I wore number one in college my junior year so want to get back to being the guy. When you wear number one you are always first on the roster and that made me want to be the guy when I wore number one.

(Jacob Resnick/Mets Minors)

MMN: I don’t know what Amed Rosario is going say about that when you get up, but we’ll see.

Dibrell: Yes we’ll see what happens. I might have to schmooze him a little bit to try to get him out of it but we’ll see.

MMN: What are your plans for this offseason?

Dibrell: This offseason I’m just working out and I just started going back to college to finish up my degree, so just committed to school and getting more flexible this offseason.

MMN: What degree are you trying to get?

Dibrell: Communications degree with a focus in journalism, so that if baseball doesn’t work out I can be on ESPN talking about baseball.

MMN: What player in the majors are you closet to?

Dibrell: I work out with a few from the Mets, one being Zack Wheeler.

MMN: Yes, he had a great season.

Dibrell: He had a great second half. He’s a Georgia boy so we work out together so I’ll probably pick his head and maybe get some advice.

MMN: Thank you so much for your time, Tony!

Dibrell: No problem boss!