Right-handed pitcher Andrew Laughter, the Rangers' 10th round pick in the 2007 draft, recently completed his first professional season. The 6-foot-4 closer, who earned a late promotion to Single-A Clinton, posted 11 saves and a 2.03 ERA with the short-season Spokane Indians. Lone Star Dugout features the 22-year-old hurler.
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When the Rangers drafted right-handed pitcher Andrew Laughter in the 10th round of the 2007 draft, he became the club’s second collegiate closer to be selected. While the first one – third round pick Evan Reed – moved to the starting rotation, Laughter remained in the bullpen.
The Louisiana-Lafayette product worked as a closer for the short-season Spokane Indians and posted 11 saves with a 2.03 ERA in his professional debut. In 31 innings of work, he surrendered 32 hits, walked four, and struck out 32.
With such outstanding numbers, it comes as no surprise that Laughter was satisfied with his first season.
“I had a good experience up in Spokane,” said Laughter. “It was a real nice place to play, I had a good host family experience, and the guys on the team were all real nice. It was good. I played pretty well.”
Coming off a senior season in which Laugher led his Louisiana-Lafayette club in earned run average (2.80), the Rangers instructed Laughter to continue doing what has made him successful.
“I wasn’t really working on much,” explained Laughter of his time in Spokane. “Everything was working pretty well for me all summer. I really wasn’t working with them on anything specifically. [The Rangers] basically just told me to go out there and throw.”
One adjustment Laughter made was to his fastball. After throwing four-seam fastballs in college, Laughter switched to a two-seam fastball shortly after joining the Rangers organization.
“I’ve always thrown a four-seamer, but when I got to Spokane, I picked up a two-seamer,” he said. “I was throwing it in bullpens when I first got up there. They liked it a lot, so my pitching coach Keith Comstock told me how I could incorporate that when I was pitching.”
Laughter says he experienced immediate success with the two-seamer, but it took time to figure out exactly how to use it.
“It took some time to figure out how to use it and what situations to use it in,” said Laughter. “But as far as what the pitch was doing, it was pretty much there for me the whole time.”
Another focus of Laughter’s was being able to consistently throw first-pitch strikes. Though the 6-foot-4 righty hasn’t always made it a priority, he has begun to learn the value of throwing strikes.
“As of recently – as in the past couple of years – I’ve noticed my success rate is so much higher when I throw strikes early,” he said. “I’d rather see them hit the ball and get a base hit than me walk somebody.”
Laughter – who features a fastball, a slider, and a changeup – plans to focus on the development of his change-of-pace when he reports to Fall Instructional League later this month.
“I think we’re going to work on my changeup a lot,” explained Laughter. “I’ve thrown it for years now, but never really on a consistent basis. I have never really used it because it’s not a real effective pitch for me. I don’t really have a great feel for it.”
However, the reliever doesn’t expect to log many innings this offseason.
“[The Rangers] told me I’m not going to throw a whole lot when I go in there,” he said. “I’m just going to throw some bullpens and maybe a couple of innings in games.”
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