Loux happy to be reunited with Raley on Cubs
Recently acquired pitching prospect was lefty's teammate at Texas A&M
CHICAGO -- Barret Loux didn't have any trouble finding a roommate for Spring Training this year, now that he's been reunited with his college teammate, Cubs pitcher Brooks Raley.
The Cubs acquired Loux from the Rangers on Nov. 21 for Jacob Brigham, and Raley was one of the first to celebrate on Twitter: "Got that 1-2 punch going again. Barret is a big pick up looking forward to playing with him again." #CubsIn2013 #beentoolong
Loux (pronounced LOUCKS) and Raley were together on Texas A&M's baseball team their freshmen and sophomore seasons. While Raley was a sixth-round Draft pick in 2009, Loux was selected by the D-backs sixth overall in the 2010 Draft. But he never signed with Arizona. That, Loux said, is a long story.
The D-Backs were excited to get the right-hander, whom Arizona GM Josh Byrnes felt had the potential to be a big league starting pitcher. It was the second time Loux was taken in the Draft. He had originally been selected in the 24th round in 2007 by the Tigers, but he elected to go to college.
Arizona reportedly offered him $2 million. But Loux didn't pass the physical exam.
"The main issue was my shoulder, which I never knew about it because what happened to it was in high school, and I never got an MRI and it never bothered me," Loux said. "I started throwing harder after I did it."
The injury was enough to make the D-Backs change their mind. Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig intervened and declared Loux a free agent, and he met with a few teams in different cities before picking the Rangers. Instead of a $2 million signing bonus, Loux signed with Texas in November 2010 for $312,000.
If there were any problems with his arm, Loux didn't show it last season. He was named the 2012 Double-A Texas League Pitcher of the Year after going 14-1 with a 3.47 ERA in 25 regular-season starts with Frisco. He helped the team reach the Texas League Championship Series, and led the league in wins and finished sixth in ERA while striking out 100 batters and walking 41 over 127 innings.
"It was a lot of fun," Loux said of his 2012 season. "I set two goals for myself: one, to stay healthy, and two, every time I go out there, give my team a chance to win. I succeeded in those goals and ultimately, it makes you successful. I don't set won-loss goals, strikeout goals, ERA goals. I think [my way] helps simplify things and keep your mind off stuff you can't control."
What about that one loss?
"The one loss I had was probably the best stuff and the hardest stuff I've thrown all year," he said, laughing. "That's how it works out."
Loux won his first 10 starts with Frisco, and on June 22 he suffered his only loss in a game against Corpus Christi. He gave up eight earned runs on eight hits, including a home run, and one walk over three innings, striking out four.
He's compiled an impressive WHIP in the Minor Leagues. It's all part of growing up.
"I was a different pitcher in college," Loux said. "I threw a lot more fastballs then, and it was like, 'Here it comes. All right, I'm going to throw as hard as I can,' and I worked really hard doing that. I figured out it's a lot easier to try to get hitters out if I make smarter pitches than seeing how hard I can throw it. That's helped me a lot."
Told that's a valuable lesson, Loux said: "I learned that from Brooks."
Raley began the 2012 season with Double-A Tennessee, and was promoted to Triple-A Iowa after eight starts. He also made five starts in three stints with the Cubs, picking up his first Major League win Aug. 18 against the Reds. Raley and Loux have talked about the big league experience. The two are golfing buddies and have spent a lot of time together this offseason.
"We had a good little combo for two years [at A&M]," he said.
Loux is well aware of the Cubs' need for pitching and the opportunity he now has.
"The way I look at things, If I go out there and have a real good Spring Training and I go to Double-A, should that make me mad? No, because that's out of my control," he said. "I don't let things out of my control bother me. I feel you play a lot better when you don't have a lot of stuff on your mind like that."
Which is a good attitude to have.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.