The first thing you’ll notice is the size.
The moment he emerges from the dugout and begins making his way to the rubber, you notice Seattle Mariners pitching prospect Max Povse. Standing at six-foot-eight, with the frequent added lift of the pitcher’s mound, Max Povse is impossible to miss on a baseball field.
Then Max Povse begins throwing and you start to notice Max Povse. The low-90s fastball, the plus changeup, the well-spotted curve, the massive downward plane that generates grounder after grounder–it all adds up to a spectacular force on the mound that looks the part of a future major league talent.
It isn’t just the raw ability, either. Since entering the world of professional baseball as a 3rd round draft pick out of UNC Greensboro back in 2014, Povse’s numbers have been nothing short of brilliant. He put up a 3.10 FIP in 47.2 innings in rookie ball his first (half) season. In 2015, he cruised through Class-A ball with the Rome Braves and grabbed a cup of coffee in Advanced-A. Last year, he reigned over Advanced-A (2.86 FIP, 9.38 K/9 in 87.1 IP) and Double-A (2.93 ERA, 3.46 FIP in 70.2 IP) competition. So far this season–his first with the Mariners after coming over from Atlanta in the offseason–he’s surrendered just a single run and nine hits while striking out 18 over 18.2 innings with Double-A Arkansas. It’s been a brilliant run for the 23-year-old righty out of Cary, North Carolina.
This past week, a most fortunate opportunity arose and I was able to conduct a Q&A with Max Povse via his agency, Ballengee Group. Topics covered included offseason preparation, changes that came with the new organization, carrot cake, and much more. Check it out below.
Ethan Novak: How have you enjoyed being in the Mariners organization so far?
Max Povse: I love being a part of the Mariners. It is a top notch organization and I could not be happier to be here. The best part is being able to keep my beard now which I attribute all of my success so far in this early season.
EN: What was the process of being traded like? Are you still in an adjustment period?
MP: It all came as a big surprise at first but I truly believe it was a blessing. It was different at first but the Mariners made me feel very welcomed and I am very comfortable here now.
EN: You're the exact kind of pitching prospect this organization values: stellar command, low walk rates, very polished. That being said, have the Mariners tried to tinker with your mechanics/preparation/etc at all since bringing you over, or have they just let you be you?
MP: Not too much mechanically. I think them letting me be me has given me a great deal of confidence to be able to perform out on the bump. I have learned the importance of preparation and how to take care of my body over the last couple of years in pro ball and I feel that has been extremely important towards my development.
EN: You have another teammate with those same characteristics by the name of Andrew Moore. What are your thoughts on him? And to build off the teammate-related question, have you had a chance to see Thyago Vieira throw a ton yet? What is that like?
MP: They are both extremely talented pitchers and I believe they have a bright future ahead of them. I am excited to have a chance to play alongside them this year.
EN: You were solid at UNC Greensboro, your start against Georgia Tech your junior year was when I started really hearing your name pop up, but you seemed to take some big steps forward once you entered pro ball. What (or who) do you attribute those improvements to?
MP: I think being able to work with my pitching coach Ken Shuey from back home during the offseason has been the biggest help to my improvement. He has helped me so much throughout my career and I cannot thank him enough. Also being able to work with some great pitching coaches in the Braves organization after being drafted was extremely helpful.
EN: Do you set personal goals for yourself over the course of the season?
MP: Not necessarily. My goal is to work hard and try and improve every day and I feel that everything else will take care of itself.
EN: What is your offseason like? How much of it is recovery vs getting ready for the next long season?
MP: Last offseason I was able to take some more time off to relax and recover and then started working with a personal trainer for the first time and I believe that has had a great impact on my readiness for the season.
EN: Favorite off-day activity or hobby?
EN: Favorite sport besides baseball?
MP: I would say I am a fan of all sports
EN: Least-favorite food?
EN: Favorite professional athlete growing up?
MP: Michael Jordan
EN: Favorite baseball memory?
MP: Striking out 18 in high school
EN: Any hidden talents? Are you a world-class singer?
MP: Play guitar
EN: Carrot Cake: good or bad?
MP: Cheesecake over anything
Thank you so much to Max Povse, Paul Kuo, and everyone else at the Ballengee Group for helping make this happen. You’re all good people and I look forward to communicating with you again at some point in the future.
If you need more Max Povse in your life, you can follow him on Twitter at @TallWall22.