Brandon Hynick is trying to make sure he doesn't squander any of those lessons.
Making his third straight since returning to Double-A Tulsa, the Rockies farmhand gave up two hits over 7 2/3 innings Sunday night as the Drillers blanked the Arkansas Travelers, 1-0.
"I feel like I was effectively wild," Hynick said after walking three and striking out six. "There were a few walks in there, but I made some pitches when I needed to. Hit my spots when I needed to make a good pitch."
The 27-year-old right-hander said it was particularly satisfying to make things easy on a bullpen that was coming off a 17-inning marathon.
"I knew our team needed it because we played 17 innings yesterday, our bullpen needed rest. I tried to give them as much as I could," he said. "I try to take pride in throwing a lot of innings, being an innings-eater like that. Because one, it means you're throwing well, and two, it means you're helping the team in multiple ways -- not just throwing well but giving the bullpen rest over a long season."
Hynick (2-0) was selected by the Rockies in the eighth round of the 2006 Draft and quickly established himself as a rising star in the organization. He posted a 2.41 ERA between Rookie-level Casper and short-season Tri-Cities in his debut year. In 2007, he went 16-5 with a 2.52 ERA for Class A Advanced Modesto, then won 10 games for Tulsa in 2008.
The following season, when he was 10-9 with a 3.83 ERA for Triple-A Colorado Springs and pitched a seven-inning perfect game on June 30.
A month later, he was traded to the White Sox for veteran right-hander Jose Contreras and struggled in the new system. The Ohio native began the 2010 season with Double-A Birmingham before earning a callup to Triple-A Charlotte, where he went 1-4 with a 6.22 ERA to end the year.
Hynick posted a 7.85 ERA in seven starts for the Knights last season before he was traded to Cincinnati. After going 0-3 with a 5.19 ERA in nine Triple-A outings, he was sent down to Double-A Carolina.
Hynick returned to the organization that drafted him this spring and started the season at Modesto, going 1-2 with a 3.74 ERA. He was 1-2 with a 7.29 ERA before coming back to Tulsa, four years after he last pitched in the Texas League.
The early results with the Drillers have been positive. The Birmingham Southern product lowered his ERA to 1.69 in 21 1/3 innings.
"I'm always pitching against myself as well as who I'm facing," Hynick said. "Whatever level I'm at, it's just making sure that I'm consistent from outing to outing. I don't get caught up in all the movement I've done, that's just thinking about the wrong things.
"You have to learn from your failures as well as your successes. I think the best way to learn is from your failures. I know what makes me good and I know what makes me struggle when I do struggle."
Travelers starter John Hellweg (4-9) matched Hynick for seven innings, taking a one-hitter into the eighth. But Tulsa turned a double by Ben Paulsen and singles by Jimmy Cesario and Tim Torres into the game's only run.