Catching Up with Stephen Faris (PART II)

It wasn't that long ago Stephen Faris wrapped up a rock-solid three year run at Clemson by going 9-3 with a 2.36 ERA and 86 strikeouts for the Tigers in 2006.

This is part two of a two-part Q&A with former Clemson pitcher Stephen Faris. You can read part one by clicking here.

Many pitchers have to add a third pitch when they start pro ball but you didn't. Discuss that for a second.
Faris: I think that's another advantage that I had coming out. Kevin O'Sullivan was with the Twins before and has the experience of knowing what it takes. He had guys who threw hard but liked to have guys that knew how to pitch instead of throwing as hard as they could. He really taught us about the changeup and I think that's why I was a really good fit for the Padres. He showed us the importance of throwing it. It amazed some of the scouts when they were looking at me how well I could throw it. They were amazed that I already knew that and I think that was one thing that stood out about me. That's one reason why the Padres started liking me. You can't get away with just a fastball and curveball here because it just doesn't work any more unless you want to be in the bullpen. As a starter, you have to have that third pitch and have to be able to command that third pitch. Having that changeup makes a big difference for keeping hitters off-balance. That's a big key to having success at this level.

What do you feel like you still need to work on?
Faris: I think I'm at the point now where I don't think I'm going to throw any harder. I think right now, I'm trying to figure out my role. I'm a starter now but don't know that if in the future if I will be a starter or a middle relief guy because I have heard a little bit of everything. I need to just concentrate on my pitches and keeping the consistency of them. You can never really perfect the game. I'm just working on being consistent and throwing my pitches the same every time I take the mound. I just need to go out there and keep battling. I am doing what I can to get to the big leagues.

Did you do anything special in the offseason that has helped you be successful so far in Double-A?
Faris: This offseason, I went to Instructional League. Normally, it's for guys who just get drafted but I didn't end up going after my first year because I went back to Clemson to take some classes. So, I went this past year and they wanted me to tighten my breaking ball up. Now, I feel like my breaking ball is better than my changeup. So, I'm working to get my changeup back up to where it was. I think it's paid big dividends in the form of more strikeouts. I am keeping it tighter and with more spin than I had before. It isn't as loopy as it was before, which is something that they pointed out. I still work on it to this day just to try to keep it from going back to where it was and to get better at it.

How is your degree coming along?
Faris: I think I have about a year left. I have a big internship that I have to finish. It's not too much but I have a little bit left. My degree will be in Sport Management. It's a degree and something I promised my parents that I would finish. It's something I will do in the future. Hopefully, baseball works out and I won't have to do that anytime soon. At some point, I would like to go back and finish. I probably won't go back this season because by the time the season ends, they're already over a month into the fall semester. When I went back, I had to miss two weeks and they weren't too happy. I will do it one day but I'm not sure exactly when yet.

CUTigers.com Top Stories