Wilding Ready to Be An All-Star

With the All-Star game coming up, SFDugout.com took the time to speak with Taylor Wilding, the only All-Star representative from the playoff-bound San Jose Giants. Wilding talked about being an All-Star, being playoff bound, and just what it's like being a Dodger fan in the Giant system.

SFDugout.com: So, tell us how it feels to be an All-Star.

Taylor Wilding: It's gratifying.  Last year, I started out in extended spring [training], so I feel like I've come a long way since then.  It's kind of a reward to get to go play in the All-Star Game.

SFD: What's been more fun for you: being named an All-Star, or being a part of a wire-to-wire team to earn a playoff berth?

Wilding: Oh, the wire-to-wire berth, hands down.  I mean, yea, it's great to have personal accolades, but as a team to win, and every night come to the ballpark thinking you're going to win the ballgame.  Especially closing, knowing that there's chance to get in a ballgame every night, it's a good feeling.  So, it's kind of, one has to happen in order to get the other.

SFD: You came into the system as a starter, and were a very successful starter at Cal Poly Pomona, and you switched into relieving pretty quickly into your pro career.  What prompted that change?

Wilding: I struggled up in Salem.  Just command of my breaking ball, really, and I also just don't throw too many changeups.  So, I'm kind of a two-pitch guy.  I have a changeup, I just don't use it very often, and I think that had a lot to do with it, and it just kind of evolved.

SFD: Do you think you've found a home by going to the bullpen, maybe being a closer, or do you think you might go back to starting in the future?

Wilding: I don't know.  Going into spring training this year, I was starting again.  I started all through [it], and they told me I was coming up here as a starter and then changed it at the last minute, and said I was going to be in the bullpen.  I'm not too sure what's going to happen.

SFD: That brings up a good question: you were moved to the closer's role in May.  When you were working in the bullpen in April, did you have any idea that you might have a chance at the closer role, or were you thinking about it at all?

Wilding: No, not at all.  I thought that, if anything, if I was throwing really well in the bullpen, and we had a starter go down or something, I thought I was more than likely going into the rotation, as opposed to…well, you know.  I kind of went to the opposite end of the spectrum.

SFD: So what was it like, a couple of weeks ago, pitching in a major league ballpark down in San Diego?

Wilding: Well, to be honest with you, it was a good experience, being such a nice ballpark, such a new ballpark.  But, I didn't fare too well there, the team didn't fare too well there, and I don't want to pitch in a big league ballpark again until I'm in the big leagues, to be honest with you.

SFD: How would you describe your arsenal of pitches.

Wilding: Well, my curveball's my out pitch.  I throw a decent amount of curveballs, and four seamer and two seamer fastball, and try to attack the zone.

SFD: I've read before that you have a knuckle curve?

Wilding: A spike curve, yes.

SFD: How did you get started throwing a pitch like that?

Wilding: My senior year of high school, we had a new manager come into the high school.  And he'd seen me throw the previous year and saw that my breaking ball wasn't all that great.  He suggested with my arm slot that I throw a spike curve.  I started throwing it in the pre-season, and it was working well.  Gradually it got better, and I stuck with it ever since.

SFD: I also read that you have been a Dodger fan growing up.

Wilding: That's right.

SFD: How's it working out for you being in the Giants system, and have any of your friends or teammates given you grief for it?

Wilding: No, my teammates and friends don't give me grief for it.  A couple of the coaches, though, don't like it too much.  But, you know, it's just where I grew up, so I can't really help it.  I'm not rooting against the Giants, you know, so…  And I don't really get to watch Dodger games, ever.  So it doesn't really affect much these days.

SFD: Well, San Jose went wire-to-wire, but you were the only player picked to be an All-Star from the team.  If you had to pick someone else to be an All-Star from this team, who would you name?

Wilding: Antoan Richardson and Paul Oseguera for me.  Paul's been great off the mound for us, and Antoan's just a table setter.  He's always on base, always making things happen, and in my opinion plays the best center field in the league.  I mean, I haven't seen in the last two years that I've played with him I haven't seen anyone cover more ground than him.  He has like thirty stolen bases at that, so to me he's extremely valuable.

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