Padres Prospect Interview: Miles Mikolas

Miles Mikolas didn't have a good debut season but has found a home in the bullpen, throwing strikes and recording outs with relative ease. It was work he did in instructs that changed the future.

Miles, you got Most Improved Pitcher in the instructional league last year. What were the changes that happened with you? Did you know going through it that you really improved from your Eugene season?

Miles Mikolas: Yes. They really focused on my change-up which I am not using a lot right now because I am moving to more of a relief role. It was more of how to locate your pitches and what pitches you throw in certain counts.

Were there mechanical changes as well?

Miles Mikolas: Not so much. They shortened my stride up a little bit so my release point was more consistent enabling me to spot out better.

It looks like from my perspective that you are not coming over the top so much and you have dropped the arm - maybe shortening the stride did that as well?

Miles Mikolas: I don't know. I have never seen any video of myself this year. But I do know that I used to be really over the top. I have dropped it a little bit to get more movement on the ball.

So you mentioned dropping the change up and using it sparingly. How have the other two pitches been: fastball and curveball?

Miles Mikolas: The fastball has been pretty good this year though the velocity is not quite where I would like to get it. It still been pretty cold and the first bit of warm weather coming in and having been used to the warm weather in Florida, it has been a little tough getting it going in the cold weather here. It has had really good life and movement at the end of it and is coming at hitters pretty well. My curveball has been good. It has been one of my better pitches for a while and it is still there.

How do you measure the success of a pitch?

Miles Mikolas: Statistically you would measure it by how many outs you get. However, I judge the success of a pitch by how good it feels when I throw it. If it feel right when I throw it, then I think it is a good pitch. If I can put it where I want and even if sometimes you miss a spot and you can still get an out, then it is a good pitch, too.

You have had a lot of success coming out of the bullpen this year. How has the changing roles been for you? You seem to have taken to it.

Miles Mikolas: I don't really look at it as I am relieving. I look at it as if I am starting a new game. I have always been a starter. Whether I am starting or relieving, the end result has to be the same: throw strikes and get outs.

How do you handle coming in where there are inherited runners? You have had a few situations this year. That is new for you.

Miles Mikolas: Yes. It is new for me. I don't like it too much. But it is a good sense of accomplishment if you come in with runners on base and you make sure they don't score. It makes you feel good. Whomever you came in for likes it a lot too.

I imagine on the other side, you knew how that felt too.

Miles Mikolas: You get that one out and a couple of guys get on base, maybe second and third, and they bring on somebody else. As a starter, for me, if they are going to score I would rather give it up myself. I try to do my best job to keep those runners from scoring.

Do these guys become "your guys" now. These runners are coming against me. Not true, but in a mental sense.

Miles Mikolas: In a mental sense, you may look at these as "my runs". But at the same time, you don't want to press. They are your team's runs. Obviously that W comes in for the team and I do not want any runners to score.

Did you feel a little mentally exhausted in Eugene last year where things were not going so well. Kind of fighting yourself in a way. Maybe those couple of weeks off right before instructs were good.

Miles Mikolas: Yes. I experienced a little bit of failure – not for the first time in my baseball career. My junior year in college was really strong, my sophomore year I took some bumps and bruises. It was a shorter season in Eugene and playing everyday. I was really exhausted, most from my college senior season and going through the draft process. Then you are expected to play every day. It really kind of grinds you down. But now in my first full season I really think I have it down and have everything in control.

What does it say about you that you are able to bounce back? There will be some struggles, but I can bounce back and I already know it.

Miles Mikolas: I have run into a few rough patches – "Momma said there would be days like that" – you just have to bounce back. It has always been something I have been pretty good at – bouncing back and forgetting the past.

If you could take one pitch from one of my teammates, what would it be and why.

Miles Mikolas: I would take Jerry's fastball because he runs it up there pretty good sometimes. That is a pitch I would like to have.

All of your teammates are great, but is there somebody here who is undervalued, who does not get the credit he deserves?

Miles Mikolas: Doesn't go in the box score – I would say Beard and a lot of the set-up relief guys. We build that bridge and you might see a hole in the box score but you don't see a win or save. I think middle relievers in general get the shaft on recognition sometimes.

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