Padres Prospect Interview: Nick Schumacher

San Diego Padres prospect Nick Schumacher got a chance to close this season and performed well. His cutter is a pitch that many people would love to add to their arsenal.

One of the things that you were pretty successful at last year was inherited runners. What's the mentality like and why were you so successful in those areas?

Nick Schumacher: I just pitch like it's any other spot in the game. I thrive on competition, so I always want to be the best at what I'm doing. That guys needs to get his run in, and I need to stop him from that. I'll figure out one way to do it. If that doesn't work, I'll find another way to do it. I like competition, first of all.

Is that runners in scoring position in general?

Nick Schumacher: Yeah, any scoring position. If they're my runners, somebody else's runners, that's when I have to start throwing my best stuff. So, I throw all my best pitches.

You're telling me if it's the first guy of the inning, you're like, "Oh, I don't need my best stuff today."

Nick Schumacher: I'll work in whatever I can there. I won't bear down as much as I would try to if it was a big spot in the game.

That's interesting. How do you stay away from the big inning? There are certain people who have almost this intrinsic feel to keep level headed even when guys get on.

Nick Schumacher: I think that the way to stay away from the big inning is to throw strikes. The chances are they aren't going to string that many hits together. If you have good stuff – obviously everyone has good hits that's here – if you throw strikes, you get outs.

You allowed one homer all year. Was that huge?

Nick Schumacher: That was one of the guys that was friends with some of the guys on our team. I struck him out the night before with an inside fastball, and I should have done it again, but I decided to throw a slider and he hit it over the fence.

You got a save in the playoffs last year for Lake Elsinore. Been waiting all year and then was awarded the opportunity this year.

Nick Schumacher: That was exciting. That was really exciting. I got to feel what Brad Brach gets to go through every night, the stands just going crazy. That was a rush. It didn't last very long. I only threw like six pitches, and then I was like, "Oh! It's over already."

Is there any different mentality when you go into that game. You go, "Alright, now it's on me," when you were setting up for Brad and did again at the end of this year.

Nick Schumacher: Just like any other game, I don't like to give up runs. I just saw it that way. I was like, "alright." It really does help to have a lot of people behind you, like in Ft. Wayne, who are really cheering for you. Hitters don't want to be there facing stands full of people.

You have a little bit of funkiness in your delivery. What does that do for you?

Nick Schumacher: I think it just adds deception, makes my fastball play a little harder. I have pretty good armside runs, so most of my fastballs are in the inside part of the plate because I throw the cutter away. I think that little funk gives it a little extra get to the plate, so they don't see it very well.

So, is it really fastball cutter nowadays? What's the advantage you've found with the cutter?

Nick Schumacher: I think it's that my cutter goes this way, my fastball goes this way. They start in the same spot. They don't know which way it's going. It could go back in at them or it could go away. It keeps them off balance. With that cutter, I don't know. It's just been my best pitch. I just threw two innings the other day, and I pretty much started every hitter off with a first pitch cutter and they just take, because they don't know what it is.

So, what's the slider progression like? Is that still in the repertoire?

Nick Schumacher: Yeah, it's still in there. I threw it once two days ago. It's just one of those. Sometimes I'll use it just to show something else, to keep it in their minds that I have other pitches.

Are you still broadening? I remember you had four pitches.

Nick Schumacher: I still have four pitches. My changeup has been unbelievable compared to other springs. It's starting to be my best pitch, but I don't throw it so much being in the bullpen.

What are the goals moving forward?

Nick Schumacher: Well, first of all, to make a team next year. There is always a lot of guys in camp, and it's going to be pushing it to make one of these teams. That's the first goal. After that, it's just to do what I always do and try to get under 1.00 year. And, maybe win a championship.

We all know you have a lot of great teammates and this does not take away from anyone you don't mention. If you could have one pitch from anyone of your teammates to put into your own arsenal, what would it be, from who, and why?

Nick Schumacher: That's easy. I'd take Mat Latos' fastball, because if I threw mid-nineties, come on. Come on!

Who is the one hitter that you are glad you have as a teammate and why?

Personally, for me, since I throw that cutter in to lefties, I'd say Alan Dykstra. I wouldn't want to face him with my repertoire of pitches, because that's his hot zone. Down and in.

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