Bronswell Patrick: He's got the ability to be a starting pitcher at the big league level. He has three quality pitches and the main thing he needs to do is be more consistent with his changeup and be able to locate his fastball inside on right-handed hitters.
We talked about Pedro Hernandez having confidence issues last year. What kind of strides has he made in that area?
Bronswell Patrick: Big strides. He had a pretty good year and a lot more confidence this year than he did last year. He knew coming into this year that he could pitch in Fort Wayne and be successful. It showed out there on the mound. He had great confidence out there on the mound. I know last year he didn't have as much confidence especially after that first start up against Salem who is an older team and hit him around a little bit. He lost his confidence right out of the gate. This year he stayed within himself and made quality pitches when he had to and he showed a lot of confidence this year.
Jeff Ibarra is someone that others have looked at with potential to be a solid lefty bullpen option. What does he need to do to improve?
Bronswell Patrick: Just tighten up his breakingball a little bit. To me, he's going to be a left-handed specialist, and he needs to tighten up that breakingball and be more consistent with it to get left-handers out. His fastball isn't overpowering and he's gotten a lot better as far as command with his fastball this year, and like I said, I think that he needs to be able to develop that curveball a little tighter and also be able to work on his changeup.
Matt Lollis came to you and was brilliant from start to finish. Talk about his stuff and what baffled hitters in the Midwest League.
Bronswell Patrick: Matty has great stuff - overpowering fastball at times. I think what baffled hitters in the Midwest League was that he was able to throw four quality pitches over for strike. They couldn't sit on one pitch - fastball, curveball, slider, change - that he could throw for strike anytime in the count. That right there will take him a long ways. He's a young kid, he has an idea of what he's doing out there on the mound, and being able to locate his 94-95 MPH fastball is phenomenal. For the most part, just being able to throw four quality pitches anytime in the count and throw them for strikes.
Miles Mikolas rejuvenated his game in relief for you. What was the difference between the Mikolas in 2009 and the one you saw in 2010?
Bronswell Patrick: Pretty much the same thing we talked about with Pedro - just confidence. Him coming from a small school and signing a professional contract and then facing those guys up in Eugene last year – a little bit older, division 1 players who had been in that league before – he lost his confidence. This year he came back with a lot of confidence, was able to locate his fastball, his curveball has gotten a lot better, tighter spin, and he was also able to mix in a changeup. That's what helped him out, and he enjoyed being a reliever. He didn't know when he was going to pitch and all of the sudden we lose Schumacher, and I made him a closer. He loved that role. For me, coming into next year, I could see him as a closer.
Juan Oramas wasn't with you long but had to leave a positive impression. What are your thoughts on Juan?
Bronswell Patrick: I saw him down in Mexico pitching winter ball. He's a young kid, but he's much older than his age because he's more of an experienced guy from playing down in Mexico against older guys. He's another guy who has three quality pitches, very good curveball, can locate his fastball, stays within himself. Another young kid with a great arm that's going to be great for this organization.
Stiven Osuna seemed to find some comfort working in the bullpen for you and was very good with runners on base. Was this a matter of being crisper out of the stretch versus the windup?
Bronswell Patrick: I think so. Him, as well, having more confidence and being able to know he can locate his sinker. He showed a good slider this year. It just goes back to these guys having confidence. With guys on, he knew he could make a quality pitch down and away to get a groundball or a strikeout with a slider when he needed to. He had a great year for us.
Robert Poutier was someone Jimmy Jones liked in 2009 but didn't see a whole lot of him because he was hurt. He had a very consistent year for you. What impressions did Robert leave?
Bronswell Patrick: He left some good impressions on me, but he was a guy who couldn't stay healthy. If he could've stayed healthy he could've helped us out down in the playoffs, but his main thing was not being able to stay healthy. He has a good sinker, good deception, but his main thing was not being able to stay on the field and give us quality innings late in the season when we needed him.
Jackson Quezada was on the 40-man roster at one point and has battled through injury since. Is this a guy that can make it back to the 40-man?
Bronswell Patrick: From what I've seen, I don't see him being able to make it back to the 40-man roster just because of his mechanics. He's a straight over–the-top guy slowing down on his mechanics when he's throwing his off speed pitch. He's been hurt, and he's a great kid, but I think he's going to be short on stuff as far as his slider and changeup. He wasn't able to locate his fastball as well as he has in the past.
Daniel Sarria was thrown into the fire with you and had a good season. What did he do so well? And why was his season cut short?
Bronswell Patrick: He got hurt and couldn't bounce back from his injury. He's another Cuban guy who throws some different arm angles and changes speeds well. That's what you have to do in this game to disrupt the timing of the hitters. That's what he did. He went out and used his fastball, used his slider, mixed in a curveball for a show me pitch. He's another guy who has an idea of how to pitch and can eat up some innings as long as he stays healthy. He can have a pretty good future if he just stays healthy.
Nick Schumacher was pretty good as your closer before moving up to Lake Elsinore. Was the evolution of his cutter the primary reason for his success?
Bronswell Patrick: He got really confident throwing that cutter anytime in the count and it really helped him out. His velocity increased when he was in Fort Wayne a couple miles an hour. He was up to 93-94 and throwing that cutter at 88-90. That's what it was – him being able to locate that cutter in on the left-handed hitters and down and away on the right-handed hitters. He did a great job for me closing games out.
Joshua Spence is a bit of a backwards pitcher – the pigeonholed soft tossing lefty. Can he have success at the higher levels with his stuff?
Bronswell Patrick: Josh can have success at the higher levels because, once again, he changes speeds and has an idea of what he's doing out there. The main thing Josh has to do is be able to locate a good fastball in off the plate to keep these guys honest. He was in instructional league to work on that. He did a very good job of it, and I think that kid is going to have a bright future. He's not overpowering, but you look at him and he's a guy who can throw all his pitches over for strikes anytime in the count and locate them as well.
Jerry Sullivan was extremely good at times and ordinary at others. What does he need to do to find that consistency?
Bronswell Patrick: Jerry is going to be a very good pitcher. The main thing Jerry has to do is stay within himself. At times he tries to do more than what he's capable of doing by overthrowing and trying to make his pitches better than what they should be. The main thing Jerry has to do is stay within himself. He's going to have a bright future but, overall, he has to be able to listen and understand what we're trying to teach him here.
Michael Watt has been someone who has had to find confidence, much like Petey. What did you see out of Michael this season?
Bronswell Patrick: What I liked about Michael this year, and I talked to TB last year about him, is his confidence. He would get the ball and go - not walk around the mound taking much time. He picked up his tempo and I think the pace of the game helped him as well being able to get the ball, get on the mound, get the sign, throw the pitch and not thinking too much. Last year, he was a thinker walking around the mound not having that much confidence in himself. This year was completely different. He went out, picked up his tempo, and pitched aggressively. He showed an excellent changeup, went after guys, pitched for contact, and was much more aggressive than he was last year.
You mentioned being out in the Instructional League. Did anyone else impress you out there and why?
Bronswell Patrick: Zack Cates impressed me a lot. His willingness to learn, he showed good command of his fastball, and showed a good changeup. Overall being a guy who's mature and willing to work hard and learn. He went about his business the right way, and is another guy who's going to have a bright future.
Did you also see John Barbato?
Bronswell Patrick: Barbato's another guy who showed a lot of maturity, went after hitters, wasn't intimidated by any of these guys down here. Good breakingball, good fastball, just needs to get his feet wet in the organization and is going to have a bright future down the road.