MadFriars' Interview: Jeremy McBryde

LAKE ELSINORE: Jeremy McBryde, 24, was taken in the twenty-sixth round of the 2006 draft, along with Mat Latos, in the last year of the draft-and-follow process. Under this rule teams would take players late in the previous years' draft and have a full summer to evaluate them and determine if they were worth the money they were asking for; and sign them a week before next year's draft.

The Padres ended up getting a deal done with McBryde and buying him out of his commitment to Oklahoma State. McBryde started off strong in his first season in Fort Wayne in 2008 striking out 158 batters in 136.2 innings pitched.

His next two season he struggled with injuries but he is back to full health this year in Lake Elsinore, although he is now coming out of the pen.

After shaking off the rust in April and May, McBryde has pitched much better. In the second half of the season with a 3.57 ERA and has struck out 42 batters in 40.1 innings against only 11 walks and 38 hits.

With a power sinker/slider combination he could be very effective coming out of the pen on the major league level.

Its been awhile since we last spoke. I know you have had a number of injuries can go through them?

Jeremy McBryde: In '09 I got into a spring training game and got to pitch behind Jake Peavy, which was a big thrill for me. I was starting back then so I wasn't sure how to warm up properly back then. Peavy ended up going a few more innings than everyone intended so I ended up getting hot, then cooling down and then getting hot again.

I went in to throw and the first batter was Jim Thome and I was trying to throw as hard as I could and around the second or third pitch I felt something in my back. I just kept trying to loosen it up, doing back exercises and working on my core, but my lower back never got better.

I came here in '09 and made the all-star game. I felt it again in the all-star and then really felt it in the next start at High Dessert. Although, it was one of those thirty-three run games so maybe I wanted to get out [laughs].

After that they sent me to Arizona and I never really got better. I got cortisone shots, they sent me to San Diego to meet with some specialists - even gave me an epidural.

The big thing that finally made it better was just rest.

Then I came back last season and I started to have shoulder problems because I think I was overcompensating for my back. I had some biceps tendinitis and it just hurt too much to throw.

So that pretty much took out the first half of the season for me and in the second half I came back here. After the all-star break I was sent to Fort Wayne for a couple of starts and then back here.

So this year I am finally healthy and hopefully ready to get back on track.

You look like you are in better shape than you were in '09?

Jeremy McBryde: Yeah, I did get in better shape. I really didn't like missing parts of two seasons in a row and the Padres looked at me like I wasn't a very hard worker. At that time, to some extent, I was but I also wanted to prove them wrong. I took to many things for granted and needed to change that.

I want all those front office guys to see me as a hard worker so I picked it up. I do want this. I started off the season in April and May a little bumpy but since then its been pretty good.

I've seen you pitch a few times and I was a little shocked this year to notice your walks are up some. Every time I've seen you pitch that doesn't happen often.

Jeremy McBryde: I had some problems in May, I just didn't know where the ball was going. For awhile I really started to wonder if this is what I am supposed to be doing. I just felt like there was nothing left there anymore. I still had a passion for the game, just didn't feel very good at it anymore.

When I threw strikes I was getting hit and when I tried to hit spots I was walking batters.

It was just a really hard time. I talked to my family and they were really helpful telling me that I just had to ride it out and that things were going to get better. I'm glad that I kept with it and kept working hard.

You are in the pen now and earlier you were discussing about learning how to warm up. Can you go into how much different it is coming out of the bullpen as opposed to starting?

Jeremy McBryde: As a starter I honestly needed those four days to recover. As for the running program you run a lot more as a starter than you do out of the pen.

So when I started my arm felt good, but it didn't feel good until the next start.

I was kind of worried when they wanted me to come out of the bullpen because I didn't know if my arm would hold up. But since I've been pitching in relief my arm hasn't hurt at all. The running program I do more on my own and my work ethic has changed.

I'm able to go back to back days and that is really different.

When people move starters to the pen sometimes it kind of frees them up. They don't have to worry as much about pitch sequences and they can just go with their best pitch. In your case I can imagine, this is my sinker. Try to hit it.

Jeremy McBryde: As a starter going through the line-up you just want to get by with fastball change-up the first time and then the second use your breaking pitches more.

Usually as a starter I did better the second time around because I used my slider more. Coming out the bullpen now I just go fastball/slider and have really helped me. I don't throw the change that much unless I am facing lefties.

You throw two-seamers mostly, correct?

Jeremy McBryde: Pretty much but if I am staying on the outside corner I will go four-seamers. I have had some problems controlling the two-seamer because it just sinks and moves so much.

Although your four-seamer has a natural sink.

Jeremy McBryde: It does. Its also surprising that they didn't think my velocity was all the way up in spring but its gone up. I come off of the mound and Bronswell [Patrick, the Storm pitching coach] will tell me that I got up to 95 and it doesn't even feel like I've worked that hard doing it.

It must be the program that I'm on both pitching and conditioning, because I really do feel good. That is what they want to see out of me and hopefully I've been giving it to them.

Has your velocity picked up a little more coming out of the pen?

Jeremy McBryde: When I first signed I think I could sit between 92 to 94 for the first few innings and then I would be around 88-91 for the rest of the game. But the bullpen its just about going out to throw and the velocity can vary. Usually I top out around 95 and don't dip below 90.

But the key is just to locate your pitches and have good secondary pitches.

When you throw your slider is it more of a swing and miss pitch in that the batter thinks its a two-seamer but goes out of the zone or can you throw it for strikes as well?

Jeremy McBryde: I do throw a slider for strikes and its kind of my go to pitch. A lot of times I like to start guys off with a get-me-over slider because most hitters don't want to swing at a first pitch breaking ball.

Honestly I do throw it for strikes and in the dirt. About ninety percent of my strikeouts are on sliders and when I'm ahead in the count that is what I'm throwing.

Your biggest goal has to be to stay healthy. What else are you trying to accomplish?

Jeremy McBryde: I want to prove that I can pitch beyond this level. I've been here for three years now and don't want this to be the final step.

I've been working so hard to move up and hopefully it will pay off.

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