MadFriars' Interview: Kevin Quackenbush

FORT WAYNE: Kevin Quackenbush, 22, was taken in the eighth round by the San Diego Padres in the 2011 draft out of the University of South Florida. In four years with the Bulls he had his best season this year with 45 strikeouts against seven base on balls and three earned runs in 33.1 innings pitched for a 0.81 ERA.

At 6'3" 215 lbs. he has good size for a pitcher to go along with a fastball that sits in the mid-90's. His curve ball and changeup are still works in progress but he accomplishes what the new Padres' pitching mantra demands; he commands the fastball.

He got off to a fast start in Eugene with 33 strikeouts in 20.2 innings giving up only a single run before being promoted to Fort Wayne. With the TinCaps he took over the closer's role and was a big part of their push to the playoffs with a 38/6 K/BB ratio and 0.84 ERA.

Although he may have worn down by the time the playoffs came around, he was the one who gave up the winnings runs against Lansing in the Midwest League semifinals, Quackenbush had a great season.

Most impressive number? In forty-two innings between Eugene and Fort Wayne he gave up a grand total of three earned runs.

Can you go over what you throw?

Kevin Quackenbush: I throw a fastball, curve ball and a changeup.

Four or two-seam fastball?

Kevin Quackenbush: Four, I only throw a four-seam fastball. A two-seamer doesn't work for me.

You have risen really quick and not really struggled at all since coming into pro ball. How come?

Kevin Quackenbush: I've just been fortunate to have success. Not any big reasons throw strikes and get ahead of hitters.

Everyone always says that but a lot of first pitch strikes get deposited in the stands. I take it the strength of your game is being able to command the four-seamer?

Kevin Quackenbush: I think so. I've had pretty good control but obviously there are some pitches I wish I could take back too, but that's baseball.

You went to South Florida. Were you always in the bullpen or were you a starter?

Kevin Quackenbush: My first appearance in college was as starter. I went one and a third, so it was into the bullpen [laughs]. I started to close my sophomore year.

Seems like guys as yourself who have a big fastball really benefit from the adrenaline rush that comes with coming in with the game on the line.

Kevin Quackenbush: It definitely is that with the game on the line. I really enjoy it.

Shawn Wooten claims that you have really helped out the team quite a bit since you came up from Eugene. He said your greatest strength is that you have a "closer's mentality" in that not a lot bothers you.

Did you have to develop that or is that just part of your personality?

Kevin Quackenbush: I'm a big believer in having a short memory wherever you are playing - pitching or hitting. You make the best pitch you can and if he hits it, big deal. Onto the next one.

Guys like me always write that but it seems hard to do in real life.

Kevin Quackenbush: [laughs] Yeah well some are tougher than others especially when you give up a big hit and allow a few runs. Then you are pretty pissed off at yourself.

You can learn from your mistakes too.

Kevin Quackenbush: You can. Its also baseball, things are going to happen.

You got drafted by the Padres and signed pretty quick.

Kevin Quackenbush: This is what I always wanted to do and dreamed off my whole life. I was a senior so it was pretty much lets go.

Going into the off-season. What are the main things you are going to work on?

Kevin Quackenbush: Just going to keep my mechanics the same. I have a tendency to fly open some. Try to gain velocity..

How do you gain velocity?

Kevin Quackenbush: [laughs] I really don't know. That is one of the things I am going to try to find out. I'll get back to you on that.

When you pitch in college against aluminum bats some college pitchers have trouble pithing inside. Were you ever like that?

Kevin Quackenbush: No, I always pitched both sides of the plate. I like throwing inside and making the hitter feel uncomfortable. I've always been a fastball dominant pitcher, so I've worked off of that.

The college game has changed some with the new bats, the sweet spot was much smaller this year.

One of the bigger thrills coming into pro ball must be breaking hitter's new wood bats.

Kevin Quackenbush: [laughs] Yeah that is great.

My first appearance in Eugene I shattered a guys bat and I think I enjoyed that more than getting a save.

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