MadFriars' Interview: Shawn Wooten

FORT WAYNE: In part two of our interview with TinCaps' manager Shawn Wooten he discusses on of the top Padres' prospects this season and what 2011 draft pick could rise the quickest through the system.

Keyvius Sampson had a great year. What is the biggest reason for his success?

Shawn Wooten: He has a live fastball that gets on hitters pretty quick and he throws 91-94 so that helps. He can locate on both sides of the plate and has a nice little kicker at the end. He has a plus changeup to go with it so it becomes very difficult for hitters to see balls and attack one location.

He has a good curve but it gets tougher to throw as you go higher. Also at this level a lot of umpires have trouble calling it because although it crosses that plate as a strike it ends up out of the strike zone.

They see the catchers glove go down and they call it a ball. One of the biggest things I've seen with Keyvius is how he competes to go along with a great feel for the game.

He does a great job of setting up hitters which you don't see that often at this level. He has a really good idea of when guys are coming up to swing at the first pitch.

Zach Cates was converted from a catcher and this is really only his second full year of pitching. He has a few more walks than you would like to see, what have you thought of him so far?

Shawn Wooten: His stuff has been really good. I know his background being a conversion guy and this is really his first year since he didn't play short-season last year. So he missed a little bit of time in knowing and getting used to the routine of what it takes to be a professional player.

Just learning how different the game is from college. For a lot of conversion guys the big challenge is repeating the mechanics even when you are excited. Just the grind of going out there every five days but he has a good way of bouncing back.

He has a plus fastball and a good changeup at times. He's going to have to work on his change and breaking ball more as he moves up. When he has more polished off-speed pitches you will see his numbers pick up.

He has come a long way this year.

Mark Hardy, a late round pick from Canada has been one of your better pitchers all year. What can you tell us about him?

Shawn Wooten: He's been huge for us, you know what you are going to get with him. He throws strikes, will attack the zone and keep us in the game. He's one of those sleeper guys for me. His strikes are down in the zone, he's 6'4" so his strikes are going to be down in the zone - so he's always throwing on a downhill plane. Anytime you can do that you have a chance.

He has a back door slider to righties and can throw a two-seamer down in the zone. He has a good idea of how to pitch and he keeps his composure out there. He's a late round pick and hasn't played as much baseball as everyone else so he has to keep on putting up numbers as opposed to someone with a plus fastball that you can see come out of his hand.

Jason McLeod, the Padres Director of Scouting and Development, was really high on Kevin Quackenbush the closer you guys brought in from Eugene.

Shawn Wooten: He has an exploding fastball because it gets on hitters.

You keep saying gets on hitters, what exactly does that mean?

Shawn Wooten: It has late life. You might be looking at one spot and its by them already. Its like it has another speed, which I think a lot of it has to do with deception, it just seems faster than it actually is.

I don't know if you can teach that but both Sampson and Quackenbush are kind of the same way. They both throw balls by guys.

He will be challenged more as he gets higher and he will need to use his changeup and curve more - which are good - he just doesn't have to use them as much right now at this level.

But right now we are really happy with the way Kevin has pitched both here and at Eugene. He has just been lights out. He really has a closer's mentality, works fast and doesn't get fazed by anything.

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