MadFriars' Off-season: Robbie Erlin

LHP Robbie Erlin, 21, was drafted by the Texas Rangers in the third round of the 2009 out of Scotts Valley High School in the Santa Cruz, California area. Erlin came to the Padres at the end of July along with his teammate RHP Joe Wieland for Mike Adams, one of the top relief pitchers in the game.

So far the trade for Erlin and Wieland has the potential to be one of the better ones in San Diego's history as both pitchers ended up in the top ten prospect rankings by nearly every publication and web site with projections ranging from both being either a #2 or #3 starter in the major leagues.

In six starts with AA San Antonio he only gave up four runs in twenty-six innings including holding his former team, the Frisco RoughRiders to two hits in six innings in his second start with the Padres' organization.

First since you are new to the organization can we get an idea of what type of pitches that you throw?

Robbie Erlin: I throw a fastball, two and four-seam, curveball and change-up. I started throwing the slider at the end the last year with the Rangers and I just carried it over to with the Padres, who didn't seem to have a problem with it.

What do you throw more frequently the four or two-seam fastball?

Robbie Erlin: More of the four-seamer. If it's a ground ball situation I will throw the two-seamer but I tend to throw the four more.

You were drafted by the Rangers right out of high school and had been with the organization for three years. It must have been a little tough to leave and still more difficult to compete against them in the Texas League.

Robbie Erlin: Absolutely. It was a bit of a shock and at the same time an opportunity in San Diego. It was kind of bittersweet and weird playing against my teammates, especially since it was only two days later and pulling for San Antonio in the stands. Its fine now and I really have enjoyed my time with the Padres since I came over.

On the other hand when you and Joe Wieland are traded for one of the best relief pitchers in baseball that has to make you feel good.

Robbie Erlin: Yeah, it was definitely a good sign.

If we could go back for a minute to when you were drafted, the Rangers got you to sign with them instead of going to Cal Poly. What swayed you to go pro?

Robbie Erlin: Mainly it was just a gut instinct. As my senior year of high school went on I realized that I wanted to start my career as soon as possible. I thought what a reasonable asking price and the Rangers met this with little problems. It was a good relationship throughout the signing process and everything was very open.

You have had such success since you have signed. What is the biggest part of your game that has improved?

Robbie Erlin: Mainly pitching to hitters and knowing how to read them. As for command that has always been a big part of how I throw.

Growing up my dad always made sure that I could throw to both sides of the plate. Everything was always command, command and command. I mean he wouldn't even let me throw breaking pitches until I really mastered that.

I don't have superior raw stuff so a big part of how I get hitters out is by reading them; trying to figure out what they are trying to do and attack it.

You arguably had your best year last season what have you been doing to prepare for 2012 and going to Tucson, a very hitter friendly park?

Robbie Erlin: My main focus is just to get in the best shape that I can. I run every day in addition to lifting and working on my throwing program, which is mainly long toss.

I read in an interview that you did one of your game day rituals is to watch the television show Las Vegas. Any reason why?

Robbie Erlin: [laughs] I just started watching it in the morning because it was on between 9:00 AM and 11:00 AM in the morning and was just a good chance to relax before starting my day.

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