MadFriars' Interview: Jeremy McBryde

SAN ANTONIO-- Jeremy McBryde and Mat Latos were two of the last players that the Padres selected under the old "draft-and-follow" rule in the 2006 draft where the team had the option of signing a player a week before the next year's draft.

McBryde, 25, whom the Padres had drafted in 2005 out of Midwest City High School in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma but were unable to sign, was taken again by San Diego in the twenty-sixth round out of Rose State College (JC) after his freshman year and this time the organization was able to get the deal done.

Spurning Oklahoma State to sign with the Padres, McBryde showed some early promise as a starter, especially in 2008 with the then Fort Wayne Wizards striking out 158 batters in against only 24 walks in 136.2 innings.

Then injuries struck and after undergoing Tommy John surgery the Padres put McBryde in the bullpen where he has been thriving this year with the Missions.

McBryde has seen his velocity return along with his heavy sinker and is now San Antonio's closer. He is striking out over a batter an inning and once again appears to be on the cusp of a big league call-up.

We caught up with him at the beginning of the month.

All of us have always been big fans of watching you pitch all the way back to your days as a starter in Fort Wayne. You had some injuries and are now in the bullpen and starting to put up pretty good numbers again.

Are you back to where you once were?

Jeremy McBryde: Last year in Lake Elsinore we got to the playoffs - I have always been a high three-quarters guy with my arm slot - and it just wasn't getting through like I wanted it too.

So I started to throw over the top and I got back to the mid-90's in the playoffs. I came back to spring training with the same arm slot and I've had the same results.

How did you discover the arm slot?

Jeremy McBryde: I was just in the bullpen throwing around and just started to raise my arm a little and the rest is history.

So much of your career depends on where your arm slot is how do you go about adjusting it? Is it this is where I feel comfortable and this is where I am going to throw?

Jeremy McBryde: Pretty much. When I first signed my velocity was always up. I had the injuries and my velocity never really came back until now.

It was just a random thing, throwing over the top. Now I can throw longer, harder and more consistently so it has worked out.

Last year at Lake Elsinore you were still getting used to being in the bullpen. Have you now fully acclimated to your new role?

Jeremy McBryde: Last time when we talked I was in long relief or middle relief. I started to do better and they moved me up to set-up.

After I got here we had a few promotions and now I am in the closer's role and I like having the game in my hands and the adrenaline rush that comes with it. A one run or two run lead is what it is all about. I love the feeling that comes with it and hope they keep me in this role.

Its always a big debate between stat heads and traditionalist about how big a role their is for a closer because arguably three outs in the seventh should mean as much as three outs in the ninth.

But whenever I talk to you guys there is a big difference in pitching the ninth as compared to other innings.

Jeremy McBryde: It is. You go out there in the middle of the game and you could give up a few runs and end up losing the game but its different when you go out there in the ninth to close.

You know going into the inning that the game is in your hands. The whole team is counting on you and I like having that on my shoulders.

When you were starting you pounded your heavy sinker. When you were going well guys could know that it was coming and they still couldn't do a lot with it.

In this role a batter may get to see you only once or twice in a series does that even help you more? I mean you can't get somewhat used to it before as you could when you started.

Jeremy McBryde: I don't throw it quite as much, it was usually arm side to lefties and righties. As a closer I just fill up the strike zone and try to force weak contact.

I know if a guy has trouble with the ball inside, that is where he is going to see it. Maybe some off-speed and I do throw the sinker quite a bit, just not as much when I was starting.

Is that the correct term "sinker"? Is it a sinker or two-seam fastball?

Jeremy McBryde: Its a two-seam fastball that I get a lot of sink with. I've always called it a sinker but technically its a two-seam fastball.

What other pitches do you throw again?

Jeremy McBryde: A four-seam fastball, slider and change. I don't have to use my change as much as I used to as a starter but I still throw it out there for a show-me pitch to hitters are aware of it.

With your velocity coming up you must be throwing the four-seamer a lot more. It also has to give you a lot of confidence that the increased velocity and your sinker you have two plus pitches.

Jeremy McBryde: Oh yeah. I throw my slider as hard as I can so I get some bit on that one too. I think that is one of the reasons that they moved me to the bullpen is that I have two plus pitches that I throw with good velocity and my changeup never really came around as much as it should for a starter.

What is the part of your game that you are the most pleased with in the past few years?

Jeremy McBryde: Last year I was struggling with wether or not I wanted to play because my Dad was home sick. I wasn't sure if I wanted to pack it in and go spend time with him.

He passed away this past off-season. This season coming in I kind of dedicated it to him because it was always both of our dreams to make the big leagues.

So I have just come out and worked as hard as I can and the numbers have been pretty good. I'm going to do everything I can to get there.

You are awfully close right now. Last question. What is the toughest part of being a native Oklahoman in Texas?

Jeremy McBryde: No, I'm not going to bite on that one [laughs]. The Spurs and Oklahoma City are playing right now and I'm not getting too much grief on that one.

Its really nice playing close to home so a lot of my family can see me play.

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