MadFriars Q & A: Sean Thompson

We turned the tables on correspondent Sean Thompson during our recent visit to Mobile before the start of the series between the Montgomery Biscuts and Mobile BayBears.

John Conniff - After having success at Lake Elsinore this year, you have struggled somewhat after being promoted to Mobile, any reasons why? What has been the biggest change?

Sean Thompson - First of all I've struggled a lot since being promoted.

John Conniff -
Hey, I was trying to be polite.

Sean Thompson -
I know, I know (laughter). I got psyched out a little. Once I got up here I thought I had to do everything that much better. It's like the jump from a freshman in high school to being a senior, everything just seemed a little tougher.

Hitters are a little tougher, being called upon to throw a 2-0 curveball and spot it, it's tough.

I was making it a lot harder that it is. I tried throwing harder, that didn't work. I tried making it simpler, that didn't work. Right now, they changed my arm slot, so I'm not straight over the top anymore.

John Conniff -
They changed your mechanics midway through the season and you are still supposed to perform?

Sean Thompson -
Yeah, I have a lot on my shoulders right now. It used to be there were times I was 0-2 on somebody and I would drop down and fire a fastball at 92. Now they want me to start doing that on every pitch. My curveball, changeup are going to be a little different.

Just getting settled up here has been an adjustment. Every year I've played I've always seen myself as a leader. We can have fun and the team could count on me and we had a pretty good chance any time I went out there. Right now, I just don't feel like that. Its just uncomfortable. I don't like being the guy that nobody knows what is going to happen on the mound.

John Conniff -
You were pitching pretty well at Lake Elsinore.

Sean Thompson -
I was comfortable. Some of my best friends are on that team, it was a great atmosphere. I got up here things are a little different, guys are a little bit older, the tempo of the game is a little different.

John Conniff -
This is the first year that you've been jumped in midseason. Coming out of spring training didn't you think you were going to be in Mobile?

Sean Thompson -
I had believed that I was going to be at Mobile. However, I had a terrible big league spring training, so I really didn't show anybody anything, except that I had a temper.

Every year I had always stayed in the same spot, no matter how bad or how well I did. So I really didn't think I was moving from Lake Elsinore this year.

The weather is unbelievably terrible here, I hate it. You never know how much you miss Colorado until you move to Mobile Alabama, Phoenix, Arizona, all those hot weather places I just hate.

John Conniff -
In spring training there were reports that your velocity was down. At Lake Elsinore it seemed to come back. Has there been problems with your velocity here at Mobile?

Sean Thompson -
A big problem has been that I haven't been calling my own pitches, something that I have always done. I don't know the hitters, and the guys know the hitters better than I do, but no excuses. I just haven't performed.

John Conniff -
You are one of the few guys that came into the organization straight out of high school. The Padres organization has emphasized in the past few years college players, although eight out of the top ten prospects according to Baseball America are out of high school.

Why did you choose to go straight to the professional ranks as opposed to going to college?

Sean Thompson
- When I was growing up one thing you never heard come out of my mouth, or any guys mouth, that I want to be a college pitcher. I wanted to be a professional pitcher.

The best way to learn how to get professional hitters out, is to start out playing professional ball. In "metal bat ball", you are pitching away from the hitter, which is very different from the pro game. Plus all the camaraderie that exist in the last three years of pro ball has been fun. Guys are doing stupid things, its fun, which seems a lot like college.

If you come out of high school as compared to pro ball you have to mature quickly. You have to learn things and you are more in control of your own destiny. After three years of professional baseball, I'm in AA. You come out of college they are going to send you to Rookie Ball, because you don't have the experience.

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