Padres prospect interview: Kyle Stutes

Fort Wayne Wizards relief pitcher Kyle Stutes wasn't a factor until a month into the season when he was added to the roster. And since then he has performed better than expected, allowing runs in seven of his 23 appearances with two of those nothing but unearned runs. He began the year allowing just one run over his first 11 innings.

Equally impressive, Stutes has been consistent in keeping inherited runners from scoring. Of the 18 runners he has inherited, four have scored and he boasts a slim 1.82 ERA through games of July 10.

You began the year in extended spring training before joining the Fort Wayne Wizards. Was that a little bit of a shock since you were pretty successful a year ago?

Kyle Stutes: I was a little frustrated but I wasn't going to let it affect me much. It is always a little frustrating when you start off where you don't want to.

You go from playing in Peoria to an actual crowd. Talk about the difference as a pitcher and how it pumps you up.

Kyle Stutes: That is a huge plus. When we were down in rookie ball we would get maybe one or two fans in the stands and most of the time that was someone's parents who came to visit. It is more of a baseball atmosphere. Down there it felt like we were playing scrimmages. It never felt like a real baseball game.

Whether you are at home or on the road. It doesn't matter if they are cheering or booing. It is always going to help get that adrenaline going a little more.

You were a starter in college, then moved to the closer role and back to starter. Where is your comfort level on the mound?

Kyle Stutes: I didn't mind being in relief. My younger years in college I actually preferred it over starting. I really liked coming in when the game is on the line. It wasn't really a problem for me at all.

What is it that makes being in relief so preferential to you?

Kyle Stutes: It is all or nothing. You have to love the pressure. That is what makes it so much fun. You go in there in a high pressure situation and get out of a jam. That is what makes it all so much fun.

How do you react when you are called up to warm-up in the bullpen and prepare your mind to take the hill and they either call someone else or let the current pitcher finish the inning? Is it a downer for you?

Kyle Stutes: It happens. It is not that big of a deal. It depends on the situation. They know a pitcher's strength in different situations. What is going on, how is he doing, w, ho is coming up next. You have to be ready all the time.

Do you feel like you have more opportunites to enter a game as a lefty?

Kyle Stutes: I wouldn't say that. If there is a left-hander coming up in the lineup, I know I have to be prepared and ready for that. I don't feel like I have an advantage over anyone.

Is your stuff that electric given that you have more strikeouts than innings pitched?

Kyle Stutes: No, no, not at all. I don't throw with a high velocity. I don't have any strikeout pitch. It isn't that I am doing anything different. I am just spotting up where the catcher is putting his mitt.

What, then, is your out pitch?

Kyle Stutes: Probably my curveball.

I gather it is more important for you to mix your pitches well then without an overpowering fastball?

Kyle Stutes: I am not the type of person that can say here is a fastball coming. If they know it is coming, they are going to to get a piece of it. Really the catchers we have here, Laudy (Matt Lauderdale) and Colt (Morton), do a great job of calling games. They know these hitters pretty well. I put a lot of trust in those guys. It is not often that I have to shake those guys off. They mix up the pitches well. We are ont he same page quite often.

Talk about the comfort level with catchers Colt Morton and Matt Lauderdale, especially coming into Fort Wayne with the season already underway.

Kyle Stutes: That is what made it so weird. I wasn't really expecting to be on the same page so quickly. I got here on a Monday and I threw that night and it picked up automatically. I had a conversation with both of them, just chatted a little bit, they wanted to know what I threw, and there was really no shaking off or anything.

You have a brother Jason who is also a pitcher?

Kyle Stutes: He is transferring over to Alvin JuCo. He didn't get much pitching time over at Lamar and he is going to transfer over there for a year.

What kind of advice can you give him having been through the process?

Kyle Stutes: Really I told him it is more of a business than anything. You can't get frustrated. You have to put your trust in a lot of these guys, keep working hard, put your nose to the grindstone and that is about it.

Does he ever offer up advice for you?

Kyle Stutes: He really doesn't offer advice. He is usually calling and asking for it.


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