Padres Prospect Interview: Brent Carter

The best pitcher in Eugene this summer is Brent Carter. Carter, 22, a left-hander who was the University of Alabama's all time leader in strikeouts, was the Padres 16th round selection this in the 2005 draft. Carter has shown solid control posting a BB/K ratio of 6/56 and holding batters to a .229 batting average this summer.

His most impressive statistic is a sabermetric measure known as WHIP (BB + Hits/Innings pitched) which is 0.93. If you post a WHIP of 1.15 it will place you in the top ten of professional baseball.

So far Brent is off to a pretty good start in his professional career.

John Conniff: You're having a really good year, you have a great base-on-balls to strikeout percentage. What has been the secret of your success this year?

Brent Carter: I'm just trying to not go deep in counts, which is something Wally Whitehurst [the Emeralds pitching coach] has really been working with us on. Get ahead in the count and force the batter to put the ball in play.

John Conniff: You know batters when they first come to this level always talk about how tough it is to go from aluminum bats to wooden bats. Do you tend to enjoy it a little more as a pitcher knowing that you can pitch guys inside a lot more?

Brent Carter: Yeah, it's the biggest treat of professional ball that you can throw it in and they really can't do much with it, unless you make a really big mistake. With aluminum bats you get so many jam job home runs its ridiculous.

John Conniff: Being from the south, what is it like with aluminum bats and artificial surfaces? Did you encounter that much?

Brent Carter: Well the SEC is one of the toughest conferences in the country so that is the toughest thing, so even 8 hole hitters can put the ball over the fence in that league.

John Conniff: Your manager, Roy Howell, was really complimenting you on your ability to change speeds and place the ball. What are you trying to work on to move up to the next level?

Brent Carter: Really just a slider. I mainly a fastball, changeup pitcher and I move them both it up and down. I need to throw a slider more, I really need a third pitch.

John Conniff: You were a 16th round pick out of Alabama how did you end up in Eugene? Instead of Peoria? Was it part of your contract negotiation? Was there any tryout camp?

Brent Carter: No, they just kind of placed me here. I didn't really expect to be drafted. It was a real pleasant surprise to be drafted and being sent to Eugene was great. I was told by a lot of clubs I would be an after the draft free agent.

So when I got picked by the Padres on the first day and they told me I would be going to short-season ball it was really great. You know its no knock on Rookie Ball, but I don't think anyone likes getting up at 7:00 AM every morning to play games at 10:00 AM to play games in the heat with no fans.

John Conniff: And this is a step up from Rookie Ball

Brent Carter: It is, it's just been great to get sent her to Eugene.

John Conniff: When we talk to position players they are always talking about the difference in playing everyday and the amount of games and the mental grind that it starts to take. How is it for pitchers?

Brent Carter: Really nothing, except in college I was more of a relief pitcher in my last half of my senior year. As a starter in college you go once every 7 days, here its once every 5 days. Its not really different, but for positron players I can see how it would really wear on you. In college you play three maybe four games max, here its everyday.

John Conniff: So are you looking forward to going back to Mobile in Double-A?

Brent Carter: That will be great, so many Alabama supporters will come to some of the games. It's also so close to the big leagues that would be unreal to get to that level.

Have a question about a prospect in the San Diego Padres' system. Send John an email at Some questions will be forwarded and answered on air during weekly segment on the flagship station for San Diego Padres' baseball, The Mighty 1090. The show airs each Friday at 10:35 AM PST with Brian Wilson and Ernie Martinez.

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