Padres Prospect Interview: Jared Wells

California League Pitcher of the Year did it all this season and was rewarded with a spot on the Padres 40-man roster. We recently caught up with the right-hander to discuss his season.

Q: How'd you feel about your work in the Cal League?

Jared Wells: It was pretty productive and I feel pretty good about it, especially going into my protection year. I was pretty impressed with myself.

Q: It looked like something really clicked. Was there one thing in particular that led to your improved production?

Jared Wells: When I was in spring training, I was working with my pitching coach [who] was in Elsinore with me, Dave Rajzisch, and I had a big loop in my leg kick, and that had a lot to do with it I think. Once I straightened that out, my location and everything was so much better. From then on, when I was on the mound, I had the confidence that I could put the ball anywhere I wanted to and from then on it all just kinda clicked.

Q: Your strikeout rates dropped while your production increased. Was that just coincidence or was that by design?

Jared Wells: To be honest with you, I'm not a strikeout guy. I'd rather throw [fewer] pitches if possible and last throughout the game. I want the guy to hit the first pitch they see. I'm not going to try to fool him to get the strikeout.

Q: With the organizational focus on the changeup right now, how do you feel about how you use it?

Jared Wells: I think it works pretty well. Granted, I don't throw it as much as they want me to, but it's not how much I throw it, it's when and how I use it. That's how it should be. It's another pitch to take them off the fastball since I'm a majority fastball pitcher. Once I throw that, it's another thing to get them off of it. [I use] the same arm action and everything. That actually helped my game out this year because I threw it more than I ever have.

Q: Was that from Rajsich:

Jared Wells: That was the entire organization, period. They were preaching to me the entire season. I would throw it between 11-15 times a game most of the time and it worked out pretty well.

Q: How did it feel to make the transition up to Mobile? I'm sure you were heart-broken not to get to throw up in High Desert any more.

Jared Wells: Actually, I pitched best there all year. It's crazy, because every time I pitched at High Desert, even last year when I first got to Elsinore, I did well. It really [doesn't] bother me that much because I guess I just stepped it up a little bit mentally.

When I got to Mobile, I didn't feel like it was that big of a difference. There were just production and little bitty things. Plus, it was getting toward the end of the season. That's something I've got to work on next season, being ready for the longer part of the season.

Q: You threw more innings this year then ever before right?

Jared Wells: Yeah. Including the World Cup, I threw 175 which is way more than I've ever thrown before.

Q: What was the experience in the World Cup like?

Jared Wells: It was awesome. Just to go out there and stand out there for the national anthem was pretty neat.

Q: Who'd you compete against and what was the level of competition?

Jared Wells: I pitched against Spain and the Czech Republic. Honestly, I feel like it's tougher over here than it was over there. I wish I'd gotten to throw against Cuba or somebody like that. I was scheduled to throw in the medal game if we'd made it, but we didn't wind up making one. I'd have loved to throw against one of the top three teams. But I had a good time and pitched well over there.

Q: What was it like pitching for Davey Johnson?

He's a real good guy. He communicates with all his players and got to know everybody a little bit one-on-one too. Since he's been a big-league manager for a long time, getting to pick his brain on certain things about the game – he really knows his stuff.

Q: There weren't a lot of "name" prospects on the roster over there. How did it work out for you to be part of that squad?

Jared Wells: I was one of the younger guys on the team actually over there. That's the first time I've played with guys that were that much older, but I guess that's what it's going to be like in Triple-A and the big leagues, so it was pretty neat to get that experience.

Q: Do you think you're headed back to Double-A, or are you looking to make the jump to AAA.

Jared Wells: [Starting the year in Portland] would be my goal going into spring training. Honestly, if I get to go to big league camp –I hope that happens and we'll find out in the middle of November – I'm going to do my best to go into camp in shape and try to take the number five spot on the big-league team. That's my big goal, but if I don't, then I know I've got something to look forward to in the middle of the season, because I'm not going to slack off any.

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