Padres' Prospect Interview: Jared Wells

MOBILE- This year in Mobile, Cesar Carrillo may have had the most hype, but Jared Wells had the best statistics. Wells is 3-1 with a 2.14 ERA, which is currently third in the Southern League. His peripheral statistics are equally as impressive with the best hits to innings pitched ratio on the team (26/33.2) and only allowing eight earned runs all year.

Wells, who only moved to the mound after a football injury ended his outfield career, is finally learning to pitch rather than simply pump the ball. Jared consistently throws in the low 90s, but the big reason for his success this year is the emergence of his changeup.

A physically imposing prospect at 6-foot-4, 215-pounds, Wells has the ability to go deep into games, but hasn‘t shown it this year. His only real negative so far is a relatively high walk total (16), which is the main reason why he has only gone past five innings once in six starts.

We've seen you pitch for the past few years in Fort Wayne and Lake Elsinore and it seems like your game is really starting to come together. You have always had a big fastball, but now seem to be more comfortable throwing your change and slider more too.

Jared Wells: The development on my changeup has been big. I've always had it, but just never threw it enough. Towards the end of last year, or midway through last year whenever they started preaching to me about it, I could see the difference it just totally changed the way I pitched.

It gets hitter off of my fastball, and makes it that much more effective. Especially this year I've used it about 20% of the time. It just has gotten hitters out there in front, they have to look for it, especially when I am throwing it for strikes.

How tough is it to get used to throwing a change-up at tight spots in the game, especially when you have the adrenaline going and the tendency is to try to throw harder.

Jared Wells: Oh yeah, as I said earlier I've always had it, but it was just tough getting used to throwing it consistently for strikes because I would only throw it four or five times a game. At first it kind of felt awkward, but now it just another pitch to me.

How is your other pitch coming along – your slider?

Jared Wells: Its good. I've never had a problem throwing it and have confidence throwing it whenever. Its either going to be there or its not.

What type of percentage of these pitches are you throwing each game. You throw two fastballs, two and four seamer, slider and a change.

Jared Wells: In years before 85 to 90 percent fastballs, with sliders and an occasional change mixed in. This year its been more changeups than sliders. Now I'm throwing about 80 percent fastballs.

I threw 30 changeups in one of my last starts against Mississippi and I've never done that before. Actually its helped me because my slider is also a hard pitch, so the changeup looks just the same coming to the plate, but its just a lot slower. So I'm just getting a lot more confidence in it.

How has your arm felt? Last year you pitched more innings than ever before and since you only started pitching in college how has that adjustment been? Was last year a big stretching out of your arm?

Jared Wells: It was good to see how it was going to be throwing that many innings. This year I haven't had a problem with it and my velocity has actually been up. It wasn't really that big a deal because the adrenaline gets going so I really don‘t even notice how my arm feels.

It feels like crap in between…[laughs]

Last year you had a really good year at Lake Elsinore then struggled when you came up to Mobile. So far this year you have started out fairly hot. What has been the big change?

Jared Wells: When I got to here last year I was just worn out and probably was a little tired coming up to Mobile. It was good buildup to know what I have to do in order to be better prepared.

What is the biggest difference between the lower minors and Double-A?

Jared Wells: The hitters at this level are just more patient. They aren't going to chase as many bad pitches. A lot of things that hitters do at the lower levels too are different than here because there aren't as many free swingers. You can actually set up hitters a little better here because they have more of a plan.

Is it difficult to keep your focus now with all the success that you have had recently? There has been a lot of talk that you may be one of the next pitchers called up to the big leagues?

Jared Wells: Its been exciting. I'm ready, I just want to see what its like and get that experience. I got to go to big league camp and that was pretty awesome, but the season is a whole lot different. The hitters are trying to get ready for the season so they aren't ready for the hard fastballs coming out of the off-season. I'm really anxious to see what the competition level will be like because I'm a competitor and want to face the best.

As a former outfielder do you like hitting again?

Jared Wells: Its definitely a lot harder than in high school, but its coming around. I swing the bat a lot better left-handed but they won't let me hit left-handed plus I can't bunt left handed. I enjoy swinging it though.

Last question, if you could step outside yourself what is the biggest part of your game that you would have to work on?

Jared Wells: Throwing all my pitches for strikes on a consistent basis like any pitcher wants to do. Like putting a slider down by a hitters back foot. I want to be able to do that every time. Its not going to happen, but that is just how I play the game. Me as a competitor that is what I expect of myself.

If I had to change anything maybe it would be not to be so hard on myself, but I got to be to push myself.

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