Padres Prospect Interview: Drew Miller

A draft-and-follow signee by the San Diego Padres, Drew Miller instantly became one of the few power arms in the system. The right-hander split between Peoria and Eugene this year and will join the Padres in the Instructional League at the end of this month.

First, were you expecting to be called up from the Arizona Rookie League to Eugene as quick as it happened?

Drew Miller: Not really. I really wasn't expecting it. They hadn't said anything.

What was the feeling like when you did get the call?

Drew Miller: Well, they called me at six in the morning and told me to be there at seven so I had an hour to pack. That was about it.

It was pretty shell-shocking.

Let's talk about your pitching performance in Peoria. How do you feel you did in the desert?

Drew Miller: I had my ups and downs. I had two good outings and one bad but I capitalized there at the end and just kept pitching well to enable myself get in cooler weather.

As a draft-and-follow, how did you come about making the decision to sign with the Padres?

Drew Miller: I had a great college to go to in the University of Virginia but I just decided I was ready for professional baseball so I ended up signing.

Is there any pressure as a draft-and-follow to look at each outing and kind of say, ‘if I do well here I may be able to get a bigger bonus.'

Drew Miller: Yeah, there is always a little bit of pressure. You don't want to act like it but it is always in the back of your mind.

What is your repertoire like and at what speeds do you pitch?

Drew Miller: Fastball is in the low nineties. A decent changeup. Decent off-speed.

The big thing throughout the system is the changeup. How has a guy like Dave Rajsich, the pitching coach in Arizona, been able to help you?

Drew Miller: He is awesome. He has helped me out 100 percent with my mechanics and just helping understand myself better.

Now when you say mechanics – does that mean you had a violent delivery?

Drew Miller: No, I have good mechanics but he helped me nitpick what I was doing wrong. Just little itty-bitty things that make the difference between moving up and not moving up.

You had a chance to work with some of the young catchers out in Peoria. Talk about Australian-born Clint Naylor.

Drew Miller: Naylor is a warrior. Solis and Hernandez had been kind of injured and their backs have been a little sore. He caught four games in a row for us in all the gear with it being 116 outside. That is a warrior to me.

All of them call a good game and are great blockers.

Talk to me about the atmosphere in Peoria and what it is like to pitch in front of five or ten people.

Drew Miller: You don't have the fan base so you have to pump yourself up. You have to get your own adrenaline going. It is tough sometimes. Whenever you know your career is on the line, you can definitely do it.

You were a starter in college but find yourself coming out of the pen and starting in the Padres' organization. Talk about the difficulties of going between the two.

Drew Miller: Sometimes it is nice to know you only have 40 pitches and will get through three or four innings. Sometimes it is nice to know you are going to have a short day. You don't have to worry about reserving yourself.

How do you pace yourself when you are starting then. Do you not show something early on?

Drew Miller: Early on you want to show fastball command and then later on you can show your other pitches. You don't want to show everything too soon or they will know what you have to work with.

First pitch strike is the motto in the Padres' organization and every organization but they also want efficiency and three pitches or less for an out. Have you been meeting those goals?

Drew Miller: That was definitely something that was harped on us in Peoria so we worked on first pitch strike a lot and if not you definitely get that second one in.

Was this everything you expected when you signed?

Drew Miller: Yeah, but professional life is a unique life. There is a lot of down time in the hotel and you have to keep yourself mentally prepared and strong. You have to sometimes take your mind of baseball and know when to do that and know when not to.

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