Padres' Prospect Interview: Ben Krosschell

Ben Krosschell had done everything right coming into the year. Praised in the Instructional Leagues, in terrific shape when spring training came around and ticketed to Fort Wayne. A mental block of sorts has since slowed his progress but he is eager to regain the form that made him a top prospect in the San Diego Padres' system.

Talk about starting in Fort Wayne, going to extended spring training and things not going the way you wanted at the start of the year.

Ben Krosschell: Things didn't go as planned. I expected a lot of myself and that is just the way it happens sometimes. I have kept a positive attitude and just keep moving forward. It is a process. I am going through a tough time right now and I hope no one else has to go what I am going through. It is the worst thing ever. I will get over it. It might be today; it might be tomorrow; it might be in a month. You just have to stay positive.

I talked to several members of the Padres' organization and we talked about your progression, taking your game to the next level in the Instructional Leagues, working hard on the changeup and me and you talked in spring training about the hard work and positive results. Was it a mental thing?

Ben Krosschell: I think it was. I personally don't think I have lost anything but it is more of a confidence thing. I am getting back up there but like I said it is a process. You have to move forward. Sometimes you have to take one step back to take two steps forward.

Is there a maturity factor involved, not to say you don't have a good head on your shoulders, but this is a business and your life.

Ben Krosschell: It is a business and obviously I want to do well. It is tough going out everyday and struggling. You really have to stay positive. It is every day. It can eat you alive. That is what I mean when you have to stay positive.

Is it just control and leaving the ball up?

Ben Krosschell: I am having a problem controlling the ball. I have never had control problems in the past and I have always been able to throw strikes whenever I want. It is just a phase I am going through. I will figure it out.

How has Wally Whitehurst been able to help you out because we are talking about something that is a little bit different here.

Ben Krosschell: It is a little different and it isn't about ‘just tweak this' but it is about me going out every day and throwing the ball and getting what I have back. Wally has helped me by being real positive. He has stuck with me and it is me going out and get my innings.

We talked in spring training about your off-season workout. Is it almost that you worked too hard this off-season to prepare and are mentally exhausted from what you had to put in.

Ben Krosschell: Not necessarily. I am not physically worn out or mentally worn out. It is a long season and a lot of people don't realize the day-to-day grind of professional baseball. It is every day. Right now, it is me regaining confidence. It is slowly but surely coming along.

How is the changeup coming along?

Ben Krosschell: The changeup has been put on hold. I am getting my old arm action back and throwing strikes. It is coming along. When I get my fastball back I know I can throw the changeup.

When I talked to Dave Rajsich down in Peoria he said to ‘look out for Ben Krosschell. He could be the next Jake Peavy.' That is a lot of pressure.

Ben Krosschell: Anybody would love to hear that. Jake Peavy is amazing. I really just try not to think about it. It is not pressure – it is almost motivation.

Talk about the relief role this year – something you are not accustomed to and settling in.

Ben Krosschell: Relief is completely different. You have to get ready quick but I have really enjoyed my time in the pen. It is a great time down there; the guys are great. It has been good – a humbling experience.

How does the preparation differ with the warmup and routines?

Ben Krosschell: It is a little different. I have always started and this is the first time I have been in relief. As a starter, you have 20 minutes to go through and throw as many pitches as you want to before the game is in your hand. Here, you look over at Wally and realize he has two more pitches and I have to be ready to go. You have to be ready a lot quicker. It is all the same when you get in the game. Throw the ball over the plate.

Talk about throwing to Kody Valverde.

Ben Krosschell: He is a great catcher. I throw to him all the time. Their philosophy is real good and they call the right pitches. It is nice to go out there and know you have a catcher who knows what he is doing. You don't have to think as much.

You were out in extended for a period of time. Is there a pitcher out there that maybe you are surprised wasn't in Eugene?

Ben Krosschell: John Hussey did real good in extended and is a good friend of mine. I heard he did real well.

You wish you were hitting again – you did, after all, homer in pitcher batting practice.

Ben Krosschell: Of course. Every pitcher thinks he can hit. I love to hit. It is fun to say you can and take some BP. If we throw a shutout, we get pitcher's BP. That is our incentive.

How is Eugene – your second time through?

Ben Krosschell: I love this place. It is a great town, great people. It is a great place to play.

Did you notice that big a difference in the competition level in Fort Wayne?

Ben Krosschell: Honestly, the same guys that were here last year are in Fort Wayne this year so to me it did not seem like a big competition level step up.

Was part of the mental struggles being sent down and believing, ‘hey, you could have left me up there and I would have been fine.'

Ben Krosschell: I think I just really needed to learn how to throw strikes. It didn't matter if I was in extended, Fort Wayne, anywhere. I just needed to regain confidence. The only way to do that is to keep throwing. It is something I am going to have to do.


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