Padres Prospect Interview: Jackson Quezada

Many baseball officials believe that a Latin American prospect adapts quicker and performs better when they make a concerted effort to know the language. San Diego Padres prospect Jackson Quezada already has a fantastic grasp of the English language and has been stateside for only a year.

His first two years in the Padres' system were spent in the Dominican Summer League. In 24 games, including 20 starts, the right-hander amassed a 1.64 ERA in 131.2 frames.

Pleased with the results, San Diego shipped him off to the Northwest League where he debuted as a reliever. In 18 games, including four starts, Jackson Quezada went 2-2 with a 4.19 ERA. He had a better ERA as a starter but posted a better batting average against in relief.

An injury early in the year had him shutdown for several weeks and when he came back he was converted into the relief role. After getting banged around, Quezada found his groove late in the year, allowing runs in two of his final ten outings, spanning 14.2 innings.

"I was hurt a couple of times, my elbow, but I felt good the last couple of weeks and did well," Quezada explained. "We played good out there as a team. I felt ok out there."

Quezada worked in the low-nineties with his fastball but never hit the 94 MPH he had during the spring, mostly because of his bum elbow holding him back.

After a successful season in Eugene, Quezada was shipped to the Padres' fall Instructional League.

Deceptive in his delivery, he came to Peoria in the fall to work with the different pitching coaches on his mechanics.

"I came to work on my mechanics, throw my changeup more and my slider and command my fastball," he said.

He accomplished one task, tossing his changeup 15.1 percent of the time – knowing that it is a new pitch to his arsenal and will add another look as his fastball velocity gains steam.

He had some troubles staying on top of the ball in Eugene, another cause for refinement. When his arm drops, his command wavered.

"It is tough to keep everything in line," Quezada admitted.

Quezada also wanted to see more first pitch strikes this fall and he came in at 58.1 percent during his time in Instructs. It wasn't where he wanted to be – much like a quarterback he wants to at least hit on 60 percent of his initial offerings.

But he feels confident heading into 2007. His health has returned and the bite on his pitches is expected to as well.

As he looks to the future, two things are on his side:

He has grown attached to his changeup and does not mind throwing inside. That is a winning combination.

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