Padres Prospect Interview: Josh Geer

San Antonio, TX: Every time Josh Geer, 24, is promoted I've written that since the three pitches that he throws, two-seam fastball, changeup and slider, are slightly above average, the next level may be the one where the hitters finally catch up with him.

And every time I've been wrong.

This year, Geer has the best statistics of any pitcher on the Missions staff, with a 7-1 record and a 2.76 ERA. The peripherals are good, 61 hits in 62 innings with batters hitting .256 against him and a K/BB ratio of 44/9.

He pitched one season at Rice where he went 12-4 with a 3.32 ERA. In 124.2 innings, he struck out 105 batters against 44 base-on-balls and 105 hits. Prior to his arrival at Rice, Geer starred for two years at Navarro Junior College in Corsicana, Texas, which is just south of Dallas, and was the conference MVP in 2003 with a 1.78 ERA.

The right-hander was drafted by the Padres in the third-round of the 2005 draft and has produced at every level the team has sent him too. In his two seasons with the Padres, he has a career record of 17-8 with a 4.08 ERA and has issued only 42 walks in 223 innings.

He is the classic "strike thrower" who relies on keeping everything down in the zone at different speeds with his three different pitches. He's not going to issue many free passes, so batters know they are going to frequently have to hit his pitch to beat him, which has led to his success. Geer's problems come when the ball is elevated.

He relies on his intelligence as much as his physical ability, but then again when you're GPA in high school was 4.3 and you went to Rice it's not a bad gamble.

You know I always write that you don't seem to have any outstanding pitch, but at the end of every month you've been the pitcher of the month at a couple of different levels a few times last year.

Josh Geer: Yeah, I know..[laughing].

I know, I know. What is the secret to your success?

Josh Geer: Mainly it's just keeping guys off balance. It's just making sure that you're trying to throw something that they aren't looking for and if you have a third pitch it's even better. Also, it's all about keeping the ball down.

You went to Rice University which is known for producing quite a few quality pitchers. How did that help your development?

Josh Geer: Real well. I only went there for a year right after the big three [Jeff Niemann, Wade Townsend, Phillip Humber, who were selected in the first round of the 2004 draft in the first ten selections] had just left. I developed in junior college and Coach Graham helped me out with the mental part of pitching. He taught me quite a bit, especially working counts and keeping the ball down.

How has pitching in the pros compared to college. You must really enjoy pitching against wooden bats compared to aluminum.

Josh Geer: I adjusted it too it real well you could pitch people inside without getting a bunch of dink hits and it's a lot of fun to break bats.

When you were in Fort Wayne you had one stretch where you went 3-0, then went to Lake Elsinore and got hit pretty well, then came back and went 3-0 again. Was there any big adjustment you made or was it just a difference in leagues?

Josh Geer: When I first came up to Lake Elsinore I was all over the place and throwing fastballs in hitter's counts, and it was just hit, after hit after hit. It wasn't so much the change in leagues, there may be one or two better hitters from Low-A to High-A, but it was mainly me not keeping the ball down.

You're off to a really good start here. What is the difference between here and Lake Elsinore?

Josh Geer: Right now, just guys are a little more patient. They are looking for one pitch to hit and if they don't get it, they won't swing. I think it makes it a little easier to get them out because you don't throw what they are looking for. There are less free swingers here, but if you make a mistake up it's not going to be good. Luckily that hasn't happened to me that much this season.

What is your pre-game preparation like before you take the field?

Josh Geer: Before every game we go over the lineups and try to go over their weaknesses and get them to chase my pitch. Nick Hundley has really helped me out quite a bit in that department and he calls a really good game.


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