Fuson, Gayton talk Mat Latos signing

After not sounding optimistic the day before, Padres' vice president of scouting and player development Grady Fuson was all smiles on Wednesday night, as was scouting director Bill "Chief" Gayton.

What changed from yesterday to today? When we talked on Tuesday night you did not sound too optimistic.

Grady Fuson: Well, at that stage there wasn't any feel of come down on their part, at least from a verbal standpoint. At the same time, what I didn't (say) was now is the time that things are getting tense. I knew they wouldn't be stuck on their number, but, at the same time, I still didn't know where things really stood.

(On Wednesday), we had another conversation and there was still no "yes" but there was a point where they finally trusted our final figure. We got it done.

What was it about Mat Latos that had you guys believing he could be a very special prospect.

Grady Fuson: Number one, no different than last year when we took him – just sheer velocity. He has as good, if not the best arms in the draft. Everybody from Joe Bochy to Kevin (Towers) to me to Chief to Littlefield and Bowden, everyone that saw him, from a velocity standpoint he hits 92 to 98 every time you see him.

Someone throwing 95-98 – it is what it is. You don't walk around the corner and see that all the time.

Besides the fastball, was there something else that stuck out?

Grady Fuson: It is a big body, there is athleticism to him, there is feel for a slurve, breaking ball to him right now, which is going to help and get better and better as he goes on.

How about your favorite pitch, the changeup? Where does he stand in his development of that pitch?

Grady Fuson: I think it is a pitch in the works. He does have one. He kind of spikes it a little bit. What I saw when I was in there was that we would have to spend some time with it but you have to remember he is 19-years old and there is no reason to push anything. We will get his feet on the ground when he gets out there and start the process like we do any other pitcher.

Is the plan to start him in Eugene this year?

Grady Fuson: I have him going to Eugene to start the year.

Chief, you obviously have been high on him – what was the draw in originally selecting Latos?

Chief Gayton: We had seen him – he was a high profile kid for a couple of years before his senior year. He was a player Joe Bochy had recommended to us going into the 2006 draft. He had a scholarship offer to go to the University of Oklahoma and Joe had felt he might change his mind and go to a junior college.

Talk about his stuff and what you were able to see when you were out scouting him.

Chief Gayton: He has good stuff, period. He has the size, a live arm, a live fastball. He throws a changeup that kind of acts like a hard curveball. It has good action down and it is more of a spiked or knuckle-change – I am not sure how he holds it.

Everything was in place for him to possibly take off. It wasn't like we were hoping he would throw hard. We all knew he had the arm strength.


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