Brooks Dunn comes out of Mississippi State University, where the Padres grabbed him in the 23rd-round of the 2006 June Amateur Draft. Dunn has shown much improvement moving to his first year of full season ball with the Padres. Much of that has come from keeping the mental side of things in check.
Last year, Dunn had some back luck to start the year, but the way he saw it was working on something new.
"If they think you're working on something, they just seeing it as improving," Dunn explained
That improvement helped him down the stretch last season in which he had a tremendous stretch where he didn't allow a run. He credits it to his defense.
"I don't strike a lot of guys out but when you have confidence in your defense behind you (it all works out). We had a great defense in Eugene, so that's pretty much what it was. They just made double plays."
Dunn's confidence in his defense allowed him to relieve stress, and put the ball in play.
To get to this year, Dunn had to take a new approach as he prepared for full season ball.
"When I go back home, I pitch with a guy who works in the Braves organization," said Dunn. "He has played a couple seasons of full season ball, and he told me the best thing you can do is (to do) what they give you, do it. Things like working out and staying in shape."
It appears as though Dunn's approach to this season has prepared his arm for full season ball with the Padres.
This season, Dunn has been told he needs to work on his first pitch strikes. While still in Fort Wayne, pitching coach Wally Whitehurst held a meeting in which Dunn explained that he "brought us some numbers the other day about throwing first pitch strikes." Dunn said after the meeting that his "percentage wasn't too good, so if there is anything, I am going to try and pitch ahead a lot more."
Soon after this meeting, Dunn received word of his call up and now is throwing his first pitch strikes in Lake Elsinore.