Adam McDaniel: I throw a four-seam fastball, a two-seam fastball, a slider and then a changeup. I stick mostly to both the fastball and the slider and use the changeup just occasionally because I pitch out of the bullpen and don't usually need the changeup unless I need an out pitch to a left-hander.
The slider. I throw 30-70 or 40-60 sliders to fastballs. I usually sit 91-93 MPH with the four-seam. The two-seam is 88-91 and I was up to 94-95 at times during the season. To me, that is exciting. I don't sit there but if it is in there that means I can go back to it. If I can repeat my mechanics with a good coach who has a plan than I can get to where I can sit 92-95. When I had good outings the two or three times a week I would be 92-93 for about two innings.
You mentioned you have been working out of the pen. Is that the spot you feel most comfortable?
Adam McDaniel: To tell you the truth, I have only been pitching for about two years now and it is the only spot I have pitched in. I pitched late relief for Georgia both years and worked as a closer in the Cape. I don't really know another role.
I started one year in high school and had some success but that was due more to my athleticism than my pitching skills. I didn't know much about pitching then. I was more of a shortstop just throwing off a mound. I have always been able to throw hard so that has gotten me by.
This past summer in the Cape I got to learn from some of those guys and then pitching this year helped me develop more pitches – I really developed the slider and that helped me a lot.
Do you consider yourself someone to be raw because you were an infielder before taking the mound just two or three years ago?
Adam McDaniel: Definitely. I would say ‘raw' would almost be an understatement. Tim Osborne called me from the Major League Scouting Bureau and he asked me how many innings I have thrown total and I think I have thrown 45 in college and maybe 20 last summer. The last four years I have thrown about 65 innings. That is not near enough to get where I want to be developmental wise.
My arm is very fresh and I look forward to getting the opportunity to play. I love to play every single day – what I got last summer. In college I would throw two innings every week. I would throw two innings Friday night and then wouldn't pitch again until the next Friday night. It was kind of an odd situation for a bullpen guy in college. I liked it much better in the Cape when I could pitch every other day or two times back-to-back and take a day off.
It must have been tough to get into a rhythm when you were only seeing live batters once a week. Throwing a bullpen session is one thing but things change when you put someone in the box.
Adam McDaniel: Exactly. You can't simulate the same thing in the bullpen that you can in a game. College is tough for bullpen guys to get consistent work. You don't want to blow it out in a mid-week game. If you are playing Wednesday you might need them and throw once or twice on the weekend. And maybe you don't win. We didn't win much this year. And I usually only pitched when we were winning late in the game. That cut down on some innings and opportunities to pitch. If you are setup guy for a closer and you are not winning much there goes all your innings.
You walked a couple people this year and I know you didn't work a lot, but was that an indication of mechanics that might need to be smoothed out?
Adam McDaniel: I would say more or less it is because I don't have a lot of experience and sometimes I get erratic because sometimes it is hard to get into a rhythm. When I can get into a rhythm, I can throw more strikes – getting consistent outings.
Also, due to mechanics and lack of pitching coaches. I have been my own personal pitching coach for two years. I haven't really had much help from anyone, per se. I don't know how it is at other universities but at our university it was more like whoever was pitching well got to keep pitching over and over. It wasn't we will teach him this or teach him that. It was whoever was doing the job that was who we were going to go with. I didn't get a lot of development done and I kind of pulled things from guys. I was fortunate to play with Josh Fields who went to the Braves in the second round. He is a good friend. And learning to pitch from other guys in the Cape last summer. I could pick and choose from what they learned from various coaches.
I am excited to get with a pitching coach who has a plan of development for me and knows what they want to get into just for me which will ultimately help me and the team.
When did you know your infielder days would be left behind?
Adam McDaniel: We lost our entire bullpen after the '05 season. We didn't go to Omaha and lost our entire bullpen to the draft. The coach came to me and I tried it for a while and it looked my arm was going to take its toll playing a position everyday and pitching too. I didn't think I was going to be good at either one. I think spreading it out I wasn't going to reach full potential at all. I knew I threw hard enough. I just wanted a shot to play and it worked out for me. It was a good move and I am glad that I did it.
I don't know how much you know about the Padres, but do you feel like this is a good fit for you?
Adam McDaniel: I really liked the area scout, Pete DeYoung. I had a bunch of good conversations with him. He is from here. He is a real nice guy and a younger guy. I feel like he paid attention to my situation. It was an odd one since I didn't pitch much. I didn't have to get an opportunity by anybody by any means since I had little development. I thought he took a chance. I thought some other teams wanted me but my goal was to go top 20 rounds and if I had gone top 15 I would have been really excited. But I wanted an opportunity to play and I feel the Padres are a good fit for that.
What is it about the game of baseball that you love so much?
Adam McDaniel: I love the competition – going out there and seeing you versus that guy in the box. As a hitter it was so tough for me because you were always on the defense, especially in the SEC and seeing guys like Price – I faced Price 12 times in my career. You hate facing guys like (Nick) Schmidt. You can't get a break. They always know what is coming and you haven't a clue. Going to the mound and having a hitter's mentality was good for me and will help along the way.
Do you look at the Padres draft and say, since you mentioned Nick Schmidt, that this is a pretty good draft for them?
Adam McDaniel: That was the cool thing about the draft – playing in the Cape last summer was I met tons of guys. So, not only did I get calls from tons of family members I also got calls from guys all the way down the line that I played with last summer. I got to play with LaPorta – guys in the first round. And to get some of guys out too. I think between the first round and the supplemental I struck seven of those guys out. That is something you can tell your kids one day. It gives yourself confidence that I can play with these guys. Everyone puts their spikes up the same way and it goes on to individual to make it from here on out.
Is confidence something you need because of your lack of experience or do you simply point to your last statement and striking out seven guys in the top round?
Adam McDaniel: Confidence has never really been a problem for me. I have always been pretty good at most of the things I did. I ran into some trouble in college but that was good for me. It was a learning experience that I will never forget and can build off.
Plus, last season as a closer in the Cape I pitched my first 14 innings and did not give up a hit. I ended up with a high 1-or-2 ERA. That was a big confidence boost to pitch against the top competition in the nation with wood bats, live away from home, and to know I can get it done. I will build on that for sure.
Talk about Adam McDaniel on our subscriber-only message boards