Padres Prospect Interview: Derek McDaid

Fort Wayne, IN-- Every kid that slips a glove over their fingers, grips a bat, and throws a ball in the backyard, dreams of playing in the big leagues. For most of these kids, this dream will never come true, but for Fort Wayne pitcher Derek McDaid, it has.

McDaid is one of the rare breeds of players that was not drafted, nor was he offered a free agent contract, rather McDaid made his way to the Padres organization through a tryout camp. The first-year player out of the University of Charlotte, McDaid is currently 6-2 with a 4.29 ERA, and is certainly making a name for himself in Fort Wayne.

Not too many guys can say this, but you were signed out of a tryout camp. Tell me about the experience of coming from a tryout camp in Chicago on a rainy day, to being able to pitch with the Padres organization.

Derek McDaid: Starting out, when we got to Chicago, it wasn't looking good. The forecast was bad for both days, and we only got half the first day in and it got rained out. We were supposed to throw back-to-back days and I only ended up throwing 20 pitches, and warming up off of flat ground. You go out there and throw some pitches for some scouts and air it out, and go from there. They invited about 15 guys to go out to Arizona, and I guess I did pretty well; the velocity was alright. I did everything I could to get signed, it worked out pretty well.

Tell me about your velocity and your pitches. Where do you like to sit? Where do you like to work at?

Derek McDaid: I'll probably sit between 88-90 when I'm pitching. My big thing is that I have a little bit of movement. I like to throw a slider and a changeup as well.

When you were playing ball in Charlotte, what did you notice were the big differences between the coaches there in comparison to in Fort Wayne?

Derek McDaid: In Charlotte it was more hard-nosed, a lot more yelling, and here it's a lot more professional. In college you have some guys who need to be babysat, and here you have to motivate yourself or you'll go home. In college the coaches are there to motivate you, here if you're not motivated, then you just go home.

Did the Padres try to work on some of your mechanics? What advice has Wally Whitehurst (Fort Wayne pitching coach) given you?

Derek McDaid: Wally has been awesome. He's basically tried to make it as simple as possible when I'm throwing. I had a lot of funky movement with my delivery, and he has tried to make it as simple as possible for me. It's helped a lot with my location and throwing strikes as a whole.

Where do you see yourself going in this system? Do you see yourself being here a full season?

Derek McDaid: Yeah. I think it would be good for me, in my first season of pro ball to be here all season. I want to put up good numbers in the second season, work hard in the off-season and move up next season.

So the thing I've got to ask is--Canada. It doesn't seem like a big baseball place, but we just saw Phillipe Aumont get drafted in the first-round. What has been the progression of Canadian baseball?

Derek McDaid: I don't really know. Usually there are a lot of good arms coming from Canada, but I don't really know what it has been. There are a couple of good leagues in Canada that people come out of, but it's the same thing like in the U.S. with people who love baseball, and push themselves to get out.

So I have to ask you this, what hockey position were you? You are a big guy, were you a defenseman?

Derek McDaid: Yeah, I was a defenseman. I was more of a stay at home defenseman, didn't score a lot of goals, but I'd push some people around a little bit.

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