Padres Prospect Interview: Aaron Breit

Fort Wayne, IN-- At the beginning of the year, we ranked right-handed pitcher Aaron Breit, 21, as the Padres number 13 prospect, ahead of many more established guys in the system.

A classic late bloomer, Breit's body began to fill out going into his senior year in high school and matured with two years at Garden City Kansas Community College. He was the Broncobusters all-time leader in strikeouts and set the single season mark with 108. In one outing he struck out 15 batters in seven innings and finished his career with a 19-5 record and a 2.66 ERA.

Breit was drafted twice by the Padres, in 2004 in the 49th-round and again in the 2005 draft in the 12th-round with San Diego signing him a few days before the 2006 draft. At 6-foot-3 and a solid 200-pounds with a very good fastball, good curveball and a developing changeup, the Padres liked what they saw and gave him the money needed to pass on a scholarship to the University of Kansas or to re-enter the draft.

We liked what we saw too last year in Eugene, a fastball that topped out at 95 MPH and sat in the low-90s. Breit led the team in strikeouts with 69 in 64.1 innings pitched against 22 walks, for a three-to-one strikeout ratio.

We thought this year in Fort Wayne he would simply overpower the Midwest League while we would bask in the glory of identifying the Padres next big pitching prospect.

So far it hasn't exactly happened that way…

This year in Fort Wayne, Breit has gone 2-7 with an 7.59 ERA. He's allowed 91 hits in 64 innings pitched with batters hitting .329 against him. He has the highest WHIP (walks and hits per innings pitched) on the team at 1.86 and his K/BB ratio is 45/24 after Monday's outing.

So what happened?

You've had quite a bit of success in your career; this is the first time that you have ever really struggled. What has been the biggest reason for your struggles?

Aaron Breit: Mainly it's been my mechanics which has affected my confidence. Although I think I've started to turn the corner and pitch much better this month, the numbers just don't show it yet.

What have you been doing to improve and correct the problems that you have been experiencing out on the mound this year?

Aaron Breit: Really just working on my release point in side sessions. The big thing for me is to work on keeping the ball down and improve my changeup and breaking pitches.

You're fastball still seems to have the same velocity as it did last year is that correct, 92-94?

Aaron Breit: Yeah, it's been pretty consistent in the low-90s; again the big problem this year has been its location compared to last year.

So it's not a question that you are struggling against better competition?

Aaron Breit: No, it's mainly been me. I just haven't been able to get comfortable with my mechanics which affects everything I do out there.

How have your secondary pitches been coming along, you're curve and change?

Aaron Breit: Really they are still developing, the consistency hasn't been there with either one this year. Although in my last outing my changeup was much better. I need to get them both consistent.

You decided not to go to the University of Kansas on scholarship, what was the reason you decided to turn pro?

Aaron Breit: I just thought it was time. I wanted to go my freshman year because I thought that I needed time to physically and mentally prepare for pro ball, and it's pretty much the same reason why I stayed for my second year.

What is the biggest thing that you need to do to improve?

Aaron Breit: Consistency and getting my confidence back up. I need to become more consistent with my release point and delivery. I was just thinking too much out there on the mound instead of just getting the ball back and letting it fly.

That is why I'm really working hard in the side sessions; I can't be worrying about that stuff when I'm out on the mound if I'm going to get better.

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