Padres Prospect Interview: Dylan Axelrod

After signing on the dotted line, right-hander Dylan Axelrod was assigned to the Arizona Rookie League. After some initial success, the right-hander has struggled of late. We caught up with Axelrod after his first outing in the desert to discuss his stuff, the signing process and much more.

Talk about being picked by the Padres, whether they were interested in you before the draft and how you are feeling now?

Dylan Axelrod: The Padres I would have to say growing up, were one of my favorite teams. And I didn't expect any interest before the draft. I never got any phone calls or anything, but I heard that they were interested. So, I was real happy to be picked by them, and I just got here because I had to deal with the College World Series. I got to pitch in one game, and so far it has been great. All the coaches have been great, and it's been a pretty smooth transition for me.

According to reports, you officially signed on June 25th, what was the signing process like for you?

Dylan Axelrod: It was real simple. When I got back from the playoffs, the scout that signed me came to me, and we met, and signed the contract right there.

If I'm not mistaken, your uncle is Barry Axelrod, who represents baseball players like Jake Peavy, Matt Morris, and Craig Biggio. Was he your representation as well?

Dylan Axelrod: It's perfect because I didn't have to go through the process of trying to find an advisor, or an agent. It was just an obvious choice for me. And it's working out good.

Talk a little type of pitcher that you are. What are your pitches and the speeds that you throw at?

Dylan Axelrod: I'm more of a control type of pitcher. I got a fastball that I throw about 87 to 90. I'll hit 92 maybe once in a while. My slider is about 80 to 83. And a changeup around 85.

So what do you consider your out pitch?

Dylan Axelrod: My slider.

For UC-Irvine, you were often used a reliever late in the game, what did you do to handle the pressures that come late in a close game.

Dylan Axelrod: I just grew into that role. At first it was weird for me because I used to be a starter. And over time, I kind of adjusted to it, and concentrated on one big situation that didn't change much, because you had been in that situation before.

Being a starter before, have the Padres spoken to you at all about changing you back?

Dylan Axelrod: No, they haven't talked to me about what my role is going to be, but the first game I pitched in was in relief. But I'm really not sure.

In your senior season, you held opponents to a .227 batting average, what changed in your final season that helped to dominate the opposition?

Dylan Axelrod: (Laughs) I don't know, I mean I think I was just composed mentally more than anything. Where as the year before, I was not as confident as I was this year. I think year, I just didn't care who was batting or anything like that.

Who do you compare to at the major league level so we can give fans an idea of what your game resembles.

Dylan Axelrod: I would say like a Scott Shields.

What is your best baseball moment? What sticks out for you?

Dylan Axelrod: I would definitely say just the whole experience in the playoffs this year. And especially Omaha and Alamita, the amazing wins we had throughout our run.

You mentioned earlier about the Padres being one of your favorite teams. Were they your favorite team and did you have a favorite player growing up?

Dylan Axelrod: To tell you the truth, the Indians were my favorite team for some reason but the Padres were right behind. But my favorite player is Ken Griffey Jr.

Do you have any idea of the Padres farm system? Where do you think you fit in their system?

Dylan Axelrod: I really don't know. I'm just going to control what I can control.

When dissecting your game, do you feel there is an area you would call a weakness or something in your game that needs a little improvement?

Dylan Axelrod: I would say just getting a better feel for my changeup. And not just be able to throw it for strikes but spot it wherever I want to.

Now that you are set to start your professional career, what do you look forward to the most?

Dylan Axelrod: Just making the most of my opportunities.

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