Padres Prospect Interview: Jackson Quezada

Jackson K-zada. You can almost see those banners hanging from the rafters of PETCO, waiting to line up the "K's" for their favorite reliever.

Quezada has saved seven games in eight chances and has struck out 19 while walking just one in 16 innings, limiting the opposition to 11 hits in 14 appearances for the short-season Eugene Emeralds.

Pitching mechanics was a big issue for you last year. Do you still think it is an issue and what are you trying to improve upon?

Jackson Quezada: I am trying to learn everyday in the bullpen. I have early work everyday because I need to work on my mechanics all the time.

I hurt my elbow because of poor mechanics because I threw with my elbow down. I need to stay on top to get better.

You have been working on a changeup. How is that coming along?

Jackson Quezada: I am working on my changeup because it is a pitch I need to be able to throw. I have a good arm and need the changeup, especially when I have a fastball that is 92 to 93 MPH. I come with the good changeup and I have a better chance of keeping the hitter off-balance.

Are you confident in that pitch yet?

Jackson Quezada: I am confident in the pitch now but need to throw it even more.

How has your fastball changed since you have been throwing a lot more two-seamers?

Jackson Quezada: It is different because the grip changed and the different grip gave me more movement on my two-seam fastball. The Padres like when I throw that pitch.

You worked from behind in the count a little too much last year. How do you improve that?

Jackson Quezada: I am trying to work ahead of the hitters. I know I have more chances to get them out when I work ahead because I can throw whatever I want – whatever pitch I want. I feel much better this year.

Why do you think you struggled in that area last year?

Jackson Quezada: My mechanics.

What are your goals for this year?

Jackson Quezada: I want to first work on my mechanics and keep them consistent. I also want to throw more strikes and first-pitch strikes. I also want to command my fastball inside and outside. I am working on all those things to help me.

How did Razor (pitching coach Dave Rajsich) help you through all those struggles?

Jackson Quezada: He helped me a lot. Every single day he tried to stay on me, ‘Stay on top of the ball. Don't move your head. Don't go in front. Stay back every time. If you stay back all the time you will throw a lot of strikes and your arm will never hurt.'

How much have you improved since you came to the United States?

Jackson Quezada: A lot.

Will you ever have to watch your weight and how heavy you get?

Jackson Quezada: Yes. I know my body and how it works. I don't need to have too much weight. I work everyday with that. I don't need a big belly. I feel ok. Last year, I was a little heavy at 220-pounds and now I am 212.

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