Padres Prospect Interview: Dustin Gibbs

The lower levels often contain prospects with solid pitches but command problems. Dustin Gibbs falls into that category. He struggled with his control, walking 27, but also struck out 43. His early season showed improvement but he faltered down the stretch.

How far have you come in your development from when you were signed until now?

Dustin Gibbs: I worked with Razor a lot in extended. We worked on my windup a little bit and it got a lot smoother than it was. We worked on keeping my head still and that has gotten better. I still have a little bit of a jerk but it has come a long way. Right now, I am working on a slider and working on using a different grip.

My confidence has gotten a lot better. Coming up to the Northwest League I have had a chance to face some pretty good hitters – guys coming from the draft. Mainly confidence and I feel better every time I get out there. I keep working hard and hopefully I continue doing well.

You mentioned changing a grip on the slider. What is the end result you are hoping for out of that.

Dustin Gibbs: When I first came into spring training, Mr (Bill) Bryk referred to it as a slurve and now it is more of a cut fastball – quick, late movement. It is about getting it to the point where I can throw it for a strike when I need to. Also, using it as an out pitch. Gaining confidence with it and getting better with it.

How difficult is it to gain game confidence with the pitch when you are working on it on the side and maybe not seeing the results you hope for when you throw it in a game the first time?

Dustin Gibbs: I talked to Mike Couchee, our pitching coordinator about it. He said that a lot of times as a pitcher you want to see the movement. ‘Don't say you want to see the movement. Let the hitter show you the movement.' A hitter sees it at a different angle and the catcher sees it differently too. Ask the catcher how he sees it. Really, you can't worry about it breaking too much. Let the hitter show you.

The way I am throwing it now is going to be a lot harder. It will be late break and not the slurve action. I don't want the slurve action.

Back to the other pitches – is it just the third pitch you are looking for?

Dustin Gibbs: A lot of times when I am in a jam I go with the fastball. I want to be able to use the slider when I want to. My split-fingered has been a pretty good pitch since day one. I need to throw a fastball to get ahead 0-1 and then throw the slider to get a swing and then go outside corner – getting ahead with the fastball is the main thing and then I can throw my secondary pitches.

How frustrating is it to be in the pen, get called to warm up only to sit back down again and then have it happen a second time before finally getting in the third time you warm up?

Dustin Gibbs: It is kind of tough but not really frustrating. As a reliever you have to realize stuff like that happens. It is not that big a deal. You feel a little different but you can overcome a lot of those things. A lot of it is mental.

You get that mental game where you say you are about to go in and then sit back down and your adrenaline leaves too. When you are warming back up again you have to hype yourself up again. That has to be the toughest part.

Dustin Gibbs: That is the main thing. Like our pitching coach says, once you get ready in the pen you need to be able to take in between the lines. It is something you have to overcome and it is a little bit mental.

One of the things you mentioned was the catcher seeing your pitches. Have they come out to you to say ‘this pitch isn't working. You need to shelve it.' I imagine they have to become comfortable before saying something like that.

Dustin Gibbs: When you are in the bullpen throwing our bullpen catcher will tell you if it is good or not. They will tell you if you need to be down with it or in or out with it. Most of the time, the catchers tell you if you leave something up. If you miss over the plate they will calm you down and do a good job of letting you know. As a pitcher, you always want someone to be honest with you. They do a good job.

What are the expectations for you moving forward?

Dustin Gibbs: Continue doing well and just get confidence in that slider. Keep getting outs. I want to get more comfortable out there and see where it takes me in the future.

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