Grady Fuson Q&A

Padres vice president of scouting and player development Grady Fuson is a pusher. Will Cory Luebke and Nick Schmidt then get the same treatment as Wade LeBlanc? Has Jared Wells reinvented himself? Is Luis Durango turning heads? Did Mat Latos deliver in his debut? What impressions did Drew Cumberland make? Edinson Rincon in the U.S. at 16? We talked about all these topics and more.

Cory Luebke looked very good when I got a chance to see him out in Eugene. He seems like he is a candidate to be fast-tracked like LeBlanc.

Grady Fuson: And (Nick) Schmidt. Both of those left-handers should come quick.

We briefly touched on Jared Wells early and it seems he has found a home in relief.

Grady Fuson: I think he is proving to us and himself that that might be his role in advancement to the big league level. He has kind of struggled mastering the third pitch – the changeup or even the spread finger pitch – which is too bad because certainly starters are more valuable. There are numerous starters who have got up to the big leagues but kicked it off in the bullpen. From there you had more time to develop the third pitch but who knows. That may be his role. Finally, we got to a point where there is performance where he can build off of in the bullpen.

Luis Durango didn't seem to have that big a following as a prospect even coming into the year. Yet, he led the league in average – again.

Grady Fuson: Another batting title. He is a pain in the butt. He has done a good job using his hands and his eyes and his personal skill about contact and letting his speed play. He plays the game with his hair on fire.

If a guy like this continues to graduate, he has to get a lot better with all the instinct ends of the game. His baserunning, his routes, his reads, his understanding of how the game is played as far as what bases to throw to. All those things that don't show up on the boxscore but are very valuable to us.

For him to do it for the third year in a row when you count the DSL is great to have.

When you have him and Javis Diaz who are fliers and have speed skill to go with bat skill – we will see where it takes us.

Mat Latos – was he everything you expected?

Grady Fuson: A super summer. A little better than I thought. I was a little concerned about his emotion and how that would be controlled on the mound and would that turn into ball four or strike three? But this guy has a light switch. He has a switch he turns when he gets on the mound. He competes. For the most part he was in every game he pitched, and we will take that, especially for a 19-year-old kid in a college oriented league.

He is still a long ways away as far as efficiency. I think there was only one time he got into the fifth. He has to work on strike throwing, like they all do.

I have not had a chance to see Drew Cumberland. What can you tell me about him?

Grady Fuson: He has been impressive. He broke that finger right out of the chute so that held him back. He has lightning in his hands. He has lightning in his legs. He was a little scattered defensively in the beginning. Actually, he played better in Eugene defensively. He will come to Instructs. There are a lot of little things defensively we want to clean up with him. A super skill player. Great makeup.

What was your take on Edinson Rincon. Randy Smith was very high on him and he had a good debut in the DSL, struggled when he first got to Arizona but turned it on some towards the end.

Grady Fuson: It was one of the things that was part of the agreement with signing him to bring him over right away. He was probably overmatched but he is strong, physical, there will be some versatility to him before it is all over. This is a guy that caught a little bit. I am not saying we are ready to do that.

The Arizona thing was a hair too much, too quick. He got a taste of it. He will go back down to Instructs to get grinded on a little bit and we expect him back in Arizona next year.

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