Padres Prospect Interview: Jeremy Hefner

Jeremy Hefner came into Eugene spotting his pitches and outshining many of those picked ahead of him. He believes once his changeup is up to snuff he will be even harder to beat.

What have you been working on since coming to the Padres organization, and what was been working for you?

Jeremy Hefner: My fastball is good, my slider is good and I have been working on my changeup a lot and it is starting to come around. I have had everything working and have made some good pitches.

I have had good success since I have been here and after a good college career I have been trying to carry it over. I have a lot of confidence right now.

Is it that one start leads into another to get you on a roll?

Jeremy Hefner: You come in and want to build up confidence quickly and I tried to keep it going and ride it out as long as it would go.

You also saw some good defense behind you during your time in Eugene.

Jeremy Hefner: The pitcher is nothing without his defense, especially the catcher. My catchers did really well calling a good game and you have to have good defense. We played good defense every night.

You got a chance to work with Mitch Canham behind the plate. What kind of catcher is he and how was your rapport?

Jeremy Hefner: Mitch is a great guy. Coming from Oregon State where they won back-to-back Championships and leading those two pitching staff's – he obviously has a lot of experience and has done really well. From what I could see, he is a very humble kid and with all the fans here has handled the pressure very well.

Talk about Luis Martinez before he got moved up to Fort Wayne.

Jeremy Hefner: Luis has a little better arm but as far as managing and calling the game they both do a good job – and not to say Mitch does not have a good arm since he threw two guys out for me in one game.

All of our catchers are good. Once you get to this level, everyone is good.

The key is getting to know your catchers and how they call the game. And them getting to know you and what you like to do – whether you like to start off a batter with a fastball. They have done a great job with that – talking to us and making sure they come prepared even before the game.

You won Pitcher of the Week honors out in Eugene as well.

Jeremy Hefner: Those are always good, but I don't really play for those. I play for my team and just trying to make myself better. Those are always nice.

Did you feel like you had to work yourself back up to speed when you first got to Eugene after a long college season?

Jeremy Hefner: I threw a lot of innings at school compared to what I did in the past. I took a couple of weeks off before the draft and before I got here. That was key to get my arm rested and I could come back. When I came I knew the coaches were going to work me in a little slower and then once I got going I could bump it up to five innings.

Things went pretty well for you during your time in Eugene. Were you taking advantage of something you were seeing?

Jeremy Hefner: A team like Everett swings at a lot of off-speed stuff and if you have a decent off-speed pitch and can spot your fastball you can have success.

With the metal bats and a lot of guys coming from school they are stating to get used to wood bats so I was definitely taking advantage of them learning. Pitching stays the same, no matter what level, but batters have to get used to the wood bats and I was definitely taking advantage of that.

Whgt was it like working with pitching coach Tom Bradley and how much have you learned since you joined the system?

Jeremy Hefner: A lot. I had a great coach over at Oral Roberts but TB was really good for me. Even the first day when I threw my first pen he pointed out something I had never heard before on my changeup. That has been key.

And same with Rid (manager Greg Riddoch). Rid was around me throwing pens. Both coaches were really good in helping me out.

How much information do you take and how much do you throw away?

Jeremy Hefner: I take it all. And whatever works I keep and whatever doesn't work I throw away. Those guys have been around for a long time so you have to listen to them. That is the only way you are going to move up – if you listen to them – because they have been through it and played in the big leagues. Take it and go with it.

Was watching video a big part of your routine at Oral Roberts?

Jeremy Hefner: Definitely in the fall but not so much in the springtime. My mechanics weren't exactly right so we used the video and that got me going more towards the plate and helped my velocity out a little bit.

How does the video change your approach to taking what coaches are telling you?

Jeremy Hefner: You have guys running around with the video cameras now and it is key. Coaches can talk all they want but when they show you what you are doing wrong then it clicks a lot faster I think.

When you have a lot of success, you don't think you are doing anything wrong. Then you go look at the tape and you find out you are flying open a little bit on your fastballs. It humbles you a little bit and makes you better at the same time.


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