Webber discusses Storm prospects

Lake Elsinore Storm pitching coach Steve Webber saw some of the best – and perhaps some of the worst – this season. Matt Buschmann, Manny Ayala and Wade LeBlanc highlight those who came through the California League – and several other players didn't develop as planned.

Brent Carter was injured last year and struggled through the 2007 season – what has he done to improve his game and get back to where he was?

Steve Webber: He is a tool pitcher with good command of his fastball. He has an average to above average changeup. And he came up with a cutter that will help him against right-handers and left-handers.

Richie Daigle converted to being a starter after having success out of the pen. What was the reasoning for the move?

Steve Webber: He is a pitcher that opened a lot of eyes in the organization. He has a good, hard, sinking fastball. His slider has developed and his changeup came along.

He is a hard-nosed guy – a good worker. He is consistent and even-keeled. All those things together blend to allow us to believe he could be a starter.

Matt Buschmann had a great year. What does he need to make it to Double-A and see success?

Steve Webber: He is an experienced pitcher. He had success at this level. We are hoping he can refine some things – develop his changeup more and use it more. I think that is what he needs to do to get to the next level.

Manny Ayala has a fantastic changeup – what can be the difference for him moving forward?

Steve Webber: His changeup covers up a lot of mistakes. It is so deceptive. That works at this level but might not at the next level.

Command of the fastball, being able to throw the ball down in the zone, and continuing to develop his slider, which he has done. It has gotten a lot better.

Is that a product of staying on top and following through with his delivery?

Steve Webber: In a way. It is developing the right downward spin – you have a tendency to work around it rather than through it. That doesn't lend to allowing the ball to break down in the zone. He improved and it was obvious he got a lot better.

What did you see out of Wade LeBlanc this season?

Steve Webber: He has good command – he needs to use more of the plate instead of nibbling at the corners. His fastball is good enough; he just needs to locate it down.

His changeup is outstanding. Command of the fastball – trust a little more and use a little more of the plate.

Your bullpen was a sore spot for most of the season. What did you expect coming into the year?

Steve Webber: I didn't know what to expect. I thought we could get the job done.


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