Rajsich sees Padres top end talent

Dave Rajsich pulled double duty in 2007, working as the pitching coach for the Eugene Emeralds after doing the same for the AZL Padres. Working with the likes of Mat Latos and Jeremy McBryde left an impression, as did working with Robert Woodard. He also had favorable impressions of catcher Ali Solis, Clint Naylor and Emmanuel Quiles.

Mat Latos came in with a lot of hype and was better than his numbers. What impressed you about the young man?

Dave Rajsich: The first batter that he faced, strike one, strike two, threw one up and in can came back strike three and I went, ‘I like this kid.'

He did not mess around. He went bang, right after them.

He throws a very high three-quarters, almost seven-eights with a very good downward plane. He pounds the knees. He was very impressive. The fastball is 94-95. That will open your eyes.

He has a little personality to him – I kind of like. He is out there a little bit but that is ok. He is a thoroughbred that you don't have to hold back. There are others that you need a cattle prod to get them to go. He is high energy and excited to watch.

He has a slider, two changeups and an idea of what he is doing on the mound. You talk to him about pitching – and you might talk to him about other things in life and say, ‘Whoa', but you talk to him about pitching and the chart and way he is pitching – he has a plan. That is very impressive – at 19.

Jeremy McBryde has a quality arm but scuffled through the year. What adjustments were you making with him?

Dave Rajsich: Most of these college pitchers – I think he got beat up. He has a very good arm, 92 to 94 with a very heavy sink to it. A very heavy ball. He throws two sliders.

I think his sequences – he didn't throw many changeups – and I think the sequences in college are different when you get to pro ball. He has to learn to use the sequences.

I like his stuff. He just got beat up. He got tired at the end as well. If you look at all of them – they all got a little tired – Kluber, Hefner.

I think you have to be excited with his arm. They are all big-bodied and I think they got worn out because they were so good in college that they got abused. They are still healthy and that is a good thing. You look at 150 to 160 innings on some of these guys between college and what we put them through – they are tired.

Robert Woodard was a go-to guy for Eugene. It seemed his fastball jumped out at people and of course his funky delivery where he is kicking out like a mule.

Dave Rajsich: 'Wait till you see Woody. He is up at Triple-A.'

‘I am looking forward to this.'

He comes back and I am like, ‘What the &($#? Let me look at this.'

He is not afraid and will take the ball and go after them.

Because he steps back so far and creates so much energy that he decelerates when he should be accelerating. Being so fast and jersey, getting everything out there, and then he slows everything down. He is very deceptive and comes right after you. He got up a little bit and got beat up a little but his makeup – you sit and talk to him, this kid is a gamer.

He wants the ball. ‘I will take the ball.'

‘No, no. You are going to take the day off.'

You have to love that kind of kid.

Talk about the game of catcher Ali Solis. I admit I was not impressed when I saw him in Spring but he turned things around and was much better when I saw him later in the season. It seemed he took to heart calling a better game and throwing runners out.

Dave Rajsich: All of the above. He still tries to do too much instead of letting it happen. He is more than quick enough. He throws men out at second from his knees almost better than when he moves his feet. It is almost a (Benito) Santiago type of thing. You tell him not to do it but when he does you say, ‘Holy. He can do it.'

I am just the pitching coach here. He has to improve his game-calling and he understands it. We stressed to him that you don't want to throw it to the bottom of the order to get outs because the bottom of the order can't hit a fastball.

He catches a very Mexican style game, which means a lot of breaking balls and off-speed. We are trying to get him to use the fastball to finish more. You can show those pitches but you can finish with the fastball. His sequence in calling a game is what he needs to work on.

He didn't tire out as much this year as he did last year. He got tired last year.

What about Clint Naylor. They called him a warrior in the past because he was in there a lot.

Dave Rajsich: This year again – we had two catchers because of injury, Solis and Naylor. It was hot down there this year. It was 110 or 115 a lot. They had more days over 110 – a record. These two kids never complained. They would catch the whole game.

Quiles got hurt – and I like that kid – they were forced to catch every other day. That is not an easy thing to do. You got all these sidelines and the rehabs and everything else. It was a lot different for Nails.

He called a good game and kept us in it. Because of our pitchers this year being so slow and deliberate to the plate, they didn't have much of a chance at throwing people out. They took a pounding that way. It wasn't a priority. We know why but it wasn't a priority.

What did you like about Emmanuel Quiles?

Dave Rajsich: Everything. He goes about his business. He has an idea. I like his makeup. He doesn't back down. This is where he needed to be. I like him. I think he is going to be a sleeper.


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