Inman wants to pitch "Lights out"

Last year in San Antonio, as a San Diego Padres prospect, was an aberration for Will Inman. He struggled with the mental aspect of the game and it affected his pitching. This year, with a clear head, he is poised for a return to the dominance he saw in the Milwaukee system.

Talk to us about the end of last season in San Antonio. It seemed that the velocity was a little bit down and I got the impression that this wasn't really who you are – and keep in mind I had never seen you pitch while you were with Milwaukee.

Will Inman: Last season was a ride. I had a great first half, getting moved up with Milwaukee, got shook up a few times – pretty bad – and then I started figuring some things out and getting comfortable, getting three good starts in a row at Double-A. Then the trade comes and flying out...

I am not trying to make excuses – it was a lot of traveling, a lot of worrying, a lot of stuff going on in my head. Why were you traded? Why are you moving? Didn't see it coming. What do they expect? What are they thinking?

It is like going to high school all over again every time you go to a new team. Even though I knew the guys in Milwaukee in Huntsville, you want to impress. You want to be that guy again. It is like going to school again for the first time. A lot of that can shake you up.

Then towards the end of the year, with all of that going on, the workouts got weird because I couldn't work out like I wanted to after I got sick in the middle of the year with mono, I got shook up a little bit. I just had a lot of stuff going on.

I am really happy with the way I handled it. I pitched a full season, stayed healthy. As far as the year went, I started getting tired at the end and then a lot of confidence issues that came around. I am working that out this year.

What did a full Spring Training mean for you?

Will Inman: It meant a lot. You get to meet everybody. A lot of great guys – lights out. As far as a group of guys – it is so laid back, everyone is confrontable. Really nice guys. I think it is priceless. You learn about people. You learn what they expect from you, and it meant a whole lot.

Does it also affect your confidence just being around everyone?

Will Inman: Oh yea. The biggest thing with that – when you go from team to team with pitching coaches. Our pitching coach can't really coach you if he has never seen you at all. Now, I think they have a full grasp of what I need. They have seen me pitching fully healthy, fully strong, when I throw lights out pitches, when I throw good pens. They see what I am doing so when I go off and I am up or down or my curveball isn't going through – they know the adjustments and they know how to verbally say it to me so I will understand it.

With the relationships – it is all about building them and knowing what it takes to make it click for him.

Last year you had Glenn Abbott and when I spoke with him after the year he noted that something wasn't right but he wasn't quite sure what it was.

Will Inman: Exactly. There was just a lot of stuff going on last year. People who followed it – my last five outings I would give up three in the first inning and then not give up any more and punch out 10. I could give up back-to-back-to-back-to-back hits and then strike out the side. It was a lot of feeing going on and a lot of stuff going on in my head.

Abby tried so hard. We talked so much, but it was tough for him. It was tough for him when he never saw me pitch when I was really lights out and full of confidence. It was tough for him to know what related well to get me going. I think relationships – and I talked to him in spring and told him how I felt – just builds up. It meant a whole lot to go to Spring Training.

You have a none-traditional delivery. Some would go so far as to say it was violent. Someone sees that the first time and says it is all wrong.

Will Inman: I do have a mix up on my delivery, yes. Some would call it violent.

It is weird. Guys will watch me throw – I wouldn't say it was violent. It is a little unorthodox with the arm throwing everywhere. I picked it up along the way and got some deception out of my windup. It gets things going.

I don't really throw 95. When I am throwing 88-90, I have to get something to sneak it by there. I feel that as far as strikeout numbers – that is a huge part of me, being deceptive, because, obviously, I don't throw 98. I don't have anything lights out. I try to locate with everything I have and be a little deceptive.

What were you thinking last year when the ball is coming in at 83-85 and you are thinking, ‘I know I have more than that'?

Will Inman: Tired, mixed up, didn't know what was going on.

Saying that – how did the off-season change for you knowing you have another full year ahead?

Will Inman: Last year was my second full season. I don't think the off-season has as much to do with it as your habits during the season. I think eating a little healthier, getting a lot more sleep than you ever thought you needed. Sometimes you think you can run on six or seven hours of sleep when, you know what, 10 or 12, if you can sneak it in there, isn't bad. Sneak that nap in and sneak going to sleep at 9 o'clock on the day off instead of 11 can help you through some stuff.

Mentally is the biggest thing. Mentally at 20. I am not trying to sound like an old salty vet, but last year taught me a lot about the mental stuff. You get beat up a little bit and you have to go out there again.

We talk about the miles per hour on the fastball, and I think it was almost a confidence thing mentally of trying to place it, trying to be way too fine, instead of throwing to the mitt, giving it all you got. I am not a max-effort but am a pretty strong effort guy on the mound and when I try and place the ball that drastically throws my miles per hour off, drastically throws my deception off, and mixes it up too much.

Mentally, it is all about confidence out there. You have to know you are better than anyone else in the place.

What makes for a successful season for Will Inman in 2008?

Will Inman: I feel like anybody, when they start in Double-A or above, a successful season is when you get to the big leagues and helping your team out in the big leagues. I don't see how anybody could say a successful year is staying in the league the whole year – even if you have a lights out year. I think a successful season is making the team that puts you in the big leagues – your mentality, your composure, making them say, ‘He is ready. We have to get him out of there.' That is a successful season.

Talk about this story on our subscriber-only message boards

MadFriars Top Stories