Padres Prospect Interview: Nick Schumacher

Nick Schumacher has a power fastball and room to grow after missing a year due to surgery. Taken by the San Diego Padres in the 28th-round, the right-hander is hoping to continue the upward trend from a successful 2008 season with Wayne State College.

It had to be a pretty good feeling getting drafted by the San Diego Padres.

Nick Schumacher: It was a pretty good feeling as soon as I found out. I worked hard to get to this next step and will have to work harder to get to the next step.

We were hanging out watching and I sat down and saw my name and was like, ‘What?' Twenty minutes later they gave me a call. It is kind of strange. I figured the call would come before but I will take it.

Talk a little bit about your repertoire of pitches and how fast you throw.

Nick Schumacher: I throw a fastball, curveball and a changeup. I topped out at 94-95 this year but pitch around 90-92. I have a pretty hard slider, which is my go-to pitch and comes in around 80-82. My changeup is all right. It needs to be perfected.

Do you feel like you attack right-handed hitters and left-handed hitters differently?

Nick Schumacher: Yes, I tend to come inside with a cutter/slider to lefties more than to righties and stay away from the righties more with that. With my fastball, I like to throw it on the right side of the plate – so in to righties and away from lefties.

You are going into professional baseball, is there some sort of expectation you are putting on yourself as you head into the professional ranks?

Nick Schumacher: Definitely – to make myself better and advance as fast as I can and hopefully someday get up to the major league level.

What is it about the game of baseball you love so much?

Nick Schumacher: It is fun. You can't beat it – playing baseball for a job. You get to go out everyday and learn something new and there is always a different way you can better yourself. You can never be perfect so it is a constant challenge.

After pitching about 90 innings this year, do you feel tired and are you ready for short-season to continue pitching?

Nick Schumacher: I am definitely ready. I have been working out for a week and am getting ready to take that next step. I threw a lot more pitches than I had in the past and my arm feels great. Hopefully, I can continue that.

Are you a pitch contact guy? I know you struck out more guys than innings pitched but that doesn't mean it is what you are after.

Nick Schumacher: Kind of. I would like to pitch to contact but it seems like when I was in the zone, they were not putting the ball in play so my strikeouts were high this year.

Besides the changeup, do you feel there is something in your game that needs to see improvement?

Nick Schumacher: I need to get better on my control to both sides of the plate. I can throw inside to righties pretty well but when I go outside to them – that is something I really need to work on this year.

If I remember correctly, you suffered some sort of injury in 2006 – what was the rehab process like coming back from that?

Nick Schumacher: I got hurt in March and I had surgery in May of '06 with Dr. Andrews in Birmingham. It took about nine months for me to comeback and I pitched about 20 innings. This year, I was back to full strength.

You mentioned pitching more innings that you had in the past. Do you consider yourself to be a little bit raw because you missed a year?

Nick Schumacher: I don't know, maybe a little bit.

What is your best moment in baseball thus far?

Nick Schumacher: Probably throwing a complete game against Winona State. I threw 144 pitches and with my last pitch I struck the kid out looking with the bases loaded. I actually got out of a bases loaded, nobody out jam with a one-run lead. That was pretty exciting.

I could tell you my worst – it happened in my last game. I pitched against Central Missouri and was a little wild – all over the place. I didn't pitch very well and took the loss.

What are you looking forward to as you head into professional baseball?

Nick Schumacher: I am looking forward to rookie ball and getting through that and doing my best and go from there.

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