Emeralds pitching coach Dave Rajsich explained the move as a way to allow Bagley more time to hone his pitches.
"He needs more than one or two innings a night to develop mechanically," Rajsich said. "He had a problem with recoiling; his head was coming off-line. He's working on finishing his pitches and getting the ball out naturally instead of buggy-whipping it."
One pitch getting extra attention is his changeup.
Bagley harnessed a powerful fastball/slider combination to garner 11 saves and four wins for the Patriots in 2008, striking out 56 batters in 38 innings of work. The Padres selected Bagley in the 11th-round of the 2008 draft. Success with his power pitches, though, didn't allow Bagley time to develop the change.
"He had a closer's mentality, which is ‘don't get beat with your third best pitch,'" Rajsich said. "As a starter, he'll be able to do much more, and he's taking to it pretty quickly. His pitch count will be higher, but that's nothing a fresh arm shouldn't be able to handle."
\ Bagley's 38 innings coming into short-season ball make him one of the freshest arms on the Emeralds' staff, and at 6–foot-8 and 250-pounds, he has the physical makeup of a dangerous power pitcher.
"He's got the size and power," Rajsich said. "He's big, strong, durable, with a fresh arm. I'm looking forward to seeing what he can do."
For his part, the 22-year-old is relishing his new role.
"Starting is a great new opportunity for me," Bagley said. "It should work out great. My goal is to make it to the big leagues, and the best way to do that is to keep getting outs, changing speeds and throwing strikes."
So far, Bagley has done just that for this year's Emeralds, posting a 1.83 ERA over 19 innings and striking out 27 batters. Developing command with the changeup should bolster the potency of an already dangerous hurler.
"It's a feel pitch," Bagley said. "I was more of a power pitcher in college, but the changeup is all about feel. But I don't see any problems with it so far. I'm just having fun and loving my life."
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