Padres Prospect Interview: Nick Vincent

EUGENE, OR: The San Diego Padres annual trek through Long Beach brought Nick Vincent aboard. Playing in Eugene and welcomed into the starting role, Vincent has learned the curveball has been a friend while he focuses on mastering the changeup.

What has the experience of joining the starting rotation been like for you, and what have you learned by being in the rotation versus a relief role?

Nick Vincent: I started at junior college so I have starting experience. I went to Long Beach and they ended up putting me in the pen because I was the only guy who could start or go to the pen.

It is a different mentality. You can't go out there and just throw as hard as you can looking for strikeouts. You have to go in there looking for ground balls and know your hitters more. It is more scouting reports and mental.

Is there a comfort level working in the windup versus the stretch for you? Sometimes the mechanics will change and you can fall in love with how you are working from a particular windup.

Nick Vincent: When I started, I liked to be in the windup and in the stretch I was iffy. After being a setup guy at Long Beach and working out of the stretch, I am comfortable both ways.

One of the things that is big in the Padres organization is the changeup. How comfortable are you with your changeup?

Nick Vincent: It is a pitch I have to work on. It is probably my third or fourth pitch. I have to get used to the grip. It has got good speed and movement but need to throw it for strikes.

You come from a solid program that has a long history of developing talented players and the Padres go to that well every year it seems. Is there an itch to carry that legacy on?

Nick Vincent: Not really. They taught me a lot at Long Beach. Their stress on working hard will definitely help get you through everything. Work hard and battle through it.

How much have you matured as a junior college pitcher until today?

Nick Vincent: Taking care of my body more. In college, you would go out and hang out more. Now, you have to take care of your body playing every day and sleep and get food in you.

I have a pretty good arm to go long distance. I have been throwing my curveball a little bit more as a starter. I have to keep attacking hitters.

Greg Riddoch has introduced the use of a journal to everyone on the squad. Is that something that is new or are you used to it from the past?

Nick Vincent: That is new, actually. At Long Beach, we had scouting reports already made. Now, everything is on your own, which is good. At the end of the game, you write down what you saw from the hitters and grab the charts from the games. You can write down what the hitters did and take that with you into latter years of professional baseball.

Is that something that can also be a detriment where you write something, look at it one day, and then take it to the mound with you. Now, you are thinking too much.

Nick Vincent: For me, I am not a big thinker. I go out and am ready to play baseball. If you do bad one game, you have to be able to come back. That is part of the game. If you keep it inside your head, that will take you out of the game. Go out there and give it all you got – a positive mentality.

What is your repertoire of pitches?

Nick Vincent: I throw a fastball – four-seam and two-seam, slider and changeup. Now that I am starting, I will throw a curveball as a strike pitch.

I will probably be a setup guy when I go back to Spring Training and will just throw the fastball, slider and changeup.

What is going to be the difference between pitching in short-season Eugene to moving up the organizational ladder?

Nick Vincent: Getting outs really. If you are getting outs, you will get moved up. I need to keep locating the fastball and the slider and keep working on the changeup.

Is there someone in the major leagues that you have always looked up to and respected for their work on and off the field?

Nick Vincent: Actually, Jake Peavy. It is kind of ironic now that I am with the Padres. Me and him have the same way we throw. Give it all you got. I love his intensity on the mound and that is how I am too.

He is an aggressive guy. When he misses by an inch, he is visibly upset because he demands perfection. Does that get to you as well where you have to calm yourself down?

Nick Vincent: At Long Beach, they had a psychologist that would talk to us and that is where I learned a lot of the mental side of the game. Ten percent of it is physical and 90 percent is mental. After a bad pitch, you have to step off the mound and just say, ‘whatever, one pitch at a time. I have to get after the next pitch.'

How has it been working with three new catchers and figuring each other out?

Nick Vincent: It is different. They would call pitches at Long Beach. We could shake – the difference is here we are calling our own game. I have confidence in whatever I throw. I will shake off but a catcher for me is a catcher – as long as they stop the ball. That is all I am really worried about.

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