Padres Prospect Interview: Kyle Heyne

Kyle Heyne is a stranger to scouting reports. With a bulldog mentality, he has always believed his strengths will beat anybody. It has worked thus far, but he is also eager to make some adjustments by learning more about the hitters he faces.

Kyle, talk to me about the professional experience and what it's been like so far for you.

Kyle Heyne: It's kind of like what I was hoping it would be. It's nice, laid back, meet a lot of good guys. It's been fun; a lot of hard work. The toughest thing right now so far is getting used to day in and day out, every day. I can feel it on my body a little bit compared to school where you get a day off every six days, seven days. It's fun; it's a lot easier to come out to the park when you're getting paid. It was something I've always wanted to do. It was my goal as a little kid to play professional baseball. Now that I'm here, you've got to enjoy it. It's fun and I'd like to do it for as long as I can.

How have you matured as a baseball player and a pitcher over the last four years; since you started going to college to now?

Kyle Heyne: Basically, just learning how to pitch; knowing what hitters are looking for in certain situations, or how to pitch to get a ground ball when their guy's on base to get a double play. That's the big thing; then, just learning from other guys, like (pitching coach Dave) Rajsich, a guy that has played in the big leagues. Listening to him talk and gaining some knowledge from him just on simple things like how to warm up in the bullpen before you go into pitch; juts little things like that helps out a lot. That's something you can take with it and try to roll with it and do what ever you can with it.

You've got an interesting arm angle. How does that help you? Is there any time that it hurts you, maybe against those left-handers?

Kyle Heyne: Yeah, it's great because I've got a lot of movement on it. I've been blessed to spot up fairly well, and that's what gets me away with things is my movement and my location because I don't throw hard. Like you said, with lefties, my ball runs into their bat away from them like that.

I ended up having to develop a changeup. I got that over the last two years at school. I ended up developing one that finally worked for me. That helped out a lot. Being able to throw my breaking ball to lefties too is something to throw in there. That's helped out a lot; it's fun. I'm lucky to be doing it. I haven't been doing it that long.

Riddoch has instituted journals, kind of getting everyone writing down thoughts. Is that something new to you?

Kyle Heyne: Yeah, really new to me, it's tough. I still am kind of that guy that I don't even realize who's up to bat. I just realize righty, lefty. I feel that if I could pitch to my strengths and look at my ball, then I'm going to win. That's just my attitude, and it was always that way at school. I hardly ever looked at scouting reports because I'm a totally different pitcher than everybody else with my arm angle. I know I'm going to have to, especially the further on I move through the organization, I'm going to have to start realizing what this guy does, how he's done against me, what I do well against him, or whatever. That's going to be one of the bigger learning points for me, going through the organization, because I've never really paid much attention to that, but I'm going to have to, facing better hitters.

Well, it's yes and no. It's almost a catch twenty two. Now you're thinking on the mound whereas before, your mentality has been that "I just take it, I know what my strengths are, I'm going to pitch my game," where you almost might think too much.

Kyle Heyne: Yeah, I never thought.

You never thought!

Kyle Heyne: I'm not saying I'm stupid, because I'm not. I'm just saying that I was always that guy. I had a tough bulldog attitude mentality to where I'm going to go up there, me, you, let's go. I'm going to try to make my best pitches and if you hit it, great. If I make a bad pitch and you hit it, well, my fault. I always considered myself to be an intense guy when I'm up there. That's what I've always carried through. So far it has worked. We'll see how far it gets me until I have to make some adjustments.

Did you always throw with a sidearm style?

Kyle Heyne: No. In high school, back in my sophomore and junior years in high school, we had a pitching coach that went to Ball State. He had all the different arm angles. He was submarine, side arm and over the top. I used to throw over the top and he told me ‘hey, why don't you mix in a sidearm here and there.' So, I threw a slider and a fastball from down there. It was alright and I used it every once in a while, not that often.

Then I went to Ball State and we didn't have a pitching coach probably my first 3-4 weeks there because our coach had to resign for family reasons. Our assistant, I was mixing that in in the bullpen, and he told me ‘aw, get rid of that sidearm stuff.' I got rid of that, well, then later on in the year I got red shirted that year. Our pitching coach came in with about a month left of the school year before I would leave with classes being done.

He said, ‘hey, why don't you try dropping down sidearm for me.' I go, ‘really?' He goes ‘yeah.'

So, I did it and he liked it. He was a sidearm lefty guy when he played. He liked it and he goes, ‘you know what Kyle, I think you, if you want to help this program out and have a chance to be something in the program, I think this is something you should want to work on.'

I said, ‘yeah, I want to do anything I could to help out the team.' The rest is history from there. I've told people I'm lucky to be where I'm at. If I didn't do that, make that adjustment, make that switch, I might not have ever made it through college ball. I'm blessed and lucky in that situation.

So, what about Dean Anna? You played with him for a while there at Ball State What do you have on Dean? What kind of dirt can you give us?

Kyle Heyne: I can give you a lot of things, man. He's something different. He's your stereotypical Chicago boy, that's for sure. He works hard; he works hard. He loves the game. That's the number one thing that runs his life. He's baseball through and through. He doesn't really care too much about anything else. It's gotten him here so far and hopefully he keeps on working. He can get some hits going on. He's kind of struggling at the plate. That happens, it's part of the game.

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