September Call-Ups: Josh Geer

Josh Geer has made a career of making minor league pundits look stupid. He appears on the surface like many other college pitchers, good control, good feel for pitching but no real plus pitch.

The big difference is that at the end of every level someone like me usually writes that it's tough to see him having the same success at the next level. But he does, again and again and again.

In short, to use a cliché, Josh wins games.

Make no mistake, Geer does not profile as a bona fide #1 or #2 starter, but he does appear to be someone that can be a major league starter on a consistent basis. He consistently throws his sinker to both sides of the plate, has a good changeup and an improving slider.

After an up and down season in Portland, Geer made the most of his time in San Diego, going 2-1 in five starts with a 2.67 ERA. Its unclear what the status of his shoulder is going into next season. If he is healthy, he should be in the San Diego rotation.

This year you didn't put up as big stats as you did last year in the Texas League but were still one of the leaders in innings pitched in the PCL. What was the biggest difference that you saw from last year to this year?

Josh Geer: The ballparks are a little different where a lot of balls fly out of the yard as compared to the Texas League, which is a good pitchers league. There are some better hitters in Triple-A, you have more guys that have been up and down for a long time, but other than that, it's pretty close to the Texas League. The main thing is to keep guys off-balance, which is the same anywhere.

This is pretty much what you have done since you became a pro.

Josh Geer: You have too, up and down, in and out; soft and hard, changing eye level. It was pretty close to the same.

Obviously, it must have helped you, but you have to be pretty happy with what you did in San Diego, which is what counts. Even though the numbers aren't there as they were last year, you must have grown as a pitcher?

Josh Geer: I have, it's a big learning experience. This year I've learned to read hitter's swings even more, to see how they are diving over the plate or laying off trying to go the other way. It's all about reading the information that you are given and making adjustments. It's all about learning what they are trying to do, and here at this level, we have video, hot zones and cold zones.

Whenever I talked to any of your catchers, they have always spoken about how much you pay attention to the game when you are on the bench. Your ideal scenario was to pitch the third game after seeing everyone's swings for the first two. In the Texas League, I can imagine you weren't breaking down too much video so this level must really play into what you like to do for preparation?

Josh Geer: It helps me a lot. I can go back and see how pitchers similar to me who throw sinkers, off-speed and changeups – how they did against this lineup. I can see how these guys reacted and what I can do. Sometimes even during a game you are making adjustments based on what they are doing towards you.

Although you don't throw in the nineties, with you it always seems to be much more about varying locations, eye level and speeds. Is that what you tend to worry about more than velocity?

Josh Geer: With me, it's much more about movement because anyone can hit a ball going straight. It's all about varying speeds, different locations with that speed, different movement, just back and forth, keep the guy off balance.

So when you are out on the mound you might throw one full speed pitch inside that is a little off of the plate, then the next pitch may be three-quarters off of the plate, that is part of your thought process?

Josh Geer: Definitely. If you throw the two-seamer, the two-seamer will be moving into the righty and then on the next pitch you can even throw a four-seam that will rise up in his hands. Anywhere around the zone that you can go you have to utilize.

It seems like after following your career, a big turning point was after you struggled in a game in Frisco where you got hit really hard and you decided that you were going to throw inside more.

Josh Geer: It opened my eyes and made me see that it gets guys off-balance and that is what I need to do. At Triple-A and San Diego, you are still learning, up and in, movement always looking for different ways to be successful.

Once you told me that about half the time when you throw inside you aren't trying for strikes, but mainly to get the feet moving and not allow them to lock in at one spot.

Josh Geer: Yeah, it's a purpose pitch; it's all about taking the batter out of the comfort zone.

Obviously you want to stay up here, what will you work on more in the off-season?

Josh Geer: Maybe getting a little stronger and hopefully picking up a little velocity. The harder I can throw my two-seamer the more difficult it will be to hit it. Focus more on my slider; this was really my first year to throw it. I was talking with Balsley [Darren Balsley, the Padres pitching coach] and we were working on some grips, and hopefully I can become a little sharper with it. The slider will compliment my two-seamer because it will be going the other way, which will give me another look.

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