Patrick on AZL Padres pitching prospects

Bronswell Patrick led a young group of hurlers for the San Diego Padres rookie league affiliate, including Brad Brach, Junior Veras, Chris Wilkes, Gary Poynter, Andrew Albers and Colin Lynch.

Brad Brach moved into the closer's role and seemed to go right after hitters.

Bronswell Patrick: Brad is kind of like (Eric) Gonzalez. Another college kid, he's real aggressive around the strike zone. Once again, he didn't care who was up there hitting, didn't matter if it was Buster Posey or whoever, these guys came right at him, and it showed. He's gotten bitten trying to hit the corners, they got in a situation they knew they had to throw strikes and they came out at the hitters, and once again Brad is kind of like Gonzalez.

He used his slider, he used his changeup. Those guys threw those pitches for strikes, and I think that's what made them successful down here in rookie ball they were able to throw strikes. They were able to throw when they were behind in the count and it made them have some success down here in rookie ball, just being aggressive with the fastball and then using their off-speed pitches.

Junior Veras had some struggles this year and was thrown into different roles than he was used to after closing last year in the DSL. Can he be someone to watch?

Bronswell Patrick: Junior struggled. As far as what I saw from him, he kind of got down on himself. I talked to him, I kept talking to him trying to reiterate that, ‘Hey, you have a good arm, just be positive.' I think as time goes, he'll develop into a decent pitcher. I'm not sure at what level. He was a fastball/changeup guy, I just think he needs a third pitch to be a little more successful at any level.

Chris Wilkes was outstanding this year when you consider he is coming off his senior year in high school. He didn't walk many and his ground ball ratio was amazing. How did he get it done?

Bronswell Patrick: Chris got it down by just challenging hitters. Chris picked up a slider and he started using the slider, because like you said in high school, he was mainly fastball/changeup type guy. He picked up that slider and started using that slider. Chris, to me, is just like (Stiven) Osuna: those guys can hit their spots, fastball down and away, pitch inside to keep the hitters from diving out over the plate, and as well as these other pitchers that I mentioned, I was so impressed with these guys with the way they were able to throw the changeup when they were behind on the count.

Chris – I know early in the season we started him out as a reliever and then we moved him into the rotation. He just took off because he was able to go out, hit his spots, change speeds, he picked up that slider, and kept that slider down and away from right-handed hitters after throwing a good fastball inside and those hitters were rolling over on it. Like I said, Chris got a ton of ground balls, by throwing that good slider down and away and using his sinker when he had to. Those guys were just trying to lift it and they couldn't lift it. They were rolling over on it and it showed in the numbers he put up down here in rookie ball.

What did you see out of Gary Poynter during the short time you had him?

Bronswell Patrick: I like Gary. Gary had a good arm. Just needs to fine-tune his mechanics a little bit. He's a little bit violent with his mechanics. He came out to Instructional League so he was be able to fine tune that a little bit. Gary, he's got a good arm, if he just fine-tunes his mechanics a little bit he's going to be something special as well.

Andrew Albers came in after missing time due to injury. What impressions did he make?

Bronswell Patrick: Andrew could be real good. He's another college guy, University of Kentucky, it really showed down in rookie ball, kind of with those guys coming out of college. He had pitched in the Regionals. Drew was the same way as Gonzalez. He went after hitters, he's got a great changeup and that kept hitters off his fastball. He's not overpowering, which is okay, but if he can develop his other stuff like his slider, or curveball, he was a little inconsistent with that here at the end, but once all that falls into place for him, and he can get in a full season underneath his belt, I think Drew's going to be a good little pitcher.

Was there anyone else on the squad who impressed you, despite what the numbers may have said?

Bronswell Patrick: I like Colin Lynch. I know his ERA was pretty high when we had him in the closer role at the beginning. I think Lynch lost a little bit of confidence down here, but he's got good stuff, he's got a pretty decent slider. I think for me, he just needs to develop and be able to throw his changeup a little bit more consistent than what he showed down here and just kind of fine tune his mechanics, as well. I think he'll be okay as far as – I'm not saying upper-level pitcher – but he can have some success in the minor leagues if he just fine tunes some of his mechanics and be a little bit more consistent with his changeup.

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