Webber on Double-A Padres pitching prospects

Steve Webber was in charge of some of the top pitchers in the San Diego Padres farm system at Double-A, including Jon Ellis, Stephen Faris, Steve Garrison, Will Inman, Wilton Lopez, Edwin Moreno, and Mauro Zarate.

What does Jon Ellis need to do to improve on his numbers against left-handed hitters?

Steve Webber: I don't know what I think. It seemed to me, and I don't have the numbers, but what was his number against left-handers?

It was .370 against lefties, .208 against righties.

Steve Webber: Yeah, that's, that's a pretty big gap. I think he did get a little bit better as the year went along. He just needs to use all his weapons. I think he kind of gets away sometimes from his slider to left-handers, and I think that's an effective pitch for him.

Like I said, I think he got better as the year went along. What he has to do for me is throw his sinking fastball for strikes and he'll get a lot of rollover ground balls. He mixed in a changeup now and then, and he can add some depth to his slider to work against left-handers, so it's a combination of things from him, I think. You know, his sinker got better; he had better command of it. I don't have any numbers in front of me, but it seemed to me like as the year went along he got better against left-handed hitters.

You mentioned using the full arsenal and Stephen Faris falls into that category. Does he need to throw the changeup more to see continued success at the higher levels?

Steve Webber: Yeah, I think he struggled with it a little bit, you know, throwing it for a strike and that kind of scared him off it a little bit. As he used it more later in the year than it got to be better. I think it's an effective pitch once he gained confidence in it.

Steve Garrison faced just a handful of lefties all season as they went righty on him a lot. Yet, he gets righties out well too. Why was it that he faced so few left-handed hitters?

Steve Webber: Yeah. Everybody but Frisco was pretty much right-handed in our division. But, he has the pitches to get both right-handers and left-handers out. He had four pitches: curveball, slider change, fastball, two-seam, four-seam. So, he matches up well with both sides.

At just 21, Will Inman was in Double-A. How did he handle it mentally and did that affect some of his command with the high walk totals?

Steve Webber: I think with him it's just a matter of consistency with his pitches. There were times when he commanded his fastball a little bit better than others. I think there were times when he pitched away from contact some and pitched deeper in counts. But when he was more aggressive with his fastball then that made all his other pitches better. So I think it is his mindset of maybe not getting enough of the plate some of the time. And I think that's when he gets in trouble.

Is that nibbling for Inman, trying to hit the corners of the plate rather than continuing to attack the zone?

Steve Webber: Well, I don't know that he nibbles intentionally, but I think it ends up sometimes where he doesn't stay aggressive through the pitch, and it ends up maybe missing arm side or he pulls it out of the strike zone glove side. The batting average against him was fairly low. I think he just needs to learn to trust his fastball a little bit more and understand that he throws it low in the strike zone, and he's going to get a lot of weakly hit balls.

Wilton Lopez seemed to have some troubles with you – was part of that due to his sinker hitting too much of the plate?

Steve Webber: I think not necessarily too much of the plate. Sometimes his delivery would get real fast and he would open up and drop his arm and his sinker would flatten out, it wouldn't sink as much. But once he stayed over the rubber, slowed himself down and got on top of the ball, he was able to keep the ball down and maintain sink. But a lot of his trouble when he gets hit is he overthrows spins, spins off the ball and he leaves it up and his slider becomes flat.

Edwin Moreno had a strong season for you early in the year before his promotion. Why did he see success?

Steve Webber: Changeup. I thought he had an outstanding changeup. He's very aggressive. And his slider is pretty good, too, so he's got three weapons there that especially late in the game can work for him.

Mauro Zarate pitched effectively for you. He seemed to do really well against the first hitter of an inning, holding them to a .122 average. But it seemed the demeanor changed as he faced the second and third batter of an inning since they had much more success off him. Did that demeanor change?

Steve Webber: Well, I didn't see any difference with his demeanor. He's really aggressive, he's got an outstanding changeup, and as far as me explaining, ‘Well, he gets the first hitter out in the inning better than, you know, the hitters after that,' I can't tell you. But he did a great job for us, I mean, he took the ball every time that we asked him too, pitched on short rest a lot and just really helped our bullpen out a lot.

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