Randy Ready: I think that when we start talking about these young pitchers we're going to be talking about how experienced hitters and former - experienced hitters with major league experience – are setting pitchers up to get certain pitches and certain counts in certain situations, educated guesses. And those guys were doing some damage when they got those pitches. And that's the difference between locating and hitting your spots where the guys are trying to sit on what you're trying to throw anyways. So, that's probably the biggest difference maker or separator and that's why we had the growing pains with a couple of those guys. Yet, we've still been making progress, and Josh pitched the big leagues and did well.
Wade LeBlanc made some adjustments through the year as hitters sat on his changeup. What was the Triple-A experience like for him?
Randy Ready: Absolutely, but, here we go. Location, location, location. We've got to be able to locate a better fastball. That sets up all our secondary stuff. That's when you see Wade pitches better games, good command of his fastball, sets up all of his changeups and his curveball. That's when he has success. If he's not locating his fastball, that's when he falls behind and is getting in trouble. And all of a sudden they start looking, picking something up and are a little bit more patient with him and that's when thing start to heat up.
Edwin Moreno closed the door early but struggled late in the year. What changed?
Randy Ready: Well, I think just sometimes the confidence gets so fragile. And I think his confidence was rattled he went through that little spell, trying to get over that hurdle a little bit and I don't think he really ever recovered from that. But, you know, his stuff's fresh, stuff's crisp, great changeup, great splitter. Just got to command down in the zone, and I think that was his biggest problem there that last month.
Cesar Ramos had his ups and downs this year and the claims have always been that he has the stuff but needs to use it better. How can he make that happen?
Randy Ready: Talking about Cesar this year, runners in scoring position with two outs and runners on base. Really, batting averages were extremely high against him and that was something that was discussed and something that he's going to have to work on. But his stuff is still good; he's going to have to come up with something that's a little bit more deceiving and maybe a wipe-out pitch with that slider, still a little inconsistent in the changeup too. I mean, he's continuing to make progress, but he's going to have to take that last hurdle in order to be a regular performer for an opportunity to perform at the major league level.
Joe Thatcher was solid for you in relief – what makes him so tough on righties?
Randy Ready: Man, that cutter in, it's live, with that windup and that delivery coming across his body it really gets in there, it broke a lot of bats down there in Portland. Like I said, it doesn't matter left or right. Here's a lefty that sometimes, you know, the right-handers who were coming up, I was never in fear that Joe wasn't going to get these right-handers out that were coming up, that's why I left him out there. Most of the time, he had a lot of success for us.
Dirk Hayhurst is like old reliable and then gets his chance in the majors and is claimed by Toronto. What has been the difference for him?
Randy Ready: This year he really put himself on the map with his control of every pitch: all four pitches. And he was dynamite in Portland this summer; came up to San Diego. Talking to (Josh) Bard and even probably talking to Dirk, I would say just his fastball command kind of left him a little bit. The secondary stuff is still there, throwing it for strikes, throwing it out of the zone for chases, but the fastball command wasn't quite there when he was called up. Might have been a little bit tired, but it was a great opportunity for him.
Now what about for you? You went up to the majors, you're getting to learn a little bit of the ropes from a guy like Bud Black. How much fun are you having and what are you taking away?
Randy Ready: Well, number one, I was thankful for the opportunity. And, to be around these guys – I'm pretty comfortable at this level, I mean, been here, done it. So I'm not in any awe, this is not awe-inspiring for me.
I think it's fun to watch all the players that we've promoted from Portland this summer to see how they're performing up here and making progress, to be around them and, it's a lot of fun. Just to be seeing how we prepare - the organization prepares here at this level for games as far as going over hitters, pitching, a little bit more in detail than what we can do in Portland because they have so much more access to the information. But yeah, I'm enjoying myself. No game reports, this is nice! Like I said, I get to enjoy it. I have a lot of respect for a lot of people in this game at this level, so it's nice to see a lot of familiar faces.
I can't say enough good things about Bud and his staff. They were exceptional. I truly am thankful to them for allowing me the opportunity to learn.
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