Padres Prospect Interview: Cory Luebke

After being sent down to Fort Wayne, San Diego Padres prospect Cory Luebke rebounded nicely. With changes to his mechanics, he is hoping the learning experience from 2008 will serve him well in the future.

You started out in Lake Elsinore and ended up in Fort Wayne. Playing in the Midwest League was a positive for you. You went out to instructs – what were you looking to do?

Cory Luebke: I think I found out a lot about myself at around the All-Star break and there were some things I needed to clean up in my mechanics that would help me keep the ball down better.

We did that over the All-Star break and I went down to Fort Wayne and went with it. It is doing better now. My bottom half – I was getting a better plane on the ball.

When I saw you in spring and early in the year in Lake Elsinore, it seemed that you were getting down to the floor before throwing the ball.

Cory Luebke: Staying upright was a lot of it. I am using my legs a lot more now to get more on the ball. It has pushed me up more and kept me taller to get a better plane on the ball to get ground balls and get strikeouts.

How difficult is it to get through your brain when there is a reaction in the back of your head to throw harder or do this or do that when things should really be kept simple?

Cory Luebke: That was my mentality when I was younger and in school – go hard and leave it all out there. That is one thing (Mike Couchee) Couch talked to me about, ‘sometimes doing less is doing more.'

I was getting ahead of guys in Lake Elsinore but I was trying to do more when I did get ahead. I was letting guys back in counts. It is a matter of me keeping my delivery consistent and sticking with it.

You are a year out of college ball – do you chalk up the last year as a learning experience?

Cory Luebke: Yes, it is one of those things – sometimes things get worse before they get better. I went through some growing pains. I felt good since July and want to keep it going through next year.

How have the pitches come along? The changeup was a big thing you wanted to perfect this season.

Cory Luebke: The changeup is night and day compared to last year. I wasn't even using it. This year, I might have had times where I used it too much.

That is one thing that has really helped me against righties – pitching in to righties and using the changeup away. I learned a lot from watching Nathan Culp this year. He is smart – hard in and soft away. I took a lot away from that. I got to watch him throw a lot of innings. Seeing a guy like that – you learn.

Throwing inside is one of those things that seems to come later in a pitcher's learning process. How has that changed for you and do you find yourself doing it with confidence?

Cory Luebke: With the development of my changeup, I have something to counter that inside fastball. I can throw soft away and hard in. It makes a hitter have to cover a lot of the plate and messes with their timing. It is a matter of pounding that into my brain and realizing ground balls are better than strikeouts.

How has the progression been with spotting the fastball?

Cory Luebke: Sometimes I try to put the fastball on the inside black rather than middle-in. At instructs, I was able to focus on that better and do some things I might not normally do in a game. We were there to learn and I took a lot away from the experience.

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