Padres Prospect Interview: Nick Vincent

The California League leader in appearances, Nick Vincent has gone 1-0 with two saves and a 3.60 ERA across 14 games. "Throwing strikes is the main thing," San Diego Padres prospect Vincent said.

You mentioned needing to work on the changeup – and specifically the grip of it. How has that progressed?

Nick Vincent: I am a lot happier now. Last year, I was dragging (my arm) to slow it down. This year, I am throwing it more like a fastball and listening to what they say. Throw it like a fastball – it actually works! Doing that and not having as tight a grip has naturally slowed it down.

You compared your intensity level to that of Jake Peavy. Does that ever get you into trouble when the adrenaline is going so strong and it makes your pitches suffer?

Nick Vincent: No. Over at Long Beach we had a sports psychology guy who taught us a lot about breathing and slowing the game down. Take a break every once and a while to slow the game down.

I get aggressive when I am out there if I am ahead in the count. My mentality is ‘this guy is not getting on base.' You have to be a positive talker or you are not going to get out of it.

At the end of the season, it seemed your elbow dropped and you weren't as clean mechanically. Could you feel that happening in those final three starts?

Nick Vincent: Yea, my arm got tired. I went from 33 innings in college to throwing 50-something here. I wasn't used to starting and my arm felt it throwing each day. I was throwing every other day in college and only an inning or two.

I am more prepared this year for whatever. I have been throwing more because you never know what the role will eventually be. In the offseason, you pretty much prepare as if you were going to be a starter. You can always go back to the pen because they don't throw that much.

You made one spot start in Portland and really pitched well. What did that teach you about yourself?

Nick Vincent: I know I have the stuff – it is going to be the opportunity for me as a little guy who does not have the hardest stuff. I know I will get outs with ground balls.

I thought they were more patient and didn't swing as guys would in rookie ball. They are bigger and have more power. If you make a mistake, they are going to hit it. I pitched an inside pitch to Craig Wilson and he hit it pretty far. If you hit your spots and pitch your game – keep the ball down, mix up the speeds – they are not going to do anything.

You pitched extremely well against left-handed hitters. What allowed you to have so much success against them?

Nick Vincent: I have no clue. I actually don't even look at my stats like that. Maybe sliders down and in to them.

To right-handers, I know I tried to throw some changeups and left them up and they got crushed. I know I gave up a lot more homers to righties than lefties.

I feel like I attack them the same. I am pretty much going with whatever the catcher calls. We will talk about it before the game but I am pretty confident going with what the catcher calls.

You gave up just five hits to the leadoff hitter of an inning. How important is it to set the tone for an inning by getting that first guy out and is your concentration level slightly higher in that situation?

Nick Vincent: It's huge. You can control everything. We cut down on their opportunities. Getting that first out is huge. The numbers of guys who get on base to begin an inning and scoring is huge.

If I am out of the windup, I feel like I have the best chance of getting everyone out. When I am in the stretch, I start leaning forward and the ball comes out a little bit. I need to work harder on my work out of the stretch. Work out the mechanics so I can keep the ball down more.

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