Padres Prospect Interview: Will Inman

Will Inman came into the 2009 season with a mission. After leading the Texas League in walks, the San Diego Padres were unsure if their prized prospect would stay in the rotation. Months after those thoughts festered, Inman has shown impeccable command along with the nasty stuff that allowed him to lead the circuit in strikeouts before his promotion.

You changed your arm slot last season. While the velocity was up, it seemed the command went down. Is this a true assessment?

Will Inman: A lot of stuff to work on, the mechanics, last year I got a little bit offbeat. It started out good and then it got a little bit off beat and it just turned into a little bit of a mental thing. People tell you not to walk and you think about it and I started thinking about it, but I battled through it and tried to stay positive.

Is there a time during the offseason that you can just mentally take a break?

Will Inman: It's a good time the offseason, but obviously it's still a thinking process. You've just got to get away from it. You need time to just step away from the game. But when you get out here, you just have to stay positive and not let it get the best of you, not let that be a flag on you, obviously walking a lot of guys sucked. It's just mental getting through it. First pitch strikes and then work it ahead.

Towards the end of the year, your innings were down. Was that a dead arm period where your arm wasn't feeling good?

Will Inman: No, I don't think walking four in an inning helped… but the pitch count was up. I think that mid-season – pitch count became an issue. So, they kind of lowered it in on me. They said ‘Here's 80 pitches, get through five.' It kind of went like that. I did my best with it. I just went with it as I could.

What made you so successful at keeping runners close and nullifying the running game?

Will Inman: We had great catchers and that helped. I don't know. I'm not that fast to the plate, and you're the first one to actually say something about that. I didn't even know that I did that great of a job at it. I'm not that fast at the plate. I just try to be a little quicker than normal. Hold over, throw the ball and it's just a little bit of everything.

You trained with Eric Cressey this offseason. What was the goal of working with Eric – who is known for his ability to make pitchers more athletic in a lot of different areas?

Will Inman: He's lights out. I've worked with a lot of great guys before, but he kind of broke down everything for me. The big thing that he did with me was setting up a game plan for that mid-season, and for the end of the season. I know that everybody says that, but I'm talking about on a scale of in-between starts. In-between starts, I'm thinking what am I doing here, what am I doing there. He's a big shoulder guy. He knows a lot about the shoulder. I got a chance to work out with Curt Schilling. Everything was great. I keep in touch. He's easy to contact so he's really helped me out a lot as far as in-between starts and where I want to be.

You mentioned Eric being a master of the shoulder. Did that cause you to change arm slots again?

Will Inman: No, mechanically, we talked and he did more of the listening on that. But as far as mechanics right now, he didn't really specify. He didn't claim to be a pitching coach. He's trying to get me out there for every fifth day, so it's not really mechanics or anything. But we watched videos from last year, videos from all my bullpens there in Boston and he tells you where your weakness are. Some that I knew of – some that I didn't. We just go from there.

Talk about the Future's Game, your 1-2-3 inning, and pitching at Yankee Stadium.

Will Inman: It was fun. Adrenaline was hot there, obviously, when you're in the pen waiting to throw innings. It was a blast, a once in a lifetime experience. The stadium has already been knocked down. To be around the best of the best was great. It was real positive and let you know where you stood.

There is always talk of pitchers setting up hitters but did you feel like hitters are evening the gap and beginning to setup you as a pitcher to throw a certain pitch at the highest levels?

Will Inman: No. Maybe it's something that I didn't see. But for me, the guys hitting below .300 are just trying to get their hit, instead of worrying about, ‘Oh, I'm going to set him up to try and see this pitch.' next think you know he's 0-2. I didn't see that last year in Double-A. From what I saw, guys just want to get hits. They're going to follow their approach, perfect their approach and then go for it.

You received an invite to major league camp. In what ways has it and will it benefit you?

Will Inman: If you get there early enough and you get to face the big league hitters you kind of see where you stand. You see how your stuff matches up and you realize that the game is still the game. It's not like anything is different up there. It's not like things change. It's all the same.

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