Padres Prospect Interview: Erik Davis

"My arm feels nice and fresh right now," San Diego Padres prospect Erik Davis said. After being abused in college, Davis is eager to show the kind of talent he has. He is getting that chance after moving into the starting rotation

Did you feel like your arm was hitting a wall after only 40-50 pitches with Eugene after a long college season?

Erik Davis: At first I was a little bit tired but then I started to get used to it, I think it wasn't so much a dead arm as a tired arm. I feel like I'm going to get my life back a little bit this season. So I'm looking forward to that.

With that said, do you expect for each of your pitches to be crisper this season?

Erik Davis: I think that last year, my fastball not being what it usually is I was able to work on my other pitches a lot more. I've got my changeup, and my curveball working pretty well. I think it helped me become a better pitcher, than when I was out there feeling a 100 percent because when you're feeling good, you don't learn as much about yourself as when you're not.

Is the key component of all that making sure your arm doesn't drop so you can maintain the movement on each of your pitches?

Erik Davis: Consistency is definitely something that I want to improve upon this year as far as repeating my delivery, or repeating my finish. I feel that if I'm able to do that, then I'm able to locate better down in the zone and just able to spot up in the zone. It's kind of like my old pitching coach used to say; ‘control versus command.' Last year, I felt I had good control, I was able to throw strikes, but this year I want to have good command within the strike zone.

I noticed that sometimes you wear glasses on the mound and sometimes I've seen you with out them.

Erik Davis: Anytime that I pitch with a batter, I have to wear glasses. It's just because of what happened with my injury, but when I throw bullpen, I'm usually not throwing with my glasses on.

You ended up striking out more than a batter an inning last year. What was the swing-and-miss pitch that you were setting hitters up to see?

Erik Davis: I think that a lot of what happened last year – and even in college – I was a one-to-one over a 100 innings. So what I think I was really able to do last year, was spot my changeup when I wanted to. That's been my strikeout pitch for the past year and a half. When I'm able to get that changeup down, it looks like a strike but then it just falls down in the dirt. I think the hitters aren't really expecting too many people (can do that), especially at the lower levels with a changeup especially as their strike out pitch.

Have the Padres told you that you will be back in the starting rotation at some point this season?

Erik Davis: I haven't really been told anything for sure. I just came in here hoping to repeat being a starter. Same as I was last year in A ball. Just go on improving, because I feel I have a lot I can improve upon before I'm able to start moving up to the higher levels. I have a lot to learn not only from the coaches but also from the older players here. That's what I enjoyed the most at spring training. Being able to meet all of the older guys and talk to them about what they've done to be successful.

What kind of message did Chris Young deliver to you guys at your meeting with him this spring?

Erik Davis: The message that he delivered was the same thing. That it's a very mental game, you're always out there competing against not just the other team, but sometimes on your bad days, you're competing against yourself. And to just really stay in a good mind frame as far as not losing your cool or anything like that. I think that it really helped because the way that he pitches is really – he's not the kind of guy that's going to go out there and blow people away at 95. He's a real spot up pitcher. He really knows what he's doing. I think that's a lot of what the Padres stress. I think that helped not only me but also a lot of other people in this organization.

Have you had a chance to talk to Mark Prior again? I know that you guys had been talking at times.

Erik Davis: Yeah you know I want to, but it's a little bit daunting to go up to a major leaguer and say ‘hey remember me' but I'm looking forward to doing, but I've been able to talk to John Hudgins, who went to Stanford before me. He's been a really good help. He's a really great guy and it was awesome to meet him.

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