Padres Prospect Interview: Nick Greenwood

San Diego Padres prospect Nick Greenwood has given up one run over his first three starts with the Eugene Emeralds. His ability to enduce contact and challenge hitter is one of the reasons the Padres took him in round 14.

How does it feel to be drafted in the 14th-round?

Nick Greenwood: I stopped paying attention after the 10th-round because a lot of the scouts were saying that ‘you've got no chance telling where you will go after the 10th-round' and it was the longest hour of my life; just sitting there waiting and waited and by the 14th-round. You get really frustrated and then you hear your name and it's a feeling that I can't really describe. All of the hard work you put in, you're rewarded for and it's pretty awesome.

Frustration to euphoria in three seconds. Talk a little bit about your game. What is Nick Greenwood all about?

Nick Greenwood: I'm a competitor on the mound, and I always want to do what's best for my team because I know that I have eight players behind me who are playing just as hard. I want to have both individual success and team success. I have the will to win. Overall, I think my offspeed is pretty good and I can spot off my fastball. I have good control.

Talk a little bit about your repertoire. The speed you throw, and what are the pitches you have.

Nick Greenwood: My fastball is like 87-90. Probably the best pitch I have is my curveball. It's a confident throw whenever I need to: behind in the count, ahead of the count. I've got a good changeup. My fastball has been at 91-92 instead of 87-88. A little cutter. If I'm ahead in the count, I might throw a cutter.

Talking to the scouts, I remember them saying that one of your better pitches was the changeup and then you mentioned your best pitch being the curveball.

Nick Greenwood: To be honest with you ,it's all how I'm feeling that day. You'll know warming up what pitch is working so maybe one day it's the curveball and one day it's the changeup. But you'll know. It's always good when at least one pitch is working to offset your fastball.

So what kind of player are you? Do you journal to find out as much as you can about the opposition or do you just pitch to your strengths?

Nick Greenwood: Both. I'm not a guru guy who will study the stats. I believe in my stuff. I believe that if I pitch the way that I want to pitch then I'll be fine. I like to go in with a little knowledge of the competition but not too much.

One thing that was mentioned was that you have really good control. Is there a time when you almost throw too many strikes?

Nick Greenwood: It could hurt you if you're in the zone and you just throw too many ball down the middle. But my philosophy is that I'd rather have a guy put it into play himself than me give him a free base. I just feel like I have eight guys behind me, I'll take my chances. Walks score. That's just what happens. You walk someone and they score 40 something percent of the time.

Is there someone in the Major leagues that you kind of emulate? Someone you aspire to be like?

Nick Greenwood: Scott Kazmir. He's the same height. He throws harder than I do, but he has a good control and he's a good competitor on the mound. I like to watch him pitch.

As a pitcher, do you still enjoy the game of baseball or do you feel like you're always trying to get the fundamental things or pick something up?

Nick Greenwood: It's funny because everyday, you see something that you've never seen before. A lot of people say that, but in baseball you might see something that you never even thought could be possible. If you pay attention, there's always going to be something you didn't see before, and you pick up on little things.

For example, this year in college, I would always try to look at the pitchers to help the everyday guys know things like ‘is he tipping pitches?' I'd be able to tell them what he's doing. You try not to compare yourself to other pitchers but I always pay attention to the game.

Have you ever tipped your own pitches?

Nick Greenwood: Yeah, I had one game. It was weird because everything I threw was getting hit pretty hard. It was my freshman year and I was talking to the other team and they said ‘yeah we picked up your pitches' and they told me that I did something different with my curveball than my fastball. But thank goodness they told me because I was able to correct it.

How big is that? Did that surprise you? Did you go ‘Wow! How could somebody a) pick up on that so quickly and b) I don't even know I'm doing it?'

Nick Greenwood: Exactly. Some people are really good at that. Some people just pick it up they can say ‘he twitches his glove every time he throws a fastball. Or he licks his lips every time he throws a curveball. ' Or whatever. It just happens.

How much have you grown and matured since coming out of high school?

Nick Greenwood: An unbelievable amount. My freshman year in high school, I was still learning to become a pitcher and I played the outfield too. So coming into college I was kind of two-way, and I wasn't as mature as I could have been and freshman year was probably one of the worst pitching years of my career. So making a jump from freshman year where I couldn't go to summer ball because my grades weren't good enough to having a jump around sophomore year where my grades were great and I was able to go play summer ball and have a terrific year and to this year where I was able to trust my stuff and know that whatever I threw I threw and it would get out no matter what.

So what do you think is one area of your game that needs the most improvement?

Nick Greenwood: Definitely my mechanics, just smoothing out my mechanics. I could correct a couple of things – maybe my miles per hour would jump up just a little bit, maybe better break on my curveball and a better run on my fastball. So my mechanics is something that I'm definitely going to try to improve on.

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