Padres Prospect Interview: Anthony Bass

Fort Wayne, IN: San Diego Padres prospect Anthony Bass has done everything required of him this season. From getting the leadoff hitter out to closing the door on big innings, the starter has been electric. He credits the success to development of his pitches, the catchers, and a tandem at the end of games to close the door.

You have had maybe two tough starts but it has been a fantastic year otherwise. What do you view as the reason for your success?

Anthony Bass: I think when I go out there I am staying a lot more relaxed. I am letting what got me here – my skills and abilities – take over. I am not pressuring mysef a whole lot and having fun.

One thing you have been really good at controlling is runners in scoring position – particularly with two outs to close the door on the big inning. Talk about that bearing down mentality.

Anthony Bass: Last year being a closer – I took that upon myself this year to put in my mind that they are not getting in. I want to put my team in a position to win the ball game. When I think to myself, ‘They are not going to score.' Usually, they don't.

When I viewed you early on, I kind of tabbed you as a guy that would be a strikeout pitcher. What is the balance between getting that strikeout versus having hitters put the ball in play?

Anthony Bass: The strikeout requires more pitches so anything to get outs. If they strikeout, great. If they don't, let my defense get them out. I am not going out there thinking of striking out everyone. I want them to get themselves out, get my defense working. I am not really thinking about strikeouts.

Talk about the experience of going to the All-Star game and just being named as a member.

Anthony Bass: It was awesome. All the guys that were there are tremendous ball players and really cool. We all kind of clicked right away. It was a great experience.

Playing in the game was a lot of fun. It was a great atmosphere, really relaxed. At the same time, you have to respect the game and do your job.

One thing that has been impressive this season has been your abiity to get the leadoff man out. Talk about setting the tone early on – get the first guy out and you have a much better chance of not allowing runs.

Anthony Bass: That first out is important. You never want to have the first guy get on with nobody out. Then you are in a jam. I always think strike one to the hitter and go from there. That first out is so important. I don't want to put any pressure on myself than there already is.

We talked about the slider as being one pitch you really wanted to improve upon. How has that come along?

Anthony Bass: I actually think it has come along really well. My slider and my changeup – I have used them both. They sort of bounce off each other.

I haven't felt this much control as I have had in the past. I feel like I can throw them wherever I want to. I credit that with a lot of the success I am having.

How important has it been for you guys to get the contributions from catchers Adam Zornes and Robert Lara. It seems like you have been on the same page all season.

Anthony Bass: They call a great game. There is hardly ever a time when I shake them off. They know the hitters when they get in the box. They look at them head to toe when they step in the box and how they take each pitch. I credit a lot of our success as a pitching staff to oru catchers that call a great game.

At the end of the game, you have Zach Herr and Brad Brach who seem to close every door. Knowing that, you can go all out.

Anthony Bass: It is always nice to have two guys like that at the end of a ball game. Once it goes to the eighth and ninth innings, that sense of confidence in not only the pitcher of that day but the whole team feeds of them. They come in – strike one, strike two. They don't mess around. The team builds off that. When they come in the thinking turns to, ‘We are going to win this game.'

How do you follow in Nick Schmidt's footsteps and make it to the next level?

Anthony Bass: I am very happy for Nick. Hopefully, I keep doing my thing. I can't do anything else. I can just go out there and pitch. Hopefully, they see that and I end the season at the next level.

Bass got his wish and was promoted to Lake Elsinore on July 16, 2009.

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