Padres Prospect Interview: Michael Watt

Fort Wayne, IN: Going through periods where he lacked confidence, San Diego Padres prospect Michael Watt has started to believe. That belief has spawned into success back in the starting rotation.

Talk to me about the season. It has been a little bit of a rollercoaster for you – going in and out of the rotation before settling in of late. Has that been one of the harder things adjusting to?

Michael Watt: A little bit but it is understanding that it is not something I can control. I know that if I pitch, as I should, I will be starting. I am not overly concerned with it.

You have been pitching well out of the rotation of late. What has and has not been working for you?

Michael Watt: It has been an up and down thing. Some days I haven't had my curveball and some days I haven't had my changeup. It has been all over the place. I really feel, in the last couple of weeks, good again. I feel like I am getting it altogether on the mental and physical part – as late as it may be. I am feeling comfortable now.

How has that mental process gone for you, especially when you were moved to the pen for a while?

Michael Watt: The mental process...this has been one of the toughest years of my life – not only for baseball but everything. Adjusting to almost everything has been a change for me. Dealing with that and continually looking forward and not getting caught up with things that aren't going right. It took me a while to realize. Now, I decided to start seeing the good in things and believing I can do things I have always believed I can do.

You haven't given up a first inning run this season. That has to be comforting to be able to set the tone early on.

Michael Watt: That was one of my biggest problems last year. I had no idea about that stat.

I think it has been mental and consistency and getting psyched up for the first inning and following inning. Maybe there is a lack of focus in between innings. It is another I am working on – always being in the game and not over thinking.

The third inning hasn't been as kind. How do you avoid the big inning and keep the damage to one run?

Michael Watt: I think the key is for a while I was only throwing three innings so maybe I was thinking this is my last inning. The most important thing is every inning is a new inning. There is no past and there is no future. Every pitch is a new pitch. That is one of the most important things I am getting back to.

Is there a comfort level for you in the windup versus the stretch?

Michael Watt: I do a lot of work out of both. In the past – and this year has been better – a lot of guys have run on me and I have given up a lot of stolen bases. I am better at it now and have shortened up my leg kick. That was a big issue.

At the same time, is there a delicate balance there where you try and get quicker to the plate but could suffer on stuff and location by being too fast?

Michael Watt: It's tough. It is finding that comfort. Last year, everyone who got on first stole second. That was something that when I went into the offseason, I said, ‘I am going to take care of this.' Maybe what happened is I lost some of my stuff but more than anything my concentration on the hitter would be something I lost.

Someone mentioned that the changeup and curveball are pitches that don't necessarily miss up in the zone but it is the fastball that can ride high and that is when you get in trouble. Has fastball command been the issue?

Michael Watt: When it is up, it gets hit. That is something that always happens. I think it is more comfort with the fastball and putting all three pitches together rather than relying on just one pitch.

Have there been mechanical changes in the process?

Michael Watt: There has been everything this season. As you said, it has been a rollercoaster. I went through a long time of not understanding myself and questioning the things I was doing.

I feel like I am providing more positives for myself and getting answers.

What do you need to do take your game to the next level?

Michael Watt: The number one thing is to believe that I can take it to the next level. From there, work hard and expect success.

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