Padres Prospect Interview: Tyson Bagley

Eugene, OR: Tyson Bagley has the stuff, but being able to find serenity for his brain has been a challenge for the tall right-hander.

This is your second season in Eugene. Were you a little bit disappointed to come back here?

Tyson Bagley: I took it as a way to better develop my stuff. I don't care where I am as long as I am here. Obviously, I am trying to move up in the ranks. Right now, I am in Eugene and that is the way it is going to be. I look forward to continuing my development, working hard, doing what I need to do so I can move out of here.

We talked about you being a max-effort type of pitcher. How have you progressed in moving away from that?

Tyson Bagley: It has shown flashes at times through extended and in Eugene. Although it is a grind to get through it, it is my brain that needs the most work, not my mechanics. Tell me to relax and go up there and pitch free and easy.

You have been better against left-handed hitters. What is the reason for that success?

Tyson Bagley: I noticed that when I throw my fastball a lot of times it tails in arm side high – for me that would be inside to a righty and outside to a lefty. When I am facing a lefty, that ball is down and away on the outside corners, a tough pitch to hit for anybody. For a left-hander, it is an easier pitch for me to throw. I think that is what makes me more successful against left-handers.

What do you need to do to see more success against right-handed hitters?

Tyson Bagley: I need to start working on the outer half of the plate instead of throwing everything in where they can turn on the ball. I need to throw the ball outside.

You are obviously a tall guy. How difficult is it to maintain your mechanics given that height?

Tyson Bagley: Talking to some other guys on the team, I think we have it a little bit more difficult but I don't think that is an excuse. We have to work harder to get our body in tune with the things we want to get going and just get it done.

What do you feel like missing when there is a chink in the mechanics and you say to yourself, ‘I felt that.'?

Tyson Bagley: For me, it is my follow-through, getting over my backside. That is the biggest thing. I think that is true for a lot of tall guys. The effect is the ball stays up – right in the pound zone.

This is also your second year with Greg Riddoch. We understand that he is big on the psychological aspects of playing baseball. How can that continue to help you in your path?

Tyson Bagley: When I found out I was coming back to Eugene with Skip, I was real excited because Skip knows so much about the mental part of the game. You hear the statistics – 80 percent mental and 20 percent physical. I believe for me, the game it 95 percent mental and about five percent physical. I couldn't be happier than to be here with Skip. He gives me so many pointers, relaxation tools, that are not so much physical but mental – what I need the most help with.

We get the mental part but taking it to the mound are two different things. How do you bring what you have been taught to the mound and keep the calm demeanor?

Tyson Bagley: I have been working with Skip on some breathing techniques and some focal points outside of the baseball field. Here in Eugene, there are some pretty nice backdrops of mountains. Now, I gaze at those mountains for a few seconds, I take a deep, long breath for about 10 seconds, get up on the mound and let's go, let's fire.

You have been working on the changeup. How has that pitch progressed over the last year?

Tyson Bagley: It has actually turned into a pretty good pitch for me. I have also developed a split-fingered pitch, which is more comfortable because it fits in my hands. I can throw it like a fastball and let the grip do the work. I feel that is a better fit for me – the split-fingered changeup. It was tough with my hands to do the circle changeup.

How important is that first out of the inning and where do you feel you have landed in accomplishing that?

Tyson Bagley: I have been pretty effective this season at getting the first guy out. I know there have been two times I have walked the leadoff batter and statistics will tell you that he will score most of the time. For me, it seems like he scores every time.

I know that my goal is always strike one. Let's do battle. If he gets a hit – no problem. I would rather him get a hit. But if I walk the guy, the next guy will be more patient, see his pitch, and wait for it since he knows I may be wild that day. Getting that first out is crucial for me.

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

Tyson Bagley: Stay focused on what needs to be accomplished and that is staying relaxed, staying within myself, quit trying to throw the ball 100 miles per hour every time; relax, let the grip do the work and pound the ball down and away.

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