Padres Prospect Interview: David Erickson

Eugene, OR: San Diego Padres prospect David Erickson has the mentality of a closer and feels he pitches better with the game on the line. He credits his success to the development of the changeup.

What is the mindset you have to have in a closer's role?

David Erickson: You go out and throw well and sometimes things don't go your way. That is baseball. You have to come out the next day and throw the way you did the day before.

I just go out there and try and get outs. Get the first out, throw strikes and battle. I love having pressure on me and the game on the line. It makes me throw better and more focused. I love it.

Talk a little bit about your stuff and what you use as an out pitch.

David Erickson: I am pretty much a sinker guy. That is my main pitch. I throw a slider and changeup and feel I can use any of those three pitches. I am a ground ball pitcher mostly.

It seems like you have a little bit of deception in your delivery as well.

David Erickson: I think the deception is my ball comes in and kind of dives off the table. It gets on them a little bit quicker even though I don't throw that hard. I am not blowing it by guys.

What was the maturation process from high school to college at Connecticut to now as a professional baseball player?

David Erickson: I don't think I would be where I am today if it wasn't for college. My coaching staff helped me out a lot. I battled through some injuries – Tommy John and shoulder surgeries. It has taught me how to mentally battle through things and keep working at it.

One thing you have been very successful with is inherited runners. Talk a little bit about that when others are counting on you to help their stats.

David Erickson: I don't know about anyone else, but I love having the game on the line – on my back. I think it helps me throw better. I am more focused.

Plus, I have to stop those runs. Those are my teammates and friends. I have to sit next to them on the bus. It is one of those things where I have to go out and get the job done to help my team win.

Your parents were in town one weekend in July. Talk about pitching in front of them now as a professional baseball player.

David Erickson: Its awesome. They have supported me through my entire career. They came to pretty much every game at U Conn. The followed me all the way across country. I love it.

One of the biggest things in baseball is getting the leadoff hitter out – something you have had success doing. How big is that?

David Erickson: Huge. You get the first guy out, it is a lot easier inning. The first guy gets on and is bunted over – a base hit pretty much brings him in. It is huge to get the first guy out. You have to get him out.

You mentioned the changeup earlier. What goes into making that a quality pitch?

David Erickson: You have to throw your fastball for strikes. Once you establish that, you can change speeds on them. I have thrown a bunch of changeups – even to righties – to keep them off-balance this year. A lot of guys are great fastball hitters. You have to keep them off-balance.

You have had a success with left-handed hitters. How do you enjoy the same success against right-handed hitters?

David Erickson: I am trying to mix in the slider a little bit more against righties. The reason I have had success against lefties is because I have developed the changeup. I didn't really have that in college. I was a sinker/slider guy. The changeup is going to be a great pitch for me.

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