Padres Prospect Interview: Rob Musgrave

"I am working on command," Rob Musgrave said. "Being able to hit my spots. Throwing three pitches for a strike. Keeping the ball down." All those things have been flashed at times by the San Diego Padres prospect but not consistently enough.

You mentioned focusing on giving yourself a consistent line to home plate. How has that progressed over the last year and are you finally comfortable with it?

Rob Musgrave: Yeah, I worked pretty hard in the offseason to do the things that they've told me I can improve on. I think that I finally understand it a lot better and I'm at the point where I can implement it every single pitch.

What is the level of competition that you are seeing out here in Fort Wayne?

Rob Musgrave: Really, right now, you're just competing with yourself. You want to make better pitches, hit better spots. So right now, I'm not really concerned with how the hitters are seeing me. I just want to be able to execute all my pitches on a consistent basis.

You had a lot of success against right-handed hitters. What will enable you to have the same type of success against lefties?

Rob Musgrave: Definitely being able to spot my fastball. I have had a little trouble with that. Working ahead. Having them on their heels a little bit would work for me.

You were one of the leaders in the system in first-pitch strikes. Is there such a thing as throwing too many first-pitch strikes?

Rob Musgrave: It depends on the team. A lot of teams are looking at seeing a lot of pitches. So getting ahead of those hitters is very important. I don't think I could stress that enough. As far as other organizations that encourage hitters to swing at the first pitch…I think I'd rather just get ahead anyway.

The curveball was a pitch you wanted to focus on to return to the starting rotation. How has that progressed?

Rob Musgrave: It feels good. I'm starting to get a consistent release point on that, so I'm able to hit my spot with it a little better.

You weren't really a ground ball pitcher this year. Is the goal to induce more groundouts this season to preserve your arm?

Rob Musgrave: It takes a lot of groundballs to score runs and that's what our organization teaches. So, if I can work down on the zone, that's something I didn't do as well, so hopefully I can continue to improve upon, being able to work down in the zone. I have left a lot of pitches up. At Eugene, I was able to get away with getting some flyball outs, but as you move on hitters become more and more selective and they're able to punish that pitch a little bit more. That's something that I focused on and it's something that I'm doing a lot better this year than I did last year.

What did you learn about yourself during your first professional season?

Rob Musgrave: Professional hitters aren't all that different from other hitters. They are more selective at times. It just reinforced the fact that my stuff is good enough to be here.

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