Padres Prospect Interview: Aaron Breit

San Diego Padres prospect Aaron Breit found confidence in 2009 and that bolstered his pitching to a level that many expected of the prospect when he was originally signed as a draft-and-follow.

Talk about the confidence factor for you. It seems like there was a world of difference between your confidence in 2008 compared to 2009. Is that a fair assessment?

Aaron Breit: Yes. I feel like I was throwing the ball pretty well and showed a lot of improvement. I still have a lot of things to work on. You can never be satisfied in this game. There is always something to learn.

One of the things that pitching coach Dave Rajsich said was that you were prone to gripping the ball to tight. How do you check yourself in those situations?

Aaron Breit: I just tell myself to try and be as smooth as possible. Usually that works for me. It is not really a conscious thing for me. When I start getting a little wild, I take a step back and tell myself to be as smooth as possible. That is usually the problem when I am getting wild.

From college till now working in the Padres system, do you feel like you have a greater sense of how your body responds to different things and can you pinpoint what you did wrong on a pitch and apply a fix?

Aaron Breit: Definitely. I am getting a lot better at that. I am someone that needs to make an improvement each pitch instead of letting it build. I feel like I am getting a better grip on it. I am not all the way just yet. Sometimes I throw four balls in a row without changing it. If it is real bad, then I need to change it real quick.

One thing that has improved tremendously in the last year is your ability to keep runners close. You saw a lot of people try and steal off you in 2008 but not nearly as much in 2009. What changed?

Aaron Breit: I am just trying to be quicker to the plate. We have great catchers. They have great arms and are quick. All you have to do is give them a chance by being 1.3 (seconds) to the plate and they will throw them out for you.

Do you feel like it might come at the expense of sacrificing your stuff at times and what is the gameplan?

Aaron Breit: You are always trying to keep them off second base, especially a leadoff guy. You try and get a ground ball in the first two pitches to eliminate that stolen base.

How is the progression of the changeup been for you?

Aaron Breit: I think it has come a long way. I need to be consistent with it – throwing it for a strike and locating it better – but it has come a long way the last couple of years.

You started out in the bullpen and then ended up back in the rotation for the first time on a consistent basis since 2007. How rearding was that?

Aaron Breit: It was nice. Whatever gets me on the mound is fine with me. It is two different things and I like both equally. Starting is a different routine where you have to get your body ready for the next time out.

Since you went back into the rotation, it seems like everything worked really well for you. What was the formula for success?

Aaron Breit: Strikes. Throwing strikes and trying to get contact in the first three pitches – ground balls to allow my defense to work. That is something I am doing different from the last couple of years, pitching to contact.

What did you learn about yourself in the last year?

Aaron Breit: I have to put bad outings behind me and move on. I have to keep my confidence up. Bad outings are going to happen in this game and you have to be able to throw it away and start anew next time.

When you look back on the 2009 season, how do you assess it?

Aaron Breit: A lot of improvements, but like I said before, I still have a lot to work on. I need more consistency in my mechanics, throwing strikes, working on my offspeed and changeup.

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