Padres Prospect Interview: Dexter Carter

San Diego Padres prospect Dexter Carter came over in the Jake Peavy trade and might turn out to be the key to the deal. He has that kind of talent, despite a poor showing in Fort Wayne last year.

Talk about the trade. You get traded as part of a group for a pitcher like Jake Peavy. That has to be pretty special for you.

Dexter Carter: It was definitely special. It took me by surprise to be traded. My manager at Kannapolis told me, ‘It is an honor. Don't worry about anything. Just go out there and do your thing.'

Is it a catch-22 in the sense that you want to prove yourself to your new team, are perhaps mad at your old team for giving you up, and have to learn a whole new system. It has to be a mix of emotions.

Dexter Carter: I was in North Carolina and actually live near there. It was a little different to go 15 hours from home. Last year, I was in the Pioneer League in Montana so it wasn't that big of an adjustment.

What about mentally? Did that affect you?

Dexter Carter: The mental side was definitely tough. Everybody knows baseball is mental. If you can take the mental side out and use just the physical parts, the game would be easy.

Talk a little bit about the difference in the leagues. Did you see any difference between the South Atlantic League and the Midwest League?

Dexter Carter: Probably the biggest difference was there were more free swingers in the Midwest League. The South Atlantic League had a lot of guys that would want to work the count and keep working the count. In the Midwest League, there were a lot of guys who liked to attack the zone. I didn't adjust to that.

Talk about the pitches you throw and the speeds you throw them at.

Dexter Carter: I normally throw my fastball between 88 and 92 mph, my changeup is 79 to 82 and my curveball is 76 to 81 mph.

You came out to the Padres Instructional League. What did you work on out there?

Dexter Carter: The changeup. That is definitely the biggest thing I need to work on. I definitely need to be able to throw the changeup to go up in levels.

It is a plus pitch and will always be a plus pitch. Guys can sit on a curveball a whole lot better than they can sit on a changeup.

How much will the success of that pitch rely on your own confidence in the pitch?

Dexter Carter: You definitely need to have confidence to see success with the changeup. If you have the confidence to throw it and make it look like a fastball – the hitter sees fastball and recognizes fastball and when he gets ready to swing it is a changeup. There isn't much he can do at that point.

Do you almost feel that you are gripping the ball too lightly and that is why it gets thrown too hard or soft at times?

Dexter Carter: I think that is what it is. I was talking to (roving pitching coordinator Mike) Couchee the other day and he was saying, ‘Just take it and throw it as hard as you can. Hold it as tight as you can and throw it as hard as you can. If you do everything right it will come out at 80 (mph). It worked. When I was throwing it in instructs, it came out 79 to 81 or 82.

Talk about your curveball and the success of that pitch. It seems like it is your go-to pitch.

Dexter Carter: It has always been my go-to pitch since my freshman year in college. That is when I really learned how to throw it. I have worked on different grips and different philosophies with positive results.

That was a big thing with the White Sox – the success of the curveball. It kind of got me away from the changeup. Now here, ‘You need the changeup.' It feels like I forgot how to throw the changeup and I need to keep working at it.

The big thing with the curveball was the grip my college coach showed me. It has worked well.

Is there a different mentality for you in going for the strikeout versus getting the quick out?

Dexter Carter: It is kind of hard to say. I think what I always try and do is get ahead. That is any pitcher's goal – to get ahead in the count. If you can get ahead in the count and make good pitches, they might swing and put it in play or they might miss it. Once I get 0-2, I am putting them away no matter what. ‘Here it is. It might be a fastball. Here it is. It might be a curveball. Here it is. It might be a changeup.' I am going to try and put it on more plate than I normally would to try and make them put it in play.

What will ultimately prove whether you will be successful?

Dexter Carter: The development of the changeup. If you get in trouble and have a great changeup – it is a huge plus. It looks like a fastball. It looks like another pitch but is not that pitch.

Being able to pitch at three different levels of speeds and being 90 mph plus with your fastball, in the 80s with your changeup and 70s with your breaking ball is a big plus in having success.

Do you feel like you have to add more weight to your frame and perhaps with that comes more velocity?

Dexter Carter: Definitely. I hope it adds more velocity. Last offseason, I gained 15 pounds. I was 190 last year and 210 was my max. It was hot in the South Atlantic League and I sweated it off. I maintained the weight at around 208. I am going to push for 220 for spring training.

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