Padres Prospect Interview: Jerry Sullivan

San Diego Padres prospect Jerry Sullivan didn't find a comfort zone until he entered the rotation – a fact he willingly admits.

It seemed like you were two different pitchers this year. One that was a bit uncomfortable in a relief role and one who found himself again when you returned to a starting role. Is that a fair assessment?

Jerry Sullivan: I'd say so. I came out of the pen a couple of times during college in mid-week games to get work in. I had a few weeks off before coming out and went into the bullpen in Eugene – a new setting and new scenario. Adjusting to everything, at first, was tough.

I have always felt good as a starter. Once I was back in the rotation, everything seemed to fall into place.

Is it the routine that gives you comfort or the changing mentality that made it difficult? How does it change?

Jerry Sullivan: As a starter, I like to develop more of a personality. You develop a role with each hitter and each at-bat with what they look for and what they have seen. You move on accordingly throughout the game.

In a relief role, you don't have that ability. You have to come in and spot up. They are waiting for that fastball to hit. It is definitely a different mentality. It is more of an aggressive, less-mistake mentality, I think.

How do you measure the success of a pitch you are throwing?

Jerry Sullivan: If my body is balanced, my release point is good and it went where I want it to go – if I can do that a few times in a row and repeat it, I am in a pretty good groove and comfortable.

It seems like there were times when the fastball would ride up in the zone. Was that a mechanical thing?

Jerry Sullivan: Yes, I would get excited and start leaking forward, leaving my arm behind me which would leave the ball up.

It was one of the big things I worked on out at instructs, getting balance in my delivery and then calming down each pitch. The other thing is controlling my adrenaline and not trying to rush through things. That is what happens. My arm gets left back and I leave the ball up. We worked on being calm and having confidence through every situation. Maintain the balance – it is big for me.

How do you balance the aggression you want to have on the mound while keeping yourself calm mechanically?

Jerry Sullivan: It is about redirecting the focus of where the aggression needs to be taken. Instead of wanting to throw it and thinking aggression early – that is when my mechanics suffer – but if I think aggression with my arm speed as the ball is passing through my throwing zone, that is when I see more success.

You mentioned working on mechanical things during instructs. Has there been any other main focus?

Jerry Sullivan: Mainly the balance. My pitches – I can command all three pretty well right now. What was happening is my command would go down when my mechanics broke down. Once I started to get going with the balance, everything else fell into place.

Is there a difference for you in the stretch versus the windup?

Jerry Sullivan: I used to be more comfortable out of the windup. That is where I was leaking most. I developed a good stretch where I was quick to the plate and on balance. Now, I am trying to translate that into the windup.

What will the offseason be like for you – perhaps now that you don't have school classes.

Jerry Sullivan: I actually am taking classes right now and finishing up the education. I am going to put the ball down for a while and really attack the weight room. I will also make sure I stay flexible. I need to get flexible. I am a little tight. Put the ball down and get stronger before I pick the ball up.

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