Patrick on Eugene pitching prospects

Former Eugene Emeralds and current Fort Wayne TinCaps pitching coach Bronswell Patrick saw some exciting new San Diego Padres prospects this year.

Chris Fetter, a Univerity of Michigan kid, has pitched very well. It almost seems like the follow through isn't consistent. Is it tough to keep the mechanics for a guy that tall together.

Bronswell Patrick: It is. I just read a report on these guys and they throw a side and simulated game. He was a guy that opened my eyes because he did have good mechanics. He has real good downhill plane for being 6-foot-8. He gets on top of the ball well. The thing that helps Chris out is he stays over the rubber – which means he stays back for a good part of his delivery. He is able to let his arm catch up to where he gets a real good downhill plane on his pitches. Chris is going to be fine with his mechanics.

I worked with him on something he was doing with his back foot and that helped him out a lot. He has been impressive and his delivery is solid.

You have been working on a new slider with Fetter. How has that come along?

Bronswell Patrick: I have had him working on a slider with a different grip. The last one he had was a little bit big. It looked more like a slurve. It is a different grip so we can cut down on the bigger break and make it smaller. He has caught onto it pretty well. He just needs to keep working on it because he has real good downhill plane to his fastball. He has real good stuff. I have been impressed.

Nick Greenwood was fantastic. It doesn't seem like anyone gets good wood off him.

Bronswell Patrick: Which is a good thing, a real good thing. He is a kid that has a lot of movement on his ball. He has a lot of sink on his fastball. I was working with him during a side session where we just throw fastball/changeup and he talked to be about being sore. I asked him to throw four-seam fastballs and he said he didn't have one – he throws all sinkers.

That is a good thing. He throws a lot of sinkers and has a great changeup. He works quick, has a good tempo – he misses a lot of the sweet parts of the bat because of his good sinker. Once again, that will take a kid a long way when you have that kind of movement on your sinker. He just needs to have confidence throwing it and stay within himself.

Matt Jackson has four quality pitches and was lights out early on.

Bronswell Patrick: Four quality pitches – fastball, slider, changeup, curveball. He has it all. He has four pitches he can throw for strikes. He has been impressive. I thought this was going to be our eighth inning guy originally. Pedro struggles and DePaula went down and I talked to our pitching coordinator and told him this was what I wanted to do. It has worked out. I am glad I gave him the opportunity to get into the rotation. He has been one of our aces. I like the way he goes out and handles his business. He works quick, he gets ahead of hitters, and puts them away because he has four pitches he can throw for strikes. You don't have a hitter that can sit on one pitch. ‘Now what is he going to throw.' He has an advantage because of that. You don't know what to look for, especially with two strikes.

You guys tok away the curveball early on and re-introduced it. How does that look?

He has always had the curveball. It is something we worked on during side sessions but he didn't throw it in the game early on. That kid has sown that he has four quality pitches. That is something that will take him a long way. If you can command four pitches like that and throw it with some consistency, you will go a long way in this game. He has shown he can throw his slider for strikes and now that curveball – that is another plus in his book.

Jerry Sullivan is a power pitcher. Is it important to make him understand the philosophy of three pitches or less to record an out when he may look for the strikeout?

Bronswell Patrick: It is very important. I have talked to Jerry and he understands what we are working on over here. He is learning. He is also learning you can't just throw 94 mph by everybody because these kids are going to hit it. It doesn't matter how hard you throw, especially in pro ball. These guys are going to time it and get good wood on it. Its happened to him a couple of games. He realized he had to locate the fastball better than what he had been doing. He will get there. Those guys that get drafted early want to impress right away and I don't have a problem with that.

The main thing is to get their feet wet in professional baseball. If they get hit a little it teaches them what to do to be successful. If they continue to do ‘this' it is not going to work. The main thing with Jerry is to stay within yourself and do what you are capable of doing. We know what he has. Stay within yourself and you will be fine. His velocity is there. The delivery is there. He has quality pitches.

It looked like Jerry Sullivan really struggled with command early on.

Bronswell Patrick: Jerry missed a little bit of time. He was in the regionals versus Arizona State and took some time off. We knew Jerry would bounce back well. He has a great body, a good arm. He needed to get back in baseball form. We had him working on regaining his confidence. He will be fine. He is going to be a big leaguer some day.

Chris Wilkes went up to Lake Elsinore early in the year. Did you talk to him about that time and him likely trying to do too much?

Bronswell Patrick: I did. I talked to him before he left too. I told him, ‘Do what you did down here last year. Don't try and change anything.' It didn't happen that way. It is easier said than done.

He went up there and the same thing that happened to Pedro Hernandez in Eugene happened to Wilkes in Elsinore. He was leaving pitches out over the plate and they weren't missing. They were getting hit hard. He started shying away from pitching to contact. He struggled.

He came back to extended and was a totally different pitcher because he still wasn't pitching to contact. He wasn't real sure of himself throwing a good quality pitch. It was more like aiming this pitch to keep him from hitting it. I said, ‘Just relax. Forget what happened in Lake Elsinore. You have to bounce back and be the pitcher I saw last year.' I worked with him a lot trying get him back on track. He has been back on track. There have been times when he hasn't had his best stuff and still gave us five innings while only giving up one run. It is not going to be the first time that happens. I tell him each time, ‘You showed me something by not having your best stuff and competing the way you did.'

He is a competitor and wants the ball. He still has that football mentality. ‘Give me the ball. I want it. I am not backing down from anybody.'

The ball carries in Lake Elsinore, in that league. I know what happens there; I played there too. If you make a mistake, they don't miss it and hit it hard somewhere. Next thing you know you have given up five or six runs. That is what happened to him.

He is a guy that has his head on straight, wants to win and competes. We have to keep drilling in his head to trust his stuff and he will be fine.

Jason Hagerty and Emmanuel Quiles been for you?

Bronswell Patrick: Both of those guys have been great behind the plate.

Jason has done really well, which is kind of surprising coming right out of the draft to here and learning the guys swings and knowing what they hitter is trying to do in certain situations. There are times when he looks over and wants some advice from me. He has done an outstanding job working with these guys. I talk to him about a lot of things. I tell him if this guy is doing that, go out there and talk to him to tell him what the pitcher is doing so we can get back on line and concentrate on what we are doing.

Quiles – same thing. I had Q in extended so he knows the organization and what we are working on. He has been real good about that. As well as Jason, I talk to Q and tell him if he sees the pitcher doing this, go out and talk to him to correct it before it is two or three pitches down the road. Let's get it done on the next pitch.

Since they are calling pitches – are there times you go back to them when a pitchers throws too many fastballs and say, ‘You can't do that again. We need to have diversity to bring the third pitch back into the mix.'

Bronswell Patrick: We do. There was a game where Fetter threw 68 of his 75 pitches as fastballs. It wasn't a big concern because the team we were playing – a lot of those guys had long swings and for the most part we would have been doing them a favor by throwing them off-speed pitches. He pitched good that game.

We still have to incorporate throwing that changeup as well. That is something they need to learn and develop. It also depends on the tema we are playing. If you have a lot of guys with long swings, I don't want them to do them a favor and throw off-speed where they can get good wood on it.

I did talk to Fetter about it to say there is a way to go about it and mix your changeup in there as well as getting away with throwing your fastball a lot. You need to know when to throw that changeup and miss with that changeup. At least you are still saying you have it in your repertoire and the hitter has to be conscious of that as well.

Was there anyone in extended that you believe could have began the year in Eugene?

Bronswell Patrick: The kid I have seen is Rafeal Arias. He was throwing strikes, getting ahead, shown a real slider with a fastball that sits 94-95. He is a guy who could have come up here and helped out. He is a young kid. I don't know if coming up here and having this crowd would make a difference. It is not the same as it is in Arizona. As far as his stuff, I think he could compete up here.

Miles Mikolas hasn't had a great debut season. Have you see the improvements through the year?

Bronswell Patrick: Mikolas has been much better with his breaking ball. The fastball has been up in the zone. When he makes the adjustment to get the ball, he throws the ball really well.

This is like spring training for a lot of kids. We protect our pitchers to begin the season.

You mentioned Pedro Hernandez not meeting expectations. Does the age disparity become part of it as well?

Bronswell Patrick: Pedro was not pitching the way he pitched in extended. A lot of it had to do with these are older guys up here. WHen you leave pitches up in the zone here in this league, guys don't miss. That is what happened. Some of his pitches were up in the zone. His changeup too. His changeup was his bread and butter pitch down in extended but he left it up here and was getting hit hard.

He will bounce back. He need to regain the confidence and he will be fine. He needs to work down in the zone and use his off-speed pitches to keep the hitters off their stride.

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