Lezcano on Storm pitching prospects

Carlos Lezcano saw some impressive arms come through the San Diego Padres Lake Elsinore affiliate where he manages. We discussed the high profile pitching prospects that came through High-A.

You have Anthony Bass who arrived late in the year. What did you see from Anthony?

Carlos Lezcano: Well, Anthony is a gifted kid. He was a little tired too when he came here. First start, he had two innings here and two innings there then three, then he went back to five.

He's got a good slider and changeup. He's a competitor. I think he also was a little tired here at the end. He's a prospect.

Aaron Breit did a really good job as a starter after beginning the year in the bullpen.

Carlos Lezcano: He's a tall kid that throws the 90s, nice curveball. It's just a matter of experience and getting him innings and learning how to win games. He has a low ERA and he got some losses, but he just needs to learn what it takes to win games and then he'll be fine.

Jeremy Hefner was a bulldog for you. He always took the ball and went deep into games.

Carlos Lezcano: He's got a good curveball, fastball, change. He had a slider that we took away from him. He was very good at the end. He struggled early then got better as the year went along. That's what you like to see.

He's got a plus curveball, an above average curveball. All these kids down here need to work on their fastball command. That is why they are in A-ball. Because if they had fastball command, they'd be in the big leagues. For him, I would think it's his fastball command, and when he gets that down, with that curveball and the change, the sky's the limit.

You acquired Craig Italiano via trade and you used him out of the bullpen after he spent the year starting and he was really good for the Storm.

Carlos Lezcano: Yes, he came in and he was outstanding. He just goes out there and throws all he's got for an inning or two and he's done.

He throws kind of a low three-quarters. The main thing with him is to make sure that slider breaks, has downward movement and doesn't stay flat on him .If he does that, he's throws 94, 95 – sometimes 96 – he's tough to hit. It was a good acquisition on that trade.

Were you surprised he wasn't a little more over the top given his height?

Carlos Lezcano: I don't know his past. He may have had problems with his delivery in the past. Sometimes you throw guys down a little bit and they become a lot better. He was a starter before and he was not as dominant as he is in the bullpen now.

You had Corey Kluber early in the year before he was promoted. What did you see out of Corey?

Carlos Lezcano: Corey was very inconsistent. First of all, we did not score too many runs with this guy. Like I said with most of these guys – the fastball command has to be there.

He's got a good arm. He's got a big league arm. It's just a matter bringing it altogether. It didn't go his way here too good, we didn't score too many runs for him.

What was the difference you saw in the Cory Luebke this year compared to the Cory Luebke from last year?

Carlos Lezcano: A lot different guy. He started here last year and we had to send him to Fort Wayne.

He came aggressively. He's always been a hard worker, but he pitched aggressively got a nice downward plane on the ball. He used to have a double tap in his delivery, last year. This year, he didn't have that anymore. It helped him get on top of the ball and keep a downward plane. He was very aggressive with the fastballs, especially inside to right-handed hitters.

He was outstanding. He was our most valuable pitcher of the year here. This kid just pitched a great game in the World Cup that they are playing in Spain somewhere and he's going to be a big league pitcher.

He's a hard worker, I could tell – he keeps his notebook. He's always upbeat. He's working hard. It was nice to see him succeed. The way he went about his business – it was outstanding.

Prior to his injury, Jeremy McBryde was having a very successful season as well.

Carlos Lezcano: He hurt his lower back, but he was having an outstanding year. He's got a heavy ball. He throws a heavy ball; it has some sink to it. Guys never took good swings on him, but he just got hurt. We'll see how he comes back after that injury.

Bryan Oland, your closer. He followed up what he did last year with another solid season.

Carlos Lezcano: He's got that split, sometimes he throws it hard, sometimes he doesn't throw it as hard. It's like a changeup to go with a low-90s fastball.

What I like about him is he's not fazed about anything. He just goes in there and goes after the hitter. A lot of people got good arms, but they can't be closers because they can't handle the mental part of it, but he can. He did a very good job all year long.

Wynn Pelzer – did you feel like he was a guy that was nibbling too much? He was near the top in strikeout but also near the top in walks.

Carlos Lezcano: He's another guy, he's got such a good arm and a lot of movement on his fastball. He's another guy that needs to work on that fastball command. The last two outings he had he threw two seven-strong innings, one against San Jose and the last one against Rancho Cucamunga and then we got eliminated in the playoffs.

This kid has got the best stuff-wise on our staff, the most electric arm. A true competitor. He works hard.

We moved him from the first base out of the rubber to the third base out of the rubber. He's getting used to that. He has a better angle on the right-handed hitters. This kid, like I say, once he commands the fastball, he's going to be there.

Nick Schmidt – was he just tired at the end of the year?

Carlos Lezcano: Yes, we didn't see the real Nick Schmidt here. I know he had a very good first half at Fort Wayne.

When he came in here, he struggled a little with his command, the fastball wasn't there. I think he just got tired, just coming off of surgery.

He got around 100 innings and that's enough. That is enough. We shut him down. Mission accomplished getting 100 innings after surgery, that's good enough right there. With the winter program that he's going to have, we'll see how he comes back in spring training. He might be there, he might still not be. I think he just got tired.

Nick Vincent was your most used guy out of the bullpen as the righty and Colt Hynes was the same as your lefty. You called them both in nearly every situation imaginable.

Carlos Lezcano: They did a good job getting me to my setup man and my closer. Vincent did a pretty good job for us as my righty, and Colt Hynes did a great job as the lefty. The situational guys to get me to my setup guys. They did a good job all year.

Nick went on the DL. I don't know what's wrong with him, I don't remember, but after that, he was very good. He did a good job, him and Hynes too from the bullpen.

Carlos Lezcano: Let me just add – when the fans are reading this, be patient. There are a lot of players coming. Be patient. There are growing pains in the big leagues with the young guys you are seeing now but they get better. They get nervous and may not succeed right away but we need to be patient with these guys. We have an even better group of guys coming.

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