Padres Prospect Interview: Chris Fetter

San Diego Padres prospect Chris Fetter was moved up to Fort Wayne for the playoffs where he got two crucial starts. It showed the confidence the Friars had in him. Now, his goal is to take his game to the next level with a focus on off-speed pitches.

What were you working on during your time at the Padres Instructional League?

Chris Fetter: I really came out there to work on the off-speed. Our ideas of the slider were a little bit different. When I was in Fort Wayne, I was thinking I needed a slightly loopier one – one that you could see. (Mike Couchee) Couch and the guys wanted a tight breaking one that I shouldn't even be able to see when I am throwing the ball. We worked on that. It was a different idea, and once we got on the same page, it started to work well for me.

What was it like going to the Auxiliary Fall League for a game – where the competition is enhanced?

Chris Fetter: It was my first experience going up there. The competition is tougher and you had to be that much more refined. It was a good experience. Those will be the batters I am facing next year. It was nice to see what I needed to work on.

I didn't really work on my changeup as much as I would have liked but the slider was there. I threw a few good ones and was able to spot the fastball. That is what I need to do to keep moving up. It was a good experience.

What was it like to win the Midwest League championship and play a pivotal role in the playoffs?

Chris Fetter: There was nothing better. I have won three Big Ten championships and the one in Fort Wayne ranks right up there. That team in Fort Wayne was a special team. Everyone was pulling for each other. It wasn't like you expect from pro ball where everyone is pulling for themselves. It was a true team. It was a joy to be a part of.

As far as playing in the playoffs, it showed a lot of confidence in me. In turn, I was excited that they had that much confidence in me. It was exciting to come in and start that third game of the first round. It was a tough situation. It was exciting. It was nice to be seen that high in their eyes.

Hopefully, next spring, I can come out and keep impressing.

Not that we expect you to close out games in the future, but what was that experience like?

Chris Fetter: Closing in Eugene was a great experience. I told them that it was fun coming to the park everyday knowing you might be pitching. I have never done it in my whole career. It was exciting. You come out there, your adrenaline is going, and you let it all go. It was a blast. I had a great time doing it. I wouldn't say that I would rather do it but you always keep your options open.

How different was it to come into the game with inherited runners for the first time in your career?

Chris Fetter: It was completely different. You don't want to be the guy to give up that guy's runs. At the same time, it is not your responsibility that they got on base. You have to pitch your own game and hopefully shut them down.

I think there is one time where I let an inherited run, but other than that, I think I didn't a pretty good job from keeping those inherited runners from scoring. It is completely different. It helped round me out as a pitcher.

You didn't allow a homer all year. How important is that to stay away from the long ball?

Chris Fetter: As long as you keep the ball down, you are going to limit those homers. I did give up one in the playoffs in South Bend. If you can keep the home runs totals down – that is an easy run for them. Most of the time, they have to string hits together and you won't give up as many runs. Try and keep the ball down and let them ground it out or pop it up.

You were able to limit your walks during the course of the season. Is there such a thing as throwing too many strikes?

Chris Fetter: I think there is. It sometimes depends on the type of hitters you are facing. If you are going against someone that squares up good strikes, you have to show them a fastball inside to get them off the plate and make them uncomfortable up there. If you are throwing strike after strike after strike, they are going to get into a comfort zone where they are not worrying about the baseball. There has to be a fear in the hitter's mind of that baseball.

There were times when I threw too many strikes and gave up too many hits. A couple of times in Fort Wayne, I felt like that. I would rather throw strikes than be wild.

How tough is it for you, or do you find it easier, to keep those mechanics in line as a tall pitcher?

Chris Fetter: When I was in college, I was doing over the top and sidearm. Going from one delivery to the next, it was hard to keep that repetition of good form.

Since I have been here, I have been over the top. I noticed in my third or fourth start that I was able to get more comfortable and repeat that delivery. That is what everyone is looking for – to be able to repeat the delivery and be able to throw strikes.

In time, just keeping at it, I will be even more comfortable and continue to get better.

Will you be able to get away with throwing 75- to 80-percent fastballs in the future?

Chris Fetter: Definitely not. That is something we are going to keep working on and something I am working on this off-season. Throwing that changeup and getting a good grasp of that – if I am able to do that and keep it looking like my fastball, that will really help my overall game.

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