Jimmy Jones on AZL Padres pitching prospects

Disappointed in San Diego Padres prospect Adys Portillo? The projection of Keyvius Sampson? A surprise from Deiber Sanchez? Who performed well? We discussed all this and more with AZL Padres pitching coach Jimmy Jones.

Adys Portillo comes into the system as someone that is very highly regarded. He ended up losing nine games with an ERA over 5.00. Was it a disappointing year for Adys?

Jimmy Jones: I don't think so. I didn't see him last year in the instructional league and they said he was throwing 95. He may have hit 94 twice this year and was mainly 91 to 93 mph. I don't know what happened there. I know he has been a little stiff for me. He has never really been fluid.

It wasn't disappointing because of where he was in extended through the end of the year. In extended, he couldn't even get out of an inning. If he was slated for two innings and 40 pitches, he might only get two-thirds of an inning in and already have 30 pitches thrown. He started to get better in June.

He put together six quality starts in a row in July to early August before he just got tired. I remember watching him straighten out his arm a couple of times in mid-August. It made sense because that is when he started struggling again.

I really like him. He is strong, willing to learn, smart, gets along with the guys really well. There are a lot of positives with that guy.

Keyvius Sampson is a guy you didn't get to see a whole lot of at the end of the season and then you got to see him a little in instructs. What were your impressions of him?

Jimmy Jones: We really didn't get to see him a whole lot in instructs either because he was hurt.

I liked him. He is another guy I projected to be in the major leagues in 2013 when he will be 22. Same with Needy – I had Lollis, Needy and Keyvius in the same area.

Keyvius has an idea, he has easy pop on his fastball. He doesn't look like he is throwing 92 or 93 it just comes out of his hand clean. His breaking ball is good. He does throw across his body. He does need to clean that up. That might have been a reason thathe was hurting a little bit in instructs.

He is not afraid to use his changeup. He has an idea of when to use it and how to use it. It is a good pitch. Those three pitches bode well for him.

One guy who surprised me was Deiber Sanchez. He was one of your most consistent pitchers this season.

Jimmy Jones: He had a real good year. Out of everybody, he had the best year. He was one of those guys that did a good job and could throw strikes when he came over in April. He wasn't slated as a starter.

I told Flo (manager Jose Flores) when everyone went to Eugene that we could use him as a starter. ‘He can go out and throw five innings anytime. He is going to throw strikes.He is not going to embarrass us. He has pretty good stuff.'

They wanted other guys to start as well. He turned into a piggyback guy when Steve Garrison would start and other guys too. He would come in and throw three innings. He piggybacked the first half of the season and then started at the end. He ended up doing a really good job.

His stuff may not be as good because he really can flat and collapse as well. It might not be as good as other guys but he is not afraid to throw any pitch at any time, which, to me, is a guy who can get the most out of what he has.

Was there anyone else you saw in instructs or extended who impressed you?

Jimmy Jones: I liked Jorge Reyes. He was in instructs. Jon Berger did a good job for us. I liked Jerry Sullivan. Matt Jackson – I like his curveball better than his slider.

I thought the arms we drafted this year were good. No, ‘Wow, that guy throws 96 with filthy stuff' but a lot of solid guys.

Jeff Ibarra is one of those guys who could be a speciality left-hander. He is kind of like John Candelaria. He slings it up there and throws strikes. He will roll his breaking ball sometimes and has decent life. If he can clean some stuff up and get consistent, he can go up there because he is a lefty with specialty stuff. He is the only lefty I can think of.

Michael Watt worked on some mechanical stuff that really helped him out. I didn't get a chance to see him pitch during the season. He was across his body a good 10 to 12 inches and had trouble throwing inside to righties. He did a really good job in the Instructional League. He got hit a couple of times and abandoned his changeup because he wanted to work on his fastball in to righties. He worked on what he needed to and did a good job.

Robert Poutier and Tom Porter – I like both of those guys. Poutier was hurt most of the season but when he did pitch, he pitched well. Porter is kind of weak right now. He needs to get stronger.

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