Padres Prospect Interview: Jorge Reyes

Jorge Reyes excited the San Diego Padres with the precision of his pitches, his quick tempo and mentality. In year two, the right-hander could be in line for a quick rise in the prospect ranks.

You went out to the instructional league – what was the primary focus for you?

Jorge Reyes: The coaches told me to go out there and focus on the changeup. I pretty much threw just fastball/changeup. They did say I could throw the slider if I was ahead in the count to finish someone off.

Bronswell Patrick told me I was kind of gliding my hips towards home plate before I reached my highest point. We tried to fix it but then they came back and said whatever I was doing before is the way I should be pitching because it was working. I had looked uncomfortable.

At the same time, I am working on my delivery. It is a little slower but still aggressive. I feel like it is more downhill when I slow down. And the changeup – those are the two things I am working on.

You signed late, coming in right before the deadline. Did you always know you were going to sign?

Jorge Reyes: Actually, no. During the season, there were some good things and some bad things. I spoke with my family and while we thought it would be a good thing to sign, we also knew school would be good too. I didn't really know what the situation was with the offer. I thought I was good enough to go a little higher. It didn't happen.

I decided to go out to the Cape and just play baseball and have fun. Whatever happens would happen. I was actually not thinking I was going to sign. It came down, legitimately, to the wire.

Were you happy to get that signing process out of the way where you could simply focus on baseball?

Jorge Reyes: For sure. I was out with a couple of buddies when I got the call. I actually said, ‘No, I am not going to do it.' Then I changed my mind quickly and said, ‘Yes, I am going to do it.' As soon as I said yes, my agent said, ‘Ok, this is the last call.' I took a fresh breath – a deep breath – and decided it was time to do this. This is my job now. It was definitely relieving, and it has been fun.

You mentioned working on the changeup. How do you measure the success of a pitch?

Jorge Reyes: Usually you will know if it isn't good because it ends up at the backstop. I threw a first-pitch changeup to a hitter in instructs and broke his bat on a foul ball. That was a good thing. That made me feel good. That pitch made me confident for the rest of my time in instructs. I threw a lot of changeups. There was one where I gave up a base hit but it was still down and away so I deemed it successful.

You are a guy who is tough on yourself. How do you get away from that and let things slide off your back more easily?

Jorge Reyes: That is definitely something that – I completely understand...in college, I felt a lot of pressure because there were three guys in the rotation, and if you were one of those guys than you pretty much had to win a game for your team. In professional baseball, you need to forget things pretty quick. You can have one bad inning and still go out and shut the opposition down for the next six innings. I am learning to do that and have seen the success so far.

You had a successful start to your career with Eugene and in a comfortable setting where some friends could cheer you on.

Jorge Reyes: I did have some buddies come down but they did not get to see me throw because three of my starts were on the road. When I wasn't pitching, I had a couple of friends come down to go out to dinner. It was fun and the crowd there was nice.

How have you matured from high school through college to professional baseball?

Jorge Reyes: I am definitely real happy I went to Oregon State. I am happy about my three years there because it has helped me prepare for the situation I am in now. In high school, I kind of played baseball because there was nothing better to do. Going to Oregon State, I battled through some tough things. I have had good times and bad times.

Thankfully, everything has been great (in the Padres system). I am sure there will be some tough times, but I have been through enough to know how to get out of them.

Do you feel like you have to continually stay aggressive with your pitching. At Oregon State, were there times where you were too passive?

Jorge Reyes: Actually, yes. I don't know what the difference was. I felt that when I went out to Cape Cod and pitched against the wood bat and with Eugene against the wood bat, I could use a lot more fastballs. You can get away with more fastballs than when you are pitching against metal bats. I think that is one of those successes – throwing a fastball inside against a wood bat and knowing when I want to finish guys off with the slider I can do it.

The aggressiveness thing has actually been an advantage. People have thought it would be a disadvantage because sometimes I get frustrated. I have actually slowed down my delivery but sped up the process in the way I pitch. It has been successful so far.

I talked to Greg Riddoch after the season, and he came away impressed. He said you were one of the best arms he had seen all year – yet you were only there for a handful of starts. What does that kind of statement say?

Jorge Reyes: I called my parents because I was pretty excited to hear something like that from him. He has been in the game for 45 years, been a big league manager. That is what you want to do – impressive the people you are playing for so you can move up.

I got to move up to Lake Elsinore but didn't throw. That was a great experience.

He is a smart guy. He told me what I had to do on the mound with scenarios and pitching stuff. I enjoyed my time with him.

You had five double play grounders in three games. What has these guys rolling over?

Jorge Reyes: I don't know. In college, I think people were looking at strikeout ratio and wanted that number to be up. The coaches here told me, ‘If you are getting outs, I don't care if it is a strikeout or a ground ball. It is an out.'

In high school, I liked to see the strikeout-to-walk ratio. That is still important but here they put out a stat of fly ball to ground ball percentage. I thought that is something I can try and work on.

I don't know why they are rolling over but I like it.

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