Padres Prospect Interview: Dexter Carter

A new year and a new start for San Diego Padres prospect Dexter Carter. He is back in Fort Wayne but has a new attitude that he will bring to the hill each time out.

New year, new start for you?

Dexter Carter: Definitely. I'm excited about this year. I'm looking forward to starting a new season.

What was the off-season like? How did you prepare for this season?

Dexter Carter: First of all, it was very cold. We really had a lot of snow during this off-season, so I was inside a lot, throwing a lot inside. I worked out at Old Dominion in the practice gym. They made it to the second round of the NCAA, just to let you know.

Yeah, it was kind of rough in the off-season because I really didn't have a lot of time to throw outside because it was so cold out. So, we threw inside. Me and Dan Hudson from the White Sox threw inside a lot. So, that's basically how we started off.

How do you find the success that you had at Kannapolis last year and bring it over to this organization?

Dexter Carter: I feel like coming into it, I was a little nervous about the whole trade situation. I really didn't know what was going on. Now, I've played with a lot of these guys, I feel more comfortable with everybody, and everybody feels comfortable around me. I know how they play. They know how I play. So, it'll be a little bit easier this year.

Do you feel like there was ever a time where you had too much focus on strikeouts and not enough on just contact?

Dexter Carter: I don't know. I think, for me, the strikeouts just come once I get 1-2, as long as I'm ahead of the count. I think the strikeouts come when I'm up in the count. That's when I definitely get in trouble. I know that for a fact.

Do you feel like you need to fill out more? And, as you fill out, maybe gain a little bit more weight?

Dexter Carter: I think so. I'm trying to gain a little bit of weight. It's hard out here in the sun every single day, sweating and running. It's a little tough on the body.

I think it's more along the lines of eating right. It's not junk food, healthier foods. The more healthy foods you eat, it's healthy weight. Instead of nasty fats and all that stuff you're not supposed to have.

It seemed like you were working last year at getting a little more downhill play on the ball. Has that been a focus?

Dexter Carter: Yeah, that's definitely been the focus. It's been a focus all my life. I'm just trying to get it there. I think if I can get it there, one of these days, I might be in the big leagues. I think the key is more along the lines of trying to stay on top of the ball and make the ball backspin. If you put a backspin on the ball, it's definitely going to have to be on the downward plane.

What's been the cleaning up of the mechanics for you? What changes have you undergone since entering the Padres system?

Dexter Carter: On the mound, I stand a little bit wider than I normally did. I think when I was standing closer together, when I would step back, my whole body would start rocking all the way back. As soon as my body started rocking, as soon as I'd lift up, my momentum was taking me toward third base, instead of taking me toward home plate.

That's the cross-body motion, basically. Too much strain in the arm, could you feel it? Does it feel more comfortable now?

Dexter Carter: It feels more comfortable now. It's a whole lot cleaner. It's a little bit easier to do changeups and off-speed pitches when you're not across your body as much.

Do you need to commit to the changeup? You mentioned the changeup just there.

Dexter Carter: I think I do. One of these days, I'm going to have to commit to it. So, I might as well learn now. I think that's going to be a huge focus.

How has it progressed?

Dexter Carter: It's actually progressed very well, according to Cooch (roving pitching coordinator Mike Couchee). Even though I still think it's not that well. He's told me it's coming along. So, I just keep throwing it.

How do you measure the success of a pitch?

Dexter Carter: What the hitter does, if the hitter swings over it. The hitter lets you know. In any type of game situation, the hitter will let you know how your stuff is that day. If they are swinging three balls, it's good that day. If they're flying balls up, it's not that good that day.

When I talked to Bob Cluck, who's now a former consultant, he said you're the sleeper of the bunch. When you hear something like that, how does it make you feel?

Dexter Carter: It makes me feel good. It just lets me know that it's still in the back of their mind, that somebody thinks I still have a chance to make it to the top. It's always good when you've got guys behind you and guys that are cheering you on, rooting you, trying to push you to get there. So, that's always a good thing.

You mentioned adapting when you first came into the system. Mentally? Physically?

Dexter Carter: I think the mental part. I was physically in shape for it, but the mental part, I was just out there. I didn't know what to think. I was just like, "I got traded. Is that a good thing or a bad thing?" As the year progressed, I sat down and thought about it and I was like, "You know what? It's actually a good thing. Somebody else wanted me. Even though the White Sox drafted me, somebody else wanted me." So, that's a good thing.

What are the 2010 goals?

Dexter Carter: A push on having a very high expectation of myself. I would like to push 200 strikeouts, throw about 165-170 innings, somewhere around there. I would also like to have my walk to strikeout ratio about 7-to-1.

Seven-to-one. That's pretty bold.

Dexter Carter: That's pretty bold. You have to push it some kind of way. If you have your goals way too low, they're too easy to accomplish. You have to set your goals high. I'd like to be in the big leagues tomorrow, just to say that's my goal. I might not make it, but that goal might push me into Double-A or maybe even Triple-A. That's how I set my goals.

We all know you have a lot of great teammates and this does not take away from anyone you don't mention. If you could have one pitch from anyone of your teammates to put into your own arsenal, what would it be, from who, and why?

Dexter Carter: I would say Nick Schumacher, the cutter. Everybody that swings over his cutter, and if they hit it, it will break their bet. I need that.

Who is the one hitter that you are glad you have as a teammate and why?

Dexter Carter: I would say Kellen Kulbacki, because I had to face him in college. It's not fun, not fun at all. I only faced him once, and I think I got him to roll over. I'm seen him hit a couple of balls with an aluminum bat that were just hit way too hard. I'm glad I don't have to deal with that anymore.

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