Padres Prospect Interview: Brandon Gomes

With three plus pitches, San Diego Padres prospect Brandon Gomes should be well known. He has, however, worked hard to become the player he is today. When teammates are asked what pitch they would love to have in their repertoire, Gomes' name came up as often as Simon Castro. That should tell you something.

What was the Arizona Fall League experience like?

Brandon Gomes: It was a great experience. The most talented collection of hitters that I have ever thrown against. It was also pretty laid back. I met a lot of good guys. You see a lot of guys who are in the big leagues this year. Overall, it was really enjoyable.

How have you matured as a baseball player since coming into the Padres system?

Brandon Gomes: Mostly, learning how to pitch down and attack the zone. Every outing you go out and learn more from the mental side. You learn from your experiences.

It seems like your delivery is more compact than in subsequent seasons. Can you talk a little bit about that.

Brandon Gomes: Last year, working with Webby (pitching coach Steve Webber), he thought out of the windup I had too many moving parts. We looked at it on video. He said, ‘Why don't you try just going out of the stretch.' It really simplified things and allowed me to repeat my delivery. That helped me out, especially in the second half.

Generally, when players move up a level they give hitters too much credit. You didn't do that. Talk about that mentality.

Brandon Gomes: Like we talked about before, that comes from really attacking the zone. I had a talk with Abby (pitching coach Glenn Abbott) about the same thing. Trust your stuff, and as long as it is down in the zone, you will be successful.

You are one of the few hitters in the system that throws a splitter. In the second half, no one could touch it.

Brandon Gomes: It is kind of a weird thing. It had always been more of a changeup in the low-80s range. In the bullpen one day, I really just let it rip. It kind of developed from there and added velocity and bite. I became successful with it.

It has been an evolution with your pitches. Each one has taken the required step forward. What's left?

Brandon Gomes: You can always get better – better control in the zone with both the slider and split-finger. Throwing it for a strike or a ball, backdooring the slider. There is always something to get better at.

How do you measure the success of a pitch?

Brandon Gomes: If you are getting guys out with it, you are probably doing something right. Just keeping the ball down is the number one thing. Don't worry too much about anything else and you will be ok.

Do you feel like you need to improve in holding runners? They had a little bit of success off you last year.

Brandon Gomes: Yes, that is a big thing. I started doing a quickstep a little more in the second half and varying looks. That is something I will continue to work on this year.

Does that change the timing of everything and perhaps take away from something?

Brandon Gomes: Slightly, if you get your weight back, which is the main thing, then everything else has time to catch up. The arm slot and the pitches don't vary much.

What has the late-inning responsibility been like. You came in and were used in a multitude of roles but that has been more clearly defined now.

Brandon Gomes: I love it. I love the adrenaline rush and coming in with guys on base and the game on the line. I feel like it takes my game to the next level. Hopefully, I continue in that role. But, you have to get people out no matter what your role is. That is what I am trying to do.

What are the 2010 goals?

Brandon Gomes: Just go out and try and get people out. Keep improving every day and improve from every outing.

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?

Brandon Gomes: Evan Scribner's curveball is pretty good. It is a 20-mph difference. It is a Bugs Bunny pitch. I would have to go with that one – it is impressive and fun to watch.

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

Brandon Gomes: Watching Craig Cooper hit all last year was unbelievable. The guy is just a machine. He is a tough out every time out. I am really glad I don't have to throw to that guy.

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