Padres Prospect Interview: Anthony Bass

San Diego Padres prospect Anthony Bass was instrumental to the TinCaps first half success in 2009. Now, he is working in the California League – eyeing a better curveball, tighter slider, and an emphasis on a vastly improved changeup.

Anthony, talk to me about when you were in Lake Elsinore last year. Talk a little bit about that experience, in finding that rhythm again. We talked last year when you first were up there, about going two or three innings, and then building back up, and it lead to a little bit higher walk totals.

Anthony Bass: When I went up there, last year, that got me in a little two, three inning type deal. I don't really want to use that as an excuse, because my walks, I think, once I had a talk with Razor, our pitching coach… well, he just settled me down and said keep doing what you've been doing in Fort Wayne. It's going to play here as well. So, I just sat down and spent some time thinking about what I did in Fort Wayne, and just went out there and attacked the glove again.

Did you feel tentative when you first went up to Lake Elsinore? Like, maybe I need to change a little bit, these guys are a little bit better…?

Anthony Bass: No, not really. I didn't think that way at all, and then when I went out in field and I started walking people, I started getting into my head a little bit. And then I just settled right back down and said, ‘Hey, I'm going after these guys again like I did in Fort Wayne.'

We always talk about pitchers setting up the hitter. Does it get to a point where the hitters start trying to set you up?

Anthony Bass: You know, I talked to some hitters, and they're trying to pick out their pitch. They're trying to pick out one pitch before they even come up to the bat. The better hitters do. Sometimes they try to set up the pitcher, try to work him a little bit, and I think it does go both ways.

Manager Doug Dasenzo says that you are a bulldog. What does he mean?

Anthony Bass: You know, I don't know… you have to ask him. But, I go out there, I give everything I have for the team. I just go out there and try to win and hopefully, one day, I can do that up in the big leagues too. So, hopefully, it will keep correlating along the way.

Was there a point last year when maybe you were throwing too many sliders, rather than mixing in all the pitches?

Anthony Bass: I don't think so. I don't really remember, but I don't think so. This year, I'm definitely going to be working on my breaking ball a lot more. My curveball is going to come back, so not so many sliders this year, more or less, but a lot more curveballs.

How important is that pitch sequencing for you?

Anthony Bass: It's awesome. I think the curveball makes my other pitches look that much better… my fastball, my changeup, along with the fact I'm going to start working on a tighter slider, more like a cutter, for a wipe-out pitch.

I talked to a minor league consultant, actually former, now… Bob Cluck. One of the things he said was that you compete. What does that mean?

Anthony Bass: Thank you. That's a compliment, coming from him. I go out there, like I said, I just want to give my team a chance to win. That's what I do, I go out there and try to allow the least amount of runs as possible, and give them a chance to get in and hit, and then I get out of there. Leave the bullpen.

How's the changeup coming along?

Anthony Bass: It's awesome. It's looking very good right now. I'm very comfortable with it. I'm starting to spot it on both sides of the plate, throw it for strikes, or I can bury it when I want to. So, I worked a lot on that this off season, and I'm excited for the season to get going.

When I was in Eugene, I remember, there was a pitcher's batting practice session going, and you were one of those hitters that were pretty darn good. So, are you looking forward to finally making it to Double-A, whether it happens this year at the beginning or end, just to be able to get a chance to get a few hacks in?

Anthony Bass: Yeah. Some of the position players that I'm friends with, they mess with me. They say that I can swing a little bit. I'm just excited to get there and be a little bit closer to the big leagues. Hitting, pitching, I'm just excited to get there.

What did you learn about yourself last year?

Anthony Bass: Well, really, towards the end of the season, your body starts to feel that long, long season. Just this year, I made sure my arm is in tip-top shape right now, and will hopefully keep building as the season goes on, as far as declining.

If you could pick one pitch from one of your fellow teammates, what would it be, who would it be from, and why?

Anthony Bass: If I could pick one pitch to have? Well, there are so many good pitchers. It's tough. I mean, if I had to, I would say, Simon Castro's slider. That's a wipe-out pitch. I talked to him about that. How do you throw it, what do you do. That's probably the one pitch I would have in my repertoire.

Give me one hitter you are glad is a teammate of yours.

Anthony Bass: Like I said, that's tough to say, there are so many good hitters. I mean, Sawyer Carroll is a great hitter, I'm glad he's on my team. James Darnell, shoot, I'm glad I don't have to pitch to him. I can just imagine those guys with aluminum bats in college! Now they have wood bats, and it's like nothing has changed! It was awesome having them behind me.

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