Padres pick Barbato admits he is a tough sign

The San Diego Padres selected John Barbato in the sixth-round of the 2010 MLB Draft. Rolling the dice on the Florida commit, Barbato acknowledged that it would be tough to sign him away from his college commitment.

Congratulations on getting drafted, John. What were your initial thoughts on hearing your name called?

John Barbato: Surprise, certainly. I was surprised to be picked by the Padres. It is an honor, and I did not think I would go that high. I am a little awestruck right now

Have you had a chance to think about the commitment you made to Florida at all. It is going to take a lot to make you break that commitment to Florida?

John Barbato: I am not gong to lie, it is going to take a lot. I am certainly looking forward to what they're doing in Florida. They have become such a big program coming out of the SEC. It is going to take a lot. They have a really good coach and they will no doubt get a lot better. It is going to take some money. It is going to take a lot.

How do you balance that with that part of you that wants to go play professional baseball and be associated with that?

John Barbato: It is a dream to play pro ball. But it is also going to take a lot to leave college, to leave Florida especially. We are still early in the process, though. We will wait and see and hopefully it all works out for the better.

Talk a little bit about yourself and the pitches you throw and the speed you throw them.

John Barbato: I am a three pitch guy - I throw a fastball, a curveball, and a change. This spring my fastball was up to 96 mph. Before that, it was probably 92-94 mph. I have good command of all my pitches. I throw a 12-to-6 curveball in the 74-76 mph range and a normal circle changeup. Everybody tells me that I have loose mechanics. That is what they like about me most. I am projectable.

It is not necessarily fair to compare yourself to a major leaguer today, but have you heard comparisons and do people tell you that there is a specific pitcher that you remind them of?

John Barbato: When I mature and when I get that "man weight" as they call it and progress with body weight and muscle mass, people tell me I can look like a Josh Beckett or Josh Johnson because of my mechanics and the way I throw the ball. I am a power pitcher type of guy because of the potential I have.

What would your teammates say about your demeanor on the mound?

John Barbato: They would say it is pretty good. I am not going to lie, our team wasn't great this year as we made a lot of errors. Some people would ask me how I kept it together on the mound after having five or six errors behind me. So they would say my demeanor is pretty good.

Your dad also played baseball, at Middle Tennessee. How has he been able to help you out with this whole process?

John Barbato: He has been my coach my whole life and he has taught me all I know. He has been handling all the calls and the scouts. He is my dad, but he is also my coach. He is the one who has been dealing with all the scouts and all the stress. He's keeping my informed about what is happening.

Whether you go to Padres or end up in Florida, how difficult will it be to branch away from your Dad's teachings and take on a new perspective?

John Barbato: I am always going to live and learn. He has always taught me that I am not better than anybody. It is going to be hard, but I am willing to learn and study other teachings from other people.

Is the focus moving forward on your changeup?

John Barbato: Yes, that is the main thing. The changeup is the biggest pitch in baseball and the best pitch you can throw for strikes. I will be working on that a lot. I will still be working on my other pitches but the changeup is the main focus.

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