Padres Prospect Interview: Cory Luebke

The San Diego Padres are looking for big things from left-hander Cory Luebke. He showed a revamped delivery last year and found success. That has been apparent again this year. He might just find his next stop is the big leagues if he continues to progress as quickly as he has thus far.

Let's start with Major League Camp. What was the experience like for you?

Cory Luebke: It was neat. Of course, I was glad to get the invite. I got the meet the coaching staff up there and all the other guys. Everybody was great. They welcomed us with open arms. I was happy to be over there. But, now it's time to get back at it again.

What kind of advice can you take down and use through this season?

Cory Luebke: Well, I just had an opportunity there to face some Big League hitters. I think if anything, it gets the nerves out of the way. If things work well and I keep working hard, and I get a chance up there, some of those first jitters, I'll be able to deal with a little better.

Do you feel like a veteran or two took you under their wing, gave you some good advice?

Cory Luebke: I think they all treated us like we were one of their own. I think that was one of the great things about it. I talked to some of my buddies in other organizations, and they didn't feel like they were always a part of it. Everybody over there was great. Everyone from Chris Young all the way down to some of the younger guys on the team. It was good experience.

Last year, you went from Elsinore, San Antonio, to the world. Talk a little bit about each stop along the way and how you've grown as a pitcher. You seemed to come together last year.

Cory Luebke: I think it was a matter of getting my new delivery down and figuring out how I needed to pitch and succeed. I think a lot of it was getting consistent with my delivery. I'd always went at guys. When things would go wrong in the past, I didn't always know what was going on. I kind of have a good grasp on my delivery now, so I can feel when things are getting out of whack. It doesn't take me as long to correct when things are going wrong.

When we talked when you first got drafted, you mentioned that you didn't really have a pitching coach. How much has everything changed since you were drafted and how much have you grown?

Cory Luebke: Yeah. Pitching-wise, if you were to see a video of me when I was drafted compared to now, it doesn't even look like the same pitcher out there. I've been fortunate with some of the coaches I've had along the way to pound those things in me that I needed to change. Things have gone well. I'm happy where I am.

Is there a specific pitch you want to work on improving this year?

Cory Luebke: This year, they want me to work on my arm-side fastball a little bit more. I got in the habit of pitching guys with my fastball a lot last year. Just commanding both sides of the plate with my fastball. The changeup is progressing pretty well. I'm pretty happy with that. Pretty much all the pitches, just being able to locate them in all quadrants of the plate has been a big thing.

Do you have goal expectations?

Cory Luebke: It's just to go out and show some consistency. I know my first year I came out and did well and took some steps back the next year. Then, I kind of rebounded here. I just want to show I can do it year in and year out. I think if I can do that, I think things will take care of themselves in the long run.

Talk about the experience facing Team China, Cuba. You had a no-hitter going into the eighth inning going against one of those teams.

Cory Luebke: Yeah. It was neat. In minor league ball, you play so many games, you forget what it's like to go out every day where winning is the most important thing. I'm not saying winning isn't important, but we're all here to develop and work on things. Over there, it was a do or die situation. Either you won your games or you went home. They put a great team together, good all around team. We just went out and played. All that mattered was winning. It wasn't like you had a schedule when you were going to pitch. It was like, if we need you today, you're going to go. That was different. It was fun.

Was it like bringing the adrenaline back into the game? It seems like you'd get stale sometimes. The Minors have a long season.

Cory Luebke: I think that would be a good way to put it. I'm not saying the minors are stale, but it was 14-15 games where either you won or it didn't matter. Even some of the older guys on the team were saying it was like being back in little league. It didn't matter how many runs you gave up. All that mattered was the next inning and how well you did the next time you went out.

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?

Cory Luebke: I don't know. We have some guys with some good pitches. Anywhere from Ryan Webb's 86 mile per hour curveball to Wade LeBlanc's changeup, there are some guys who have some good stuff. I think everybody is their own pitcher. I just have to find my pitch that I can make my own is the best way to put it.

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

Cory Luebke: There are good guys like Mitch Canham as far as at the plate, but he's just a good clubhouse guy. There are guys that make it a little easier to come to the park every day.

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