Padres Prospect Interview: Noah Mull

The San Diego Padres took a player who struck out over 13 batters per nine innings in college. Yet, Noah Mull lasted until the 38th-round. His height may have contributed but no one is denying the size of his heart and desire.

Congratulations on getting selected by the Padres. What was your overall feeling after you saw your name pop up?

Noah Mull: I actually did not see it. I had stopped watching the draft and was a little depressed, thinking that they were not going to call my name. We left my house and went driving around. We came back and I was in my room, watching television, and then my Dad came down the hall, walked in the door, and said, "Well, the Padres just took you." I was in shock for a minute, but it was awesome.

I imagine it was rather agonizing and you are happy that it is over?

Noah Mull: Yes. It is such a weight to be lifted off my shoulders. I wanted a chance and I did not care where I got picked. I told them at the pre-draft workout in Cincinnati that I was not looking for money and I knew my situation being a senior. I wanted to get in the organization and learn as much as I can and advance as much as I can while helping the team.

Obviously I know you are a sidearmer, but talk a little bit about your repertoire and the pitches you throw.

Noah Mull: I only throw two pitches from the sidearm. I go over the top and sidearm. My fastball is straight over the top as well as my curveball. My curveball is a 12-6 curve. I am developing a change-up which is also over the top. I drop down for a slider and a sidearm fastball that tails in to lefties. I mainly use those two pitches for lefties. I do use a slider for righties as well, but the sidearm fastball is exclusively for lefties.

Does it make it tough when you are coming from different spots to keep your mechanics in check?

Noah Mull: Sometimes it may later in the game when I may get tired and my legs start to go. My feeling is that they can use me as a reliever or a lefty specialist. The first five innings of a game are no problem because I have been doing it for such a long time. I have gotten comfortable and it really not a big deal early in the game to throw a fastball over the top and then drop down for a slider.

You mentioned that you have been starting. Have you pitched in relief before and how do you make the adjustment where you need to suddenly be ready with your best stuff?

Noah Mull: I threw in relief twice this year. I started eight or nine games and I came in two games in relief. It is a different mentality that you need to have. As a starter you definitely have more time to go through your entire routine, to get stretched out, to do long toss. It takes you longer to get loose. Coming in from the bullpen you need to be ready or get ready quickly and have your stuff sharp just by throwing 15-20 pitches in the bullpen. You need to come and pound it. You definitely do not want to come in and walk a guy.

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

Noah Mull: They have always said that they feel extremely comfortable when I am on the ground. When I am on the mound we have a pretty good chance of winning - at least that is what happened this year. Being a senior, they have asked me to be a leader, but I am a quiet leader who leads by example. When I am on the mound, I am extremely focused and I do not show any emotion. I am out there and even when things do not go my way, I keep it bottled up inside. I believe I have a good mound presence.

You struck out over 13 batters per nine innings. What is the strikeout pitch?

Noah Mull: I have a hammer for a curveball. It is probably my best pitch. It looks like a fastball coming in and drops out of the zone. I have a lot of pitches that people swing at which are balls in the dirt that were definitely not strikes. I am not saying that I can't locate a pitch, but when I want them to chase, I can get them to chase. It is a little different throwing with the balls that they have since they have a little bit less seams so I may not have as much break. However, during the pre-draft workouts I went to, I threw my curve and it was still quite good. That is my strikeout pitch. For lefties, it is a slider. I throw the slider right at them and it comes pretty much right across the plate and freezes them. My curve is my strikeout but I can spot a fastball and get the slider over.

Who would you compare yourself to at the Major League level to give Padres fans a sense of who you are about?

Noah Mull: As you probably know, I am not the biggest guy in the world and have never been - 5'10", 175 lbs. I love watching Lincecum pitch because a lot of people said he would not amount to anything. He is small but he throws the ball hard and he has a great mentality. The way he acts on the mound is comparable to how I act on the mound. I am not saying I am in any way comparable to the kid - he has two Cy Young's. I also like Mike Leake from Cincinnati. He is definitely a competitor on the mound. He is a small guy and doesn't throw very hard. I would say those two guys.

You didn't pick a lefty. I thought all lefties stuck together?

Noah Mull: I was trying to think of a lefty who was my size. Billy Wagner, but he used to throw a 100 mph. I have no shot with that. I can only get it up to 94 mph sometimes.

If there is a weakness in your game, what do you think it is that you need to improve on?

Noah Mull: My changeup. A lot of people have been telling me that. I have been working on it for a year and half. Before, I never really had to use one. I had finally gone out of the Ohio Valley, played in a wooden bat league in Cincinnati my junior season and the Great Lakes League the year after that. Being around Division I kids and coming from a small Division 2 school, I knew some of my pitches were not going to get by those guys. I had never really had a pitching coach and the pitching coach there worked with me a lot to get a change-up. That is my main weakness and I am sure I am going to get some great pitching coaching all throughout the Padres organization. I can work on that and get the change-up into my repertoire.

It seems like people are always looking for big, physical tools. Do you feel you have to continue to prove everyone wrong?

Noah Mull: Absolutely. The big guys stand out and get picked. Me being a little guy, I might get overlooked. But I feel every time I go out to the mound that I have as good a stuff, or maybe better, that a lot of big guys. I throw just as hard they do. You do have to prove yourself. My brother told me that he was reading a blog with Padres fans and they were saying something about my size. You will always have to deal with that. Little guys don't get much love. Hopefully, I will get the respect if I go out there and pitch my game and it goes well.

What are you looking forward to as you head into professional baseball now.

Noah Mull: Learn something new everyday. Work hard everyday. I do not want to be one of those guys who pitches for a couple weeks and gets cut. I have friends who have done that and I have seen how badly it has affected them. I have a great work ethic and I think that will carry me. Hopefully my stuff is good and I can climb the ladder. That is my main goal. I do not want to stay in rookie ball or stay in short season or low A. I know it is a hard road and the odds are stacked against me. I am going to go out there and leave everything on the field.

You mentioned that you were not looking for big money. Talk about the process of signing?

Noah Mull: I am waiting for the packet to come in the mail. Andrew Salvo, the Mid Atlantic scout said it would be in. He was meeting with Jedd Gerko and then came to have lunch with me and to go over everything. I signed it then.

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