Padres Prospect Interview: Michael Watt

San Diego Padres prospect Michael Watt took everything to heart last season and his confidence suffered. He has matured immensely in the past year, using the guitar to help free his mind of concern.

Is there a correlation between guitar playing and pitching?

Michael Watt: It does get you a little centered. I played a bit before pitching yesterday. It gets you in a real non-thinking mindset and I think it does help. When I may be struggling with baseball, I can play guitar and get my mind off it. I definitely think that it helps me out.

Last year to this year, you are two different people. Who was the person last year? Do you recognize that guy anymore?

Michael Watt: Absolutely. Last year I was really down on myself. I was really lost. Then I think I really found myself and since then I have pushing every day - even on the bad days. I am a lot stronger of a person that I was last year. The biggest improvement is the mental improvement, but physically I feel better as well.

Do you recognize when you might be having a bad outing. Does it become a pitch to pitch, I can better with the next pitch?

Michael Watt: Yes. When I have a bad outing, I get really caught up with what is going on in the moment. When you start thinking about things that have already happened or are out of your control. Typically, when I have found myself having good outings, you are not really worried about anything that has happened, good or bad. My sole concern is the next pitch I am making.

Is that also in line with the mechanics of your throws? You do not want it to be a game by game change that you need to make. You want to self-correct.

Michael Watt: Yes. I have found that sometimes I start getting negative and I feel for things that are wrong in my mechanics and that only hurts me more. I think when I have a positive outlook about how my mechanics are going to be, it seems that the body follows the mind. It is always mental before it is physical.

You have this routine that after you throw a pitch, you get it back from the catcher, you take a little circle around the mound.

Michael Watt: I know. Someone was saying that to me yesterday that I was taking a really long time between pitches. I would say that I do that more when I have lost my mindset and I am trying to get my focus back. It is not really a conscious thing that I do, it is more about focus. Yesterday it was so hot out I was really trying to catch my breath and stay focused for every pitch without feeling tired.

Would you rather pitch in the cold? Obviously, this is Fort Wayne and there are some cold months here, but baseball is a summer season.

Michael Watt: That is one of those things you cannot control no matter what. Yesterday I was thinking of whether I would rather be in the cold. I really could not tell you that. It is a tough one to answer.

What are you working on these days so you can take that next step and get to Lake Elsinore and beyond?

Michael Watt: My consistency and mindset. One of my goals is that after a bad outing, I can make it not affect me if I have done everything I could have up to that outing. I want to be able to respond, even after the game and the next day, to keep a positive attitude. I would like to do the same thing with a good outing. I wouldn't want a good outing to affect me where I started thinking this game is easy. I want to keep the same mindset and make that an independent thought regardless of whether I have done well or poorly.

Doesn't the stuff, whether it has improved, get refined as well.

Michael Watt: Yes, but that is along the same lines as consistency and repeating everything with subtle improvements every day. I am trying to get a little better every day.

We know you have a lot of great teammates here. Is there somebody who might be undervalued for the things they do for this club, whether it is leadership or a diminished role?

Michael Watt: I would say Hayden Beard, the "Big Dog" in the bullpen. He brings a lot of chemistry to the team. He is a talkative guy and he makes it a fun atmosphere. He keeps everybody real loose and I believe he is undervalued for that reason.

What are the 2010 goals from here on out? We are halfway into the season.

Michael Watt: Keep working as hard as I can every outing. Keep battling and not give into anything. Keep trying as hard as I can everyday.

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