Padres Prospect Interview: Nick Schmidt

Everyone expected to Nick Schmidt to be more like a first-round talent in 2010, as the San Diego Padres prospect moved further away from surgery.

Talk a little bit about the Fort Wayne success last season. You come off surgery, and you really got rolling in Fort Wayne to begin that year.

Nick Schmidt: It's really just getting my arm back healthy. At times, it was going good. At times, it was going bad. I think my arm reflected that, when I'd be pain-free and when I wasn't. It was a long road. There were some struggles, and there was some good in there. It's a learning process and that's kind of how I took it.

Did you feel like you hit a wall at Lake Elsinore as you were going toward that 100-inning plateau?

Nick Schmidt: Yeah, definitely. I got there and I felt pretty strong, but the ball just wasn't coming out like I wanted it to. I wasn't getting the results that I was wanting. In that league, there's not really room for error. The ball really travels, and unfortunately I got hurt. I think I definitely did hit a wall. That happens.

Were you almost glad to take a break and just kind of work on a couple things on the side and not worry about stuff here?

Nick Schmidt: Yeah. Pretty much, once I got shut down, I thought well, I can start my off season, because from surgery, it was almost two years straight of getting back, rehab, and throwing. I never really had a down period all season, so this year I really took the time to let my arm rest and then worked on mechanics and stuff like that.

So, how do you feel this this year with Lake Elsinore? Where do you feel you are at?

Nick Schmidt: I don't feel like my arm strength is totally back still, but I feel good. I just want to keep working on mechanics, and getting everything squared away, so that when my arms does come back, I'm full strength, ready to go.

When you say work on mechanics is there something specific you feel like you're doing or needs to be corrected?

Nick Schmidt: No, it's just repeating my delivery. I think it's important for you to be able to throw strikes, and I'm just going to try to get that down, so when my arm is healthy, I'm full role.

It seemed like there were times where the fastball command has wavered a bit. There were times when it was really good, and other times when it wasn't. Does that go back to the repeating mechanics?

Nick Schmidt: Yeah, I think it does. It also comes back to your arm feeling different. At times, I thought I lost my arm slide, and I was fighting for that and wasn't focusing on where my pitch was going. I think you really need to buy in to focus and everything falls in its place.

What has been the slider progression? That's been something you wanted to work on even prior to surgery.

Nick Schmidt: Yeah. I've been really inconsistent with that. I've really focused on working on that and getting consistent with that throw whenever I wanted it. It's getting there. It's definitely not where I wanted it to be, but it's well on its way.

Do you play around with different grips when something like that is going on and you're trying to get that perfect feel for it?

Nick Schmidt: Yeah, you talk to different guys who've had success and see how they throw it. You try to take little tidbits off them, and learn.

One thing that Tom Bradley said was that he wanted to see you throwing inside more. Do you feel like you didn't throw inside enough?

Nick Schmidt: Yeah, I definitely didn't. That's how I lived in college. I pounded people inside. I think my success is from that. Last year, feeling for the ball, I couldn't really command. This year, I'm going to get back to that and focus on that.

When Tom Bradley says to me, "Nick Schmidt knows how to pitch," what does he mean?

Nick Schmidt: I just feel like at Arkansas, I was fortunate to have an awesome pitching coach. He really taught me the ins and outs. Talking to older guys and learned from them how they pitch, you get a sense of what pitches to throw when – not that I totally understand all that. I kind of feel like I have a sense when it does. Like I said, just learning and talking to guys and soaking it all in.

One thing that Razor said was that he wanted to see more follow-through on the pitches. Do you feel like you were almost pulling yourself up short?

Nick Schmidt: Yeah, I think that was part of it. I was more focused on my arm, figuring out what wasn't going to make it hurt and almost babying it. I'm past surgery, it's healed, now it's just go out and pitch.

He says that it's a convincing you kind of thing. You have good stuff, but you're almost a non-believer. Does that go back to trusting yourself after the surgery?

Nick Schmidt: Yeah, I mean, that's kind of part of it. I've had doubts I wasn't healed. I had doubts that I wasn't going to get back to where I was. But, I'm healed and I will get back to where I was. That's my sentiment right now. The past is the past. It happened, but now it's time to move forward.

When did the mentality change?

Nick Schmidt: I think this off-season. I've never been hit around like I got hit last year, and it just didn't sit well with me all off season. It's time to get moving.

You're somewhat of a visual guy. You like to see something almost before you believe it. Is that a fair assessment?

Nick Schmidt: Yeah, that's definitely it. I like to picture in my mind what's going to happen and then go out there and make that happen. Rather than just hoping for the best and seeing what happens.

Does that make video one of your best friends, just to go back and look?

Nick Schmidt: Yeah, because you can go back and look. Video doesn't lie, so I really like that.

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?

Nick Schmidt: I like Aaron Breit's curveball. Breit's got a pretty darn good curveball. If I could swap him a pitch or two, I'd like that. He's got a pretty good curveball.

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

Nick Schmidt: Forsythe. Logan Forsythe. I was fortunate to play with him in college. He just comes to the ballpark ready to play. He's fear in the box. He's definitely a good hitter.

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