Padres Prospect Interview: Wynn Pelzer

FORT WAYNE, IN: Right-handed pitcher Wynn Pelzer was selected by the Padres in the ninth-round of the 2007 draft out of the University of South Carolina.

He was widely regarded as a steal because many believed that his "stuff" was better than his results with the Gamecocks. Pelzer was a late sign mainly due to a knee injury he suffered in the in the Cape Cod League, ironically off of the bat of Alan Dykstra, the Padres first-round selection in this year's draft.

Pelzer's velocity hasn't reached the heights it saw in college just yet, but his two-seam fastball sinks and moves better than most to go along with a pretty good slider.

His injury on the Cape cost him a chance to compete in the Northwest League last year, but Pelzer, 22, doesn't seemed to have missed a beat with an 8-4 record and 3.14 ERA in Fort Wayne. He's struck out 67 batters in 83 innings against 22 walks, but his walk numbers have decreased significantly every month he's been in Fort Wayne. [satistics through July 20]

Before we get started, you didn't play last year could you give us a bit of background on what happened to you last year?

Wynn Pelzer: I was playing out on the Cape, trying to play my way into a better signing bonus and took a line drive off of my left knee cap, which ended up being a fractured knee cap. That was last July 4, so I'm a little more than a year out of the surgery and I feel great.

You were selected as a relief pitcher but the team has moved you into the starting rotation, so where do you feel more comfortable at?

Wynn Pelzer: It doesn't really matter to me, but it's a little easier for me as a starter because you can get into a pretty set routine. There are some differences and I've kind bounced around between both of them at school and here.

So it really doesn't matter to you as long as you keep going up?

Wynn Pelzer: I mean just as long as I get a consistent chance to go out and pitch its fine with me. As a starter, it's a little easier to log innings, which I feel will make me a better pitcher.

Can you go over what type of pitches that you throw?

Wynn Pelzer: I throw a fastball, slider and changeup guy right now. In college, I was fastball, slider and split – but I dropped the split for the changeup, because the Padres are big on the changeup for a third pitch. It's coming along pretty well here in Fort Wayne.

Is the fastball more of a four or two-seamer?

Wynn Pelzer: A lot of guys on the staff throw a lot of four-seamers, but with me it's mostly two-seamers about ninety percent of the time mainly because I get pretty good run and sink on it, so I will take the movement over the velocity.

You've put up some pretty good numbers and one thing you notice is that the Padres organization doesn't seem like they have a lot of tolerance for pitchers that walk guys.

Wynn Pelzer: No they don't. In college, I had some control problems, but here I've fixed some mechanical issues that I've had in spring, some which flared up a little at the beginning, but so far they have been pretty good. I've done a lot better job of not giving away free passes to guys.

You didn't play in the short-season leagues, so this is a pretty big jump from college ball to the Midwest League. You've performed pretty well so what is the biggest difference from college to the pros?

Wynn Pelzer: It's a better collection of the best players from college, high school and really all over the world. In college, you may have had a few guys that you didn't want to beat you; here everyone was the best player on their team, so you really have to be careful how you work guys.

You have to mix speeds better. You have to locate better and most of all you have to be more consistent than you were in college.

It must be a nice equalizer going from aluminum to wooden bats. That way you can pitch inside with much more confidence.

Wynn Pelzer: Sometimes it is when you get the results. With aluminum you have guys flaring the ball over the infield, so it's a little easier on us. It's not as easy for the hitter to get that barrel through the zone as it is with metal.

What do you think you need to work on the most to make it to the majors?

Wynn Pelzer: More than anything is the development of my changeup and trusting it as a third pitch. Improving on my slider and of course having better command of my fastball. I need to get to the point where I have the ability to throw it wherever I want. I've been making progress, just have to keep getting better.

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