Lake Elsinore, California
On Friday night, I covered the Lake Elsinore Storm’s game. Before the game, I spoke to the Dodgers’ rehabbing left-handed pitcher Julio Urías and outfield prospect Jeren Kendall about the Padres’ organization and players.
Julio Urias (Translated From Interview in Spanish):
Q: What did you think of the Lake Elsinore Storm during the game on Wednesday in which you pitched?
A: “They were really good, definitely. Their batters know and recognize the strike zone well. Their players are definitely pretty good.”
Q: Did you have confidence in all of your pitches in your game against the Storm?
A: “Yes, I definitely did. I’m working on my pitches, and that’s what I did during the game [on Wednesday].”
Q: Did you think the hitters from Lake Elsinore were good at hitting specific pitches that you threw?
A: “I think so, because we’re at a pretty high level at High-A. Everyone here has talent, and their team looked pretty good.”
Q: So for example your fastball, curveball — They saw them well?
A: “Yes, my fastball, curveball — They saw all of my pitches well and were recognizing them well.”
Q: So you think some of the Lake Elsinore hitters specifically were more talented than others?
A: “I really think they were talented — very good hitters. So I’m content that I played against a team like that, you know?”
Q: Finally, do you think that the information that they have here in the California league is the same or different from the information and scouting they have in Los Angeles with the Dodgers?
A: “I would imagine that it is. Really, what they teach there is what they teach here as well. There’s more there and it seems like there is more information there, but they do a really good job here too.”
Q: Throughout your time in the minor leagues, would you say that teams in the Padres’ organization have average or above average talent? What are your thoughts on that?
A: “No I mean I think it’s pretty good talent — I mean this is my first full season so I haven’t had much interaction besides, you know with the team in Fort Wayne, right? And then I’ve had some experience here obviously, so for the past two years it’s been the same guys. You know we pretty much played the same team from Fort Wayne last year and you know they’re a pretty good squad and were fun to watch last year. They’re fun to watch this year with guys like Buddy Reed and Hudson Potts. I think it’s a pretty good squad, yeah.”
Q: Were there any pitchers that you felt like were particularly impressive in the organization?
A: “I think Paddack was pretty good. It looked like he had pretty good stuff and was confident with it. Also looked like he came out and attacked you. Looked like a veteran player and kind of knew what he was doing out there, so he was tough to swing against and then the Reggie Lawson — I can’t remember the other guy’s name, but Reggie Lawson‘s got a good arm. They’ve always kind of came at us in a different way in the past few games we’ve had against them, but yeah I think they have pretty good arms.”
Q: Is there anything you guys have heard about Bryan Mitchell, tonight’s starter for the Storm?
A: “He’s got a fastball, you know, mid 90’s or whatever, got pretty good off speed so that’s how we’ll play it.”
Though they were pretty brief conversations, it was very interesting to hear what the two players had to say about the Padres’ minor leaguers and system. They both seemed impressed with the talent in the organization, and had really positive things to say about specific players.
Urías is a guy who has at times pitched with real success in the big leagues, so it’s encouraging that he was impressed with the Storm’s team. While in the major leagues, the Dodgers have recently had little issue with handling the Padres, in the minor leagues it’s clear the Padres’ affiliates are competing pretty well. Hearing from opposing teams is often a good way to get truthful and accurate evaluations of a team, and this held true in the case of the questions asked to Urías and Kendall. They were both very accommodating and willing to give an interview, which made the interviewing process enjoyable for everyone involved.