Nothing irks San Diego Padres’ left-handed pitcher Nick Margevicius more than when he issues free passes. He prefers to attack hitters and not walk anyone, but major league hitters are just more selective.
Padres’ rookie Nick Margevicius is a bulldog on the mound. Despite not being blessed with a mid 90 mph fastball, he attacks hitters relentlessly.
The savvy lefty utilizes a few offspeed pitches and changes speed effectively on each pitch. He throws a slider and a curve but will alter rates on both pitches and create several different angles to attack batters through the strike zone. He shows advanced knowledge of how to pitch. Stuff that cannot be taught.
Margevicius prides himself on not issuing free passes. He only walked 17 batters last year in over 135 minor league innings. That is pretty remarkable. This season at the major league level, he has walked 13 batters in 36 innings pitched. There is no doubt that major league hitters are more selective and that is something he is finding out firsthand.
Against the Dodgers in his last start, a walk with two outs stands out for the left-handed pitcher. “It was not the home run (to Muncy) that bothers me; it was the Seager walk. From 0-2, to 3-2 with the count- only to walk him. That is what did me in,” Margevicius recalls. He recognizes that moment as an essential factor in the inning that got away from him. “A good major league pitcher closes the inning right there. It is just part of the process. Especially if I get them to an 0-2 count,” Margevicius admits. The former Ryder University product is not opposed to learning and getting better. That is why he is at Petco, despite only throwing one game at the Double-A level.
Margevicius does an outstanding job of keeping hitters off balance. He mixes speeds on his curve and slider and is difficult to square up in the batter’s box. “A lot of these guys hit off their timing. So when they get their foot down, that is when they swing. So when you can dial back the speed of the pitches, that is when you can get them to mishit the ball. I have confidence in the pitches that I can throw strikes, and they still will not hit them,” Margevicius said. With the knowledge of how to pitch, he should have a long lasting career in the major leagues.
The left-handed hitter has shown a great stick at the plate. The rookie could be considered the best hitting pitcher in the starting staff, but Margevicius is humble about it. “I don’t have enough at-bats (to say I’m the best),” Margevicius said with a grin. Since he has shown a good bat, pitchers are starting to attack him with offspeed stuff. “Yes, they are. And now it’s going to get tough,” Margevicius admitted.
Not playing at the higher levels within the system meant that Margevicius didn’t have a lot of experience with advanced scouting reports and such. In the majors, he has so much information to process. “I like it. I love it. We have a lot of guys here who can help us break it down. We dig for information. They are good at their jobs. They really help me process it, and it has been great so far,” Margevicius said. The student of the game loves homework, and the Padres provide plenty of it for him.
Nick is from the Ohio area and never really experienced California life before this past year. “I love it so far. I liked it when I got to Lake Elsinore last year, and I love it here in San Diego. I live downtown, and I get to walk around all the time,” Margevicius said. Big surprise as the lefty loves San Diego and the people. He is making himself at home.
His next start will be in Colorado. There are plenty of things that scare a rookie about pitching there, but Margevicius is not your typical rookie. “I don’t have any experience pitching there. We will see what happens. I am going to go in there prepared,” Margevicius stated. He knows that the thin air could be a factor, but he will make sure he is prepared when his time comes on Sunday.
After his last start against the Dodgers, Margevicius was seen in the dugout with both his catchers, Matt Strahm and Manny Machado in an in-depth discussion. “We were talking about what was going on in the game. I was pitching with traffic early in the game. We were talking about signs and making sure we were all seeing the same things on the field. We wanted to stick without gameplan and approach,” Margevicius said. Another example of how Machado takes charge of these young players and gets them is the correct state of mind. Nick Margevicius is learning much in the game of baseball these days. Like a sponge, he absorbs it all to get better.