Padres Prospect Interview: David Pauley Q&A

Padres Prospect Interview: David Pauley Q&A

David Pauley didn't quite have the year he was hoping for. He went 7-12 with a 4.17 ERA while playing for the Lake Elsinore Storm of the California League. Even when he finally got the call to go pitch for the Mobile BayBears, the Championship series was cancelled.

David Pauley came into the season with an inordinate amount of pressure to perform. Just 20 when the season began, Pauley was already listed by many sites among the top ten prospects in the Padres' organization.

David Pauley: Yeah, it puts a little bit of pressure on you and just makes you want to go out there and show that you are that person that you can gout and have a good start every time you go out there. Show the stuff that they say that you have.

I think it is from myself, putting a little bit more pressure on myself to show what they say is true. I have the stuff that I do and I need to show that I do so I put that pressure on myself.

Now 21, Pauley finds himself in a position to pitch for the Double-A club. That pace will put him in the Majors at 23, provided he continues to thrive. Is Mobile in his future or will he try his luck again with the Storm.

David Pauley:They really haven't said. I am, basically, going one step at a time. I am getting my starts in where I can and if I stay (in Lake Eslinore) that is fine, great. It gives me a chance to have success. If I get moved up, I get moved up. I just have to wait for my turn and hope that it goes.

After successive seasons where his ERA sat at 3.10, Pauley wasn't nearly as crisp in 2004. Batters hit over .300 with runners in scoring position against him. Having seen three leagues in three years, what was the difference?

David Pauley: Definitely the hitters – and the parks, too. The ball carries a lot more than it does in the Midwest League. The parks here are a little smaller and guys are just better hitters. Sure enough, they are just better hitters. Guys have advanced from that league and it is all the better guys from that league. It is definitely a big adjustment.

How, then, did Pauley come to perform under the stress. His youth defied his place in High-A. Most players are just beginning their professional careers while he finished his fourth year with the club.

David Pauley: That also gets you up a little bit for every game. I may be only 21 but I showed that I can pitch at this level against guys that are older than me.

Pauley signed on June 7, fresh out of high school, after being picked in the eighth round of the 2001 draft. Obviously, being picked so high for his age was a factor, but what else played into the decision?

David Pauley: It wasn't that I wasn't really into school or anything. Baseball – it has always been my dream to play professional baseball and I got the shot and I took it. I had opportunities to go to college but the opportunity was there and I didn't know if I ever would have that chance again, so I took it when it was there.

With the offseason upon us, Pauley is thinking towards the future. His walk totals rose last year. Where previously he ranked among the elite in walks per nine innings, those numbers became inflated in the Cal League. Therefore, improvements are in order.

David Pauley: I think the mind game and just basically control. That is going to be the biggest thing. In high school you can just throw it by everybody and not really worry about hitting your spots or doing this or doing that. You have to be able to throw where you want to every pitch and have a game plan and follow that game plan throughout the whole time.

Denis Savage can be reached at denis@sandiegosports.net

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