John Hussey didn’t come from a traditional baseball family. His family barely knew that a baseball was round. If the talk turned to cricket, however, they could explain the difference between a stump and a bail.
He was eight years old when he saw his first baseball game and that spurned him to take up the game for his own. And the dedication both he and his family have shown since spurred the Padres to sign the right-hander.
“Since then I have received nothing but enormous support from my family and friends,” Hussey said via email. “Four times a week my parents drive me two hours plus to get me to training or games and continuously fork out money for me to go on Baseball trips, a lot of the time, coming themselves to show their support!
“One thing I will miss the most is the absence of my parents at the baseball games, although I am sure they will be following closely on the Internet.”
The 18-year old prospect is now in position to give back to his parents for all their hard work via a six-figure signing bonus.
Spurning a full ride from the University of Hawaii, Hussey will come to Peoria, Arizona for the first time this March.
“It was an unbelievable feeling to be signed by a professional baseball club, especially the Padres” said Hussey. “I feel as though they will look after me very well. Throughout negotiations, they made me feel very comfortable, looked after my interests, and gave me plenty of time to make my decision, and I couldn’t be happier with my choice of clubs.”
And he had his choices. Several teams called him on that fateful day in June. The Padres happened to be the first and they got the last laugh.
Hussey has command of three pitches and each is expected to become above-average according to a Padres’ scout.
His fastball currently sits between 84-87 while his changeup is in the 75-78 range and his hook goes 72-74.
At the tender age of 18, Hussey is looking to develop each of those pitches and, in particular, he wants to add velocity.
“I believe that I can work on all aspects of my pitching,” Hussey said. “I do not believe that I have yet perfected any aspect of my game. Two areas I really hope to improve on are my velocity and ability to hit spots. But my game in general is my main focus, I want to be a complete package, and work on everything, so I do not have a weakness.”
Already wowing the Padres with his repertoire, Hussey has taken the same approach with his work ethic.
His first step towards the dream begins soon and Hussey wants to take full advantage of all the resources in front of him. With guidance from the coaches and current players in the system, the transition should be smooth.
As for who is funnier sounding, Hussey may be in for a surprise. It may be the Aussie that has his own lingo.
Hussey, it’s Australian for pitching, mate.