Joe Wieland came to the Padres along with Robbie Erlin in the July 31st trade that sent Mike Adams to the Texas Rangers. Wieland finished 2011 fifth in all of the minors with a 1.97 ERA and is headed to Spring Training with an eye on making his way to San Diego sometime in 2012. You can follow him on Twitter.
You went through an experience this year few top prospects go through. What was it like switching organizations in the middle of the season?
It definitely was a different experience, especially with everything that had happened two days prior* to the trade. It kind of was like my first day of pro ball all over again. I had to learn everyone’s names, adjust to the new surroundings, and get settled in. I couldn’t have been more happy with everything that happened though.
*Wieland threw a no hitter against the Padres’ Double-A affiliate he would later pitch for two days before being traded
Your name was at or near the top of just about every leader board this season, what clicked in 2011 to help you take your game to the next level?
You know it honestly was pitching in the Cal league and getting hit around a bunch. I learned how to pitch and it taught me the importance of not just throwing strikes, but quality strikes. My Low-A pitching coach always got on me about throwing quality strikes. Well at that level, I was able to get away with just throwing strikes and not worrying about whether or not they were quality. Once I got to the Cal League I learned real quick that thigh high fastballs weren’t going to get the job done. After I made a few adjustments and started throwing quality strikes, I started to have some success and just carried it into last season.
How would you describe your pitching style?
What was it like traveling with the Padres and hanging around the big league clubhouse after the Minor League season ended?
Being with the big club was pretty incredible! I learned a ton from watching and talking to the coaches and players and listening to what they had to say. It has been my dream since I was a little kid to play in the bigs and being that close and getting a little taste of it definitely motivated me this offseason to get up there as quick as I can!
What are your goals for the 2012 season?
I just want to build off of last year. A lot of things came together last year and now I want to improve on those things. My changeup has come a long way this offseason and I’m confident its going to be a very effective pitch this year. And then my big goal is to make it to the big leagues. I’m hoping to have a really good camp and put myself in a situation to make that possible.
Thanks again to Joe for taking time to chat with us. You can follow him on Twitter.