Padres’ Stock back up, looking to find his worth

(Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)

Credit: USA Today Sports

Hard-throwing right-handed pitcher Robert Stock is back with the San Diego Padres and trying to show his worth.

Coming into the 2019 season, it looked as though Robert Stock was going to be a major part of the bullpen.

A rough start to the season led to a demotion for the right-handed reliever, but he never kept his head down. Stock is a fireballing pitcher, and he knew he would eventually return to San Diego. It has been a tough grind for the 29-year-old, but he was in good spirits on Tuesday in the Padres clubhouse.

We first spoke about the grind of being a professional baseball player. Stock was drafted as a catcher and had to reinvent himself as a pitcher to continue his career. “I don’t think that physically, it is a grind. We have tons of time during the day to do what we have to do. Being prepared to play in front of thousands of people for 162 games is a grind. Keeping yourself mentally prepared every day is the biggest grind,” Stock told East Village Times. The mental aspect of the game is what he is looking to polish.

Being sent to El Paso was tough, but Stock worked with familiar faces in an attempt to correct his issues. “Any time I am in El Paso, I am working with Bronswell Patrick. He is a great coach. He is really dedicated to working with you every single day. During an outing, in between innings, he is going and looking at video and gives advise if he thinks you need it,” Stock said. The pitcher worked with Patrick before, and the coach has a great understanding of how to get the best from the pitcher.

While in El Paso, he didn’t work on anything specifically when it came to his mechanics. “Not anything specific. Just trying to have a good feeling for the strike zone,” Stock said. The pitcher throws very hard but has continually been hit hard. Location and finishing his pitches is what he needs to work on the most. At the major league level, hitter’s can square up velocity. It does not matter if you throw 99 mph, you have to move the ball around and hit the corners of the strike zone.

Left-handed hitters have knocked around Robert Stock a bit, so he developed a changeup to try to curb that. “It has been a good tool for me in the last couple of games. A lefty cannot just sit on two pitches now,” Stock explained. Since Stock has smaller hands, he does not use a traditional circle change grip with the pitch. ” I have tinkered with the grip here and there,” Stock said. He is getting a feel for the pitch, and it could help keep hitters off of his fastball. Location of his pitches and pounding the zone is what he needs to improve upon to get batters out consistently. The Padres will be patient with Stock, but he must improve. An upper 90’s fastball is enticing to the Friars, but the right-handed pitcher must become more of a pitcher and less of a thrower. Only then his stock will rise.

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