San Francisco's No. 2 ranked prospect Edwin Escobar is an important member of the Triple-A rotation just a year after making his first High-A start with the San Jose Giants. A midseason promotion to Richmond, followed by the jump to Fresno to begin to the 2014 season, have the soon-to-be 22-year-old from Venezuela quickly making adjustments with each new level. I sat down with Escobar to discuss those tweaks after his first three outings as a member of the Fresno Grizzlies.
Editor's note: Escobar pitched on Sunday, after this interview, and was magnificent.
Edwin, you've now played three different levels of minor league baseball in a year's time. Describe the adjustments you've had to make with each.
"It's been real different. It's tough because you have to face a lot of guys who are major league ready and go up and down. Right now my three starts have been kind of tough because it's my first time in Triple-A. It's different from Single-A and Double-A and what I keep working on is to be ready for my next start."
You seem to be struggling a bit against right-handed hitters through your first three starts. How do you feel throwing against righties?
"I feel pretty good throwing to a right-handed hitter. My thing is I get a little bit unlucky because, as you can see, a lot of hits against right handers are bloopers, singles, a lot of ground balls, and stuff getting through the field. I can't control that."
What is your typical game plan against a right-handed hitter?
"I like to pound the zone. A lot of inside pitches to a right-handers preparing to throw my changeup away or my sinker, too. But I'm used to throwing a lot of fastballs into a right hander and then I use my changeup away."
Let's talk about your start on Tuesday against Sacramento. You were dominant in that second inning, striking out the side. What was the difference?
"My first inning I was a little excited and I used focus to get into my second inning. I got opportunities to strike out those three guys."
How important was it for you to stay in big league camp as long as you did and get a chance to work with the major league club?
"It was a pleasure for me and a great experience because I can learn a lot of things from those guys, especially from Bumgarner because he's a lefty pitcher, too. During spring training we worked a lot together on my pitches, how you can control your command, and the running game. For me it was very special to learn a lot from this guy."
What specifically about Madison Bumgarner have you learned or seen in him that you think makes him so good?
"He likes to throw a lot inside and I use him for my example because I want to be like him or better than him. For me, he's a great guy. I like to watch him on TV or videos, too. He's a great pitcher."
With there being so many Venezuelans in the Giants organization, how special is it to be able to bond with guys like Marco Scutaro and Pablo Sandoval?
"It's very good because I feel more comfortable with guys from Venezuela. We talk a lot. We talk every day. About baseball, about personal things, you can find those guys like a friend outside of baseball. You can find people that you can talk to like normal. It's good to have those guys who can support me."
Tell me what you love so much about your home country of Venezuela.
"I love a lot of things from my country. It's the place that I know, the place that I got the opportunity to play baseball, and my people from Venezuala are very special."
What specifically are you working on right now moving into your next start?
"Right now I've been working on my breaking pitch, my arm speed and my angle. Just being specific and working on my breaking ball. I throw my slider hard and my curveball slow. Just working on my arm speed being exactly like my fastball, changeup, slider and curveball."