Padres News: Padres Maurer Flourishing as a Reliever


Brandon Maurer is opening some eyes this week in Peoria. The San Diego Padres already knew how talented he was before acquiring him for Seth Smith, but they are absolutely beaming from what they have seen so far this spring.

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Maurer has always been on the Padres radar. Last July when the two teams agreed on a Chris Denorfia trade, Maurer was reportedly discussed. The Seatlle Mariners told the Padres he was off-limits and basically untradeable. The Padres settled for Abraham Almonte instead.

Brandon Maurer has flat-out nasty stuff. He is repeatedly in the upper 90’s in terms of velocity and has a wipe out slider that can be dominating. He has a power 4-seem fastball and an excellent sinking fastball. At the age of 24, he has a bright future with the Padres baseball team.

Corey Brock of talked with Brandon Maurer in which Maurer expressed his comfort in pitching out of the bullpen. Yet he and the Padres still leave the door open for a chance to start eventually. Darren Balsley the Padres pitching coach spoke and said:

"“Sometimes it’s nice to go out there for one inning and just rely on your talent instead of the game plan of trying to get 27 outs. You’re going one out at a time. You get your three outs and you’ve done your job for that day. It frees you up mentally a little bit. I think there’s an art to being a good reliever. It’s not an easy job.”"

Working with Darren Balsley will surely make Maurer a dominant force. Balsley has worked wonders with many talented young pitchers and Greg Maddux himself calls Darren Balsley the best pitching coach in the major leagues. If anyone can improve the young 6 foot 5 inch right-handed, it’s Balsley.

Last season while pitching for the Mariners, Maurer began to struggle while pitching in the rotation. The days in between starts was taking a toll on him mentally. He spoke about it to Cory Brock:

"“It got to be a little overwhelming. I’d have one bad start and another and I’m starting to think about what I need to change, what I need to switch-up. I would say those four days got to me a bit. I think it (starting) was probably a mental thing. I think it got in my head a little bit, just trying to think  about the scouting reports, hitters’ tendencies, what not. But coming out of the bullpen, it’s just me and the catch, throwing the ball and not worrying about anything else. And if you have a bad outing, you could come back and pitch the next day.”"

As a reliever after spending a little time in triple-A, he posted a 2.17 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 37 innings pitched. He obviously made the proper adjustments to take his game to the next level. The flexibility of Maurer is a nice thing to have on a staff. He could slide into a starters spot or even close out a game. Very nice pickup by A.J. Preller, very nice. The Padres are built to win, and Brandon Maurer will be an important factor in the season if the team wants to compete.

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