Madrid hopes to close the deal in Padres organization
July 6, 2013 at 2:06 a.m.
Roman Madrid has no idea what the San Diego Padres have in store for him.
Madrid is in his second season with the organization after being selected in the seventh round of the 2012 draft.
But the Memorial graduate tries to look no further than his next pitching appearance.
"As long as you're not getting sent down and as long as you're not getting released," he said, "you're doing OK."
Madrid appears to be on target in his first season with the Fort Wayne, Ind., TinCaps of the Class A Midwest League.
He has a 5-2 record with a 2.63 ERA that includes 41 strikeouts in 37.2 innings.
He was tied for third in the league with 12 saves through Friday.
"I've improved quite a bit," Madrid said. "Not only on the mental side, but the physical side as well. I'm throwing three different pitches and being able to locate three different pitches. Just like on the mental side being able to use pitch sequences, being able to know what hitters hit and what they don't hit."
Madrid relied primarily on a fastball and slider during his college career at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, McLennan Community College, and Central Florida.
But he learned to throw a changeup while recording 13 saves at Eugene, Ore., of the Northwest League last season.
"It's real hard learning new pitches and then trying to take them into the game and save the game at the same time," Madrid said. "It's not the best-case scenario taking new pitches in when the game's on the line. You're the hero or the zero if you don't get the job done."
Madrid has experienced both results, which is part of the learning process according to Fort Wayne pitching coach Burt Hooton.
"He's got a long way to go," said Hooton, a Corpus Christi native and former major league pitcher. "There are some things he needs to tighten up control wise. He probably needs to get a lot better with his fastball and all of his pitches. He's a good competitor; he's aggressive; he's not afraid out there, which are all pluses. So far at this level, he's done a very good job."
Madrid got a taste of pitching against wood bats as a member of the Victoria Generals of the Texas Collegiate League.
But he's faced much better hitters since turning pro.
"The game is faster, and the players are more developed," he said. "They're more used to swinging a wooden bat. They have a better plan at the plate than normal. The higher level you go the better they are at being able to get on your weakness."
Madrid's biggest flaw may be the tendency to become over-amped, which causes him to overthrow at times.
"A lot of it is he kind of has to learn to settle himself down," Hooton said. "He has a habit of overthrowing a lot of his pitches. That's why we play minor league baseball so these guys can get the experience and the feel of competing.
"If I had a complaint about Roman, it's that he over-competes and overthrows at times. It's not a bad thing, but he needs to learn to tone it down a little bit."
Madrid is learning daily to deal with the highs and lows of being a closer.
He gives much of the credit for his progress to the late Pat Montgomery, his former pitching instructor in Victoria.
"He's in everything I do with baseball," Madrid said. "I wouldn't be where I am without him. Without all the things he did for me, I wouldn't be anywhere close to where I am right now.
"Everything I do he is in it or he is with me somehow, someway. Not only spiritually is he with me, but at the same time when my mechanics aren't right, I just go back to what he used to tell me, and it always gets back on track."