MadFriars' Interview: Cory Spangenberg

FORT WAYNE: Cory Spangenberg, 20, was taken in the first round of the 2011 draft by the San Diego Padres, the tenth overall pick out of Indian River (FL) JC.

Originally from Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania area Spangenberg went to Virginia Military Institute his freshman year where he hit .370/.409/.596 as a second baseman.

Deciding that the military life was not for him he transfered to Indian River where he hit .477 with a .553 on-base percentage and a scholarship to the University of Miami.

This past season, combined with a .399 batting average in the prestigious summer Valley League, convinced many scouts that Spangenberg was ready for the big time now.

That, and letting it be known that if he was picked early he was willing to sign for slot made him a good target for the Padres at number 10, their compensation pick for Karsten Whitson last year.

Signing a few days after the draft he hit .384/.545/.535 with the Emeralds in five weeks before being promoted to Fort Wayne.

With the TinCaps after a slow start in July hitting .154 before tuning it around in August with a .350 batting average to finish the season at .286/.345/.386 with fifteen stolen bases in nineteen attempts.

You started off well in Eugene, put up some great numbers and then when you got to Fort Wayne you struggled in July. In August you turned it around. So did you just put a little too much pressure on yourself when you first got here?

Cory Spangenberg: Yeah I think I was trying to do too much and just not playing my game.

What finally turned you around?

Cory Spangenberg: Well I couldn't go down from where I was at [laughs]. I talked to my old high school and college coaches and they gave me a little advice to get me back to where I needed to be.

You've had a great transition from college to the pros from aluminum to wood. How come that hasn't affected you?

Cory Spangenberg: I think wood bats helps me me and plays to my game. It forces me to concentrate more and I don't take as a big a swing; I'm shorter to the ball.

A lot of people say similar things but not a lot do it. Is this your first time ever playing in a wood league?

Cory Spangenberg: After my freshman year at VMI I played in the Nevada League in the summer which was with wood. So that was a good experience for me.

I thought it was interesting that you are from Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania and even though you were the player of the year in your league in high school you had trouble getting noticed because that is not a big scouting hotbed.

In some ways it must be a little relaxing now that you are in the pros to just have to worry about producing not the level of competition.

Cory Spangenberg: It really helped me out going to Florida because you can play year round and you just get a lot more exposure.

A lot has been made about you telling scouts that you were willing to sign quickly and wanted to start your career right now. Was that because you were able to see your dream and wanted to get it started as quickly as possible?

Cory Spangenberg: Just to get the opportunity to start playing with a great organization is what I wanted to do. I wasn't that into sitting out the whole summer waiting to play.

It seems like you are the ultimate baseball rat. If you could play 365 days you would.

Cory Spangenberg: [laughs] Oh yeah. Its what I've been doing ever since I was a little kid and what I love to do. Now that its my job, its the best that I could have ever imagined.

You played shortstop in high school, second at VMI and third at Indian River. The Padres have put you at second how has that been going for you?

Cory Spangenberg: Its been going well and probably the position that I feel most comfortable at. I played there my freshman year and always liked it the most of any position that I played.

A lot of people like playing second because you have to concentrate so much defensively its hard to take bat at-bats out onto the field or you can get killed on the double play.

Cory Spangenberg: [laughs] Its just part of the game.

Quite a few people describe your offensive style as someone who hits line drives all over the field.

Cory Spangenberg: Hopefully. I just try to not do too much and hit the ball where it is pitched.

You are mainly a gap hitter is that correct?

Cory Spangenberg: That is correct. I like to try to put the ball in a place where I can get out and run.

I'm always fascinated by guys who bat left and throw right. How did you get to be a left-handed hitter?

Cory Spangenberg: [laughs] Man I don't know. That is just the way that I have always been. My older brother was the same way.

You are pretty happy how things have gone so far. What is the biggest thing you are going to work on going into the off-season?

Cory Spangenberg: Just work on getting better at every part of the game. Get bigger, stronger and faster.

I'm sure you are going to work harder than before but you are finally in the spot you want to be. If you perform you will get moved up no one is going to talk about not playing against the best competition.

Cory Spangenberg: That is a good feeling because I know its in my hands and that is the way I want it.

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