MadFriars' Interview: Jace Peterson

PEORIA, AZ: Jace Peterson, 22, was a supplemental first round pick of San Diego in the 2011 draft, the fifty-eighth selection overall.

If the Padres had wanted to increase the overall athleticsm of the organization, Peterson is the man. In high school he was a four-sport standout and all state in football, basketball and baseball.

Naturally he played both ways In football earning honors at both quarterback and safety.

In college he stuck to just two sports and was one of the top defensive backs in the Southland Conference in addition to being a pretty good baseball career finishing off a three year career with numbers of .347/.453/.457.

The left-handed hitting Peterson played both second and short for the Cowboys to go along with his plus speed. Although his athletic ability is what attracted the scouts he also showed his baseball acumen waling more than he struck out to go along with 78 stolen bases in 94 attempts.

The Padres' selection of him was seen as more of a high school type of pick, based much more on what he could be rather than what he is now.

After a slow start with the Emeralds last year he finished off August hitting .287/.393/.376 with 39 steals overall in 49 attempts.

So far this season in the Midwest League he is off to a good start hitting .292/.387/.446.

We caught up with Jace at the end of spring training to talk about his collegiate career and his adjustment to professional baseball.

How has it been going now that you have been focusing exclusively on baseball as compared to trying to divide your time between football and baseball at McNeese State?

Jace Peterson: Its been going good. Just getting used to the everyday baseball thing, but I'm liking it.

I'm feeling good and have had a good spring.

How much easier is it now that you just have baseball as compared to football and school?

Do you find yourself sometimes focussing on it too much or does it give you time to work on the things you always wanted to but didn't have time?

Jace Peterson: It is definitely different not playing football but instead of competing in two sports you are just working on one.

So far it's been working out.

How were you able to compete in two sports at such a high level?

Jace Peterson: Time management. You have to really be disciplined about how you go about your day. Whatever you were doing, you had to really concentrate and work as hard as you can or it will set you back.

Now that I only have baseball, but its still the same approach, focus on what you do.

A lot of guys in the second half of their first season after they were drafted slow down but you got better.

Weren't you getting mentally as well as physically tired after playing full seasons of football and baseball?

You're numbers are supposed to go down, not up.

Jace Peterson: I started off not where I wanted to be, so I was looking forward to the second half of the season.

I was progressing as I went and really just started to get comfortable. Hopefully this year I will start out fast.

What was the biggest thing you were working on at the Instructs to take into spring training and the 2012 season?

Jace Peterson: Bunting. I would really like to get ten or twelve bunt hits a year. Other than that just taking a lot of ground balls to get better.

Shortstop is really a tough position with so many defensive responsibilities. What were the main things you were trying to improve upon?

Jace Peterson: Just trying to listen to the coaches as much as possible.

Its like with anything try to get as many reps in as possible so you can get better. At shortstop that means as many ground balls as you can handle.

Last question, how did you end up being a left-handed hitter?

Jace Peterson: Ever since I was little I have picked up a bat left-handed. Its just happened like that and it has worked out.

Photo of Jace Peterson courtesy of Rinaldi Photos. For more of their work find them on Facebook


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