MadFriars' Interview: Jace Peterson

PEORIA, AZ: Jace Peterson, 22, was a supplemental first round pick by the Padres in the 2011 draft. Peterson, a multi-sport athlete at McNeese State, starred on the football team as a defensive back and on the baseball team at shortstop which was kind of break for him after playing four sports in high school, where he was all-state in three.

He finished his collegiate career with a .347/.453/.457 slash line in three years electing to forgo his final year of eligibility to sign with San Diego.

Last season in Fort Wayne Peterson hit .286/.378/.392 with 51 steals in 65 attempts. The left-handed hitting shortstop is one of the more athletic players in the organization and is expected to potentially form one of the better, and certainly most exciting, double play combinations in Lake Elsinore with 2B Corey Spangenberg that the organization has had in a long time.

We caught up with Jace at the end of spring training to find out how last season went and his expectations for the oncoming year in the Cal League.

So how was your first year playing just baseball full time?

Jace Peterson: It went well and I really enjoyed myself. I thought I was able to improve because I had more time to concentrate on just baseball.

You play one of the toughest positions on the field that requires the most instinctual moves in shortstop. Did you see an improvement in your game reads?

Jace Peterson: Most definitely because any time you get more repetitions your reads are going to improve.

Last year you put up good numbers but probably the only part of your game that you would want to improve upon are your power numbers. But at the same time so much of your game is about getting on base. How do you balance wanting to improve upon your power numbers while not taking away from your strengths?

Jace Peterson: My game is getting on base and playing good defense. Yes, I would like to drive balls more but not if it takes away from my strengths. I think as I play more and start to recognize what pitches I can do more damage with the power numbers will go up.

With your speed you must want to push more pitches into the gap?

Jace Peterson: No doubt I am a gap to gap guy. That is what really fits into my game plan and style. The more I can keep the ball from really getting high into the air and keep hitting low line drives the better off I'm going to be.

You seem like you are really looking forward to going to Lake Elsinore.

Jace Peterson: Oh yeah with the heat and those hard infields. I am really looking forward to it.

I've noticed at camp you and Corey Spangenberg have nearly been inseparable. You seem like you are building some good chemistry.

Jace Peterson: Oh yeah we have really clicked ever since we were drafted in the same class. We are looking forward to the year together.

What is the biggest aspect of the game you are looking to improve upon this year.

Jace Peterson: Really all aspects of the game. I want to be a better hitter, baserunner and defender.

All of you guys talk about improving at all aspects of the game and the consistency of your performance but how do you prepare yourself for the mental grind? It seems that the mental training for this part of the game is more difficult than the physical part.

Jace Peterson: You just have to know what you have to do every day and try to accomplish what you set out to do. If you take it any more or any less that is how you are going to get into trouble.

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