It’s been quite a season for the former Cal-Poly San Louis Obispo star whom the Padres selected in the twelveth round of the 2015 draft. He was the Dust Devils’ represeative in the inagural Northwest League - Pioneer League All-Star game where he had the game winning hit in the tenth inning.
In his final year in college he had a slash line of .314/.388/.414 for the Mustangs before electing to go pro at the end of his junior year. In 2015 he was the Big West Conference Defensive Player of the Year.
The five-foot-nine, 170 pounds shortstop, whio hits from the left side, is the classic table setter on offense and is one of the more sure-handed defenders defensively with only five errors in 67 games with Tri-Cities.
This has been one of my favorite teams in the Padres’ system all year. The team doesn’t have a lot of high draft picks - only four of the first ten picks were in Tri-Cities this season - but the team has really played well this year.
What makes you guys so good?
Peter Van Gansen: I think we have played really well as team this year. Everyone has had each other’s backs and the fact that none of us are really high draft picks have given us a bit of a chip on our shoulder. We want to show everyone what we can do.
You’ve have had a really long season, how are you holding up right now?
Peter Van Gansen: It’s definitely a grind, but I’ve also really tried to take care of myself too. Also it’s a lot of fun, so I’ve been just trying to enjoy the moment.
As you said it’s been a long summer but it’s also been a pretty good one for you. Did you have an idea the Padres would be the ones picking you?
Peter Van Gansen: I had talked to a few of their scouts before the draft, but you can never really tell. I liked the Padres but didn’t want to get my hopes up.
What has been your biggest adjustment from college to the pros?
Peter Van Gansen: To me it’s just the mental side of playing every day. The big key is to separate what you did from yesterday to what you have to do today. You don’t want a bad game bleeding into the next one.
Since this is our first time interviewing you how would you describe your game?
Peter Van Gansen: I guess scrappy. Offensively I try to get on base any way possible so I can help my team. Defensively I take a lot of pride in being someone everyone can count on.
In the past many players would sit out most of the summer and sign with a week left in the season. How much will it help you for next year to have all of these games under your belt?
Peter Van Gansen: It has really helped a lot. We have a few guys on the team that have been in pro ball for awhile and they are always willing to help you out. That is another great thing about this team is that everyone wants to play but everyone wants to win and be a better teammate more.
You had great numbers in June and July and then had a bit of swoon in August. They bounced back up in September. What did you do to get out of the slump or is it just part of the game?
Peter Van Gansen: Probably a little of both. I did feel a little fatigued but I think I’ve started to get my second wind.
Your fielding hasn’t taken off any time and the Dust Devils’ announcer Chris King has been very complimentary of your defense on the radio. What did you do to get to the level that you are on now?
Peter Van Gansen: A lot of practice. Both my high school and college coaches were middle infielders so I was an open book with them. I tried just about everything they suggested.
Last question, how did you get to be a left-handed hitter?
Peter Van Gansen: My Dad always thought I was going to be a right-handed hitter, but in T-ball I would always go over to the left side and eventually they just left me there.
I’m pretty happy with the decison [laughs].