Cherished Memories

San Diego Padres Prospect Interview: Michael Gettys

Long recognized for his elite athleticism, Michael Gettys turned that raw ability into production on the field last year.

Lake Elsinore, Calif. -- When the Padres made Michael Gettys their second pick in the 2014 draft, there was no doubt that he had premium tools. But, boy, was there doubt whether he could hit.

While he's continued to strike out a lot, over the last 14 months, Gettys has begun to give some reason to believe he'll convert on his talent. Through the early going last year, he posted a wOBA of .367 in Fort Wayne, then kept it going with a .365 mark when joined the Storm.

After a slow start this year, the Georgia native has begun to come on over the last few weeks. Since May 1, he owns a .313/.450/.500 line and, after drawing only two walks through his first 106 plate appearances, has earned six in his last 39.

We talked with the 21-year-old center fielder before Elsinore's game Friday.

MadFriars: Last year, obviously, things came together really well for you in Fort Wayne and here. How did you take that with you into the offseason and how you came into spring training this year?

Michael Gettys: I had a back injury that bothered me all offseason, so I was really kind of frustrated. But I started getting better in spring training. It was just tough for a little bit because I had a great year and then I had to deal with that, and I really didn’t get to enjoy my offseason at all because I was feeling terrible every day.

Was there a specific thing you did to injure it, or something that just came on?
Michael Gettys: I just had a really long year. So I had to do stuff to loosen it up. Just breathing stuff, stretching out my hips and groin because they were really tight and were causing everything to come together and hit that nerve. So when you stretch all that out and get that loose, it starts easing up on everything and makes it easier on the back. So I did all that in the spring.

Are you feeling it at all on the field at this point?

Michael Gettys: I mean, it’s something I’m going to feel sometimes until I’m done playing I think. But it’s not bad. It was bothering me a lot before, but now it’s not bad.

So how long were you away from baseball activity?

Michael Gettys: About two months. And those two months were not fun for me. It was kind of tough. But I guess it taught me a lot. It taught me patience. And it made life a lot better when I started feeling better. Because for a while there, I was struggling and I just wasn’t happy. I was frustrated.

I just kept playing last year even though I was hurt because I wanted to play and I was doing well. And then I think I kept working out and doing stuff, and just getting tighter and tighter. And over time, your body can only take so much.

Has the time you spent with Jason Amoroso helped you deal with that in the same way it’s helped you on the field?

Michael Gettys: I like to get all the stuff in my head out, so I like talking to anyone. But he helps me because he’s good to talk to and he listens to what I have to say and he gives me good feedback. I like getting everything out instead of keeping it in because we’ve got a lot of stuff inside when we play, and it bothers us. That’s always kind of how I’ve been. Then I finally started just getting it out and I feel a lot better and I play a lot better.

Have there been specific things you’ve found that work for your back?

Michael Gettys: I’ve spent a lot of time with the trainers. I’ve done everything in the book, and then just pick out things that I like and do it every day. I’ve kind of gotten it down into a routine. I feel a lot better. I used to not be able to sit down even, and no I can do everything. So that’s how bad it was bothering me. But it’s not an issue now. I can play at 100 percent now.

Seems like you’ve been seeing the ball better the last few weeks. How are you feeling at the plate right now?

Michael Gettys: I feel better, feel confident. I’m trying to keep doing what I’m doing every day, work my routine, and it’s paying off.

Over the last few weeks, you’ve been taking more walks. Is that a goal or the outcome of other focuses for you?

Michael Gettys: It’s more just recognizing pitches. For a while I wasn’t recognizing them. And it’s all about timing. People always say everything about ‘oh, it’s this, or ‘oh, it’s that.’ No, it’s about my timing and it’s about one moment that I do. And you fix that and you stop missing balls and you start swinging at good pitches because you start recognizing that you’re on time. When I’m on time, I can see and I stop swinging at bad pitches. And when I’m not on time, I swing and miss.

One of the things that stands out, a couple of years ago if you had a couple of bad at-bats, you could see it was with you in the field. Now, you really seem to have separated that out. Is that just a matter of more time and experience?

Michael Gettys: When I’m not doing well hitting-wise, I want to do something to help the team. And I’ve always been a good defender. It’s more something you can control. You can’t control at the plate if they’re making good pitches or if the umpire calls a bad call, or you’re not swinging great that day, you can’t control that.

But you can control running down a ball, because that’s reaction. That’s when I see it, I’m going to go get it. You can control your attitude, and how you hustle and how you go after balls in the outfield. You can’t control hitting the same way. You can control your work before the game and do everything, but when you get out there, you’ve just got to play the game.

Do you feel the same way about controlling what happens on the basepaths?

Michael Gettys: You can. When they know you’re a baserunner, they can be a lot a quicker to the plate or whatever. If you’ve stolen a lot of bases over time, they’re going to be tough on you. So I’ve just got to pick out little things and be smart about when to go and when not to go. I’ve been doing a lot better job at that over the past year.

Do you like being in that leadoff spot.

Michael Gettys: No.

How have you adjusted into it then, and does it change the way you go about your at-bats?

Michael Gettys: I hope every time I go to the plate, I’m thinking about doing whatever the game is asking. But I like hitting third, because I like watching the pitcher before I go up there. You don’t get to see the pitcher much when you’re hitting leadoff. I feel kind of rushed when I’m hitting leadoff. But hitting third, I get to see him throw to the first two guys and I get to settle it down and it’s more relaxing for me. So that’s why I like it better there.

Is getting hit by pitches a learnable skill, or are you just getting plunked a lot?

Michael Gettys: When I first got drafted, I was in the AZL for 60 games and never got hit. And then I played in Fort Wayne 120-125 games and I got hit one time. Then last year they hit me 14, 15 times and I’m at five or six now. So I don’t know what started to happen. But that’s fine, I get on base.

Obviously, this team has a lot of high profile guys, including you. How does that work in the clubhouse?

Michael Gettys: It’s fine. I don’t think about guys like that. I think about everyone as a player. Prospects, non-prospects; everyone’s a baseball player. I’ve seen prospects – I’m not talking about this organization, I’m talking in general – I think are terrible, and I’ve seen some people that are not prospects that are really great.

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