Little black book

Some of you may have a little black book. It is where you keep phone numbers and addresses and maybe even some stars can be seen next to certain names. Those stars will mean different things to different people, but it is somehow a way of identifying that person. Etched into memory. San Diego Padres prospect Jon Knott has his own book, with notes and stars and anything that will tell him about the pitcher he is facing. It is how he separates himself from the pack, his little black book.

Jon Knott admits he doesn't take notes on his own teammates, unless he faces them, but everyone else he faces is fair game and gets an entry into the book. One at bat is all that is needed and a new record is added.

When he went to the Arizona Fall League, Knott continued his trend.

"I knew probably a handful of pitchers," says Knott.

So he started keeping tabs on the new pitchers he battled. The book is not so little anymore as he sees a variety of pitchers as he climbs the ladder of success. Knott may note a tendency a pitcher has and talks with his coaches to get a better feel for what he saw. Each view is interpreted and put into action.

The idea is next time he faces that player, he will know what to expect and have a leg up.

"I like to do that," Knott said. "It gives me an idea of what is coming up."

And what would happen if he lost the notebook?

"It is kind of like learning everybody all over." Knott says laughing.

Knott has been studying his book on pitchers in the league since his college days. It was something he had to relearn when he went into the Minors. In college, the administration was willing to do that for him, but when he went into the Padres' system, he was on his own and he learned how valuable it was.

"My coaches in school at Mississippi State, they did that for us," Knott said. "I kind of took it for granted that we always had scouting reports. My first year, last year I guess I decided just to do that on my own so I would really know and learn on my own. Nobody is going to do that for you."

They say when you get married it is time to toss the little black book. But it has been a tool that has propelled Knott into his current success. It is not something he plans on discarding.

Recently, he was told to start the book up and to the surprise of a few people within the organization, he had already begun the process long ago.

Knott says it is one of the best learning tools he has incorporated into his game.

"Oh for sure. I have learned a lot from that. Rob (Deer) suggested that when I was up there in California, he was like, ‘Hey you are already doing that. I didn't even tell you to do that.'"

The forward thinking that Knott displays has the organization feeling good about the former undrafted player. This year he continues his book on the Portland pitchers. The book is thin right now as his first taste of the league came late last season. By mid-year, Knott will have all he needs to know.

The marriage to his book is not over and considering how it has helped his game, it will be tough to take it from him.

Denis Savage can be reached at

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