Padres Prospect Interview: George Kottaras
MadFriars.com: Are you still scheduled to play on the Olympics for Greece this years?
George Kottaras: Yes, right now we are in the final stages of selecting the team. So far I haven't heard for sure whether or not I am on the team, but I hope to be it's a great opportunity. Everything is kind of up in the air because of the recent death of our coach.
MadFriars.com: Baseball America said in its synopsis of you that you played more fast pitch softball than baseball growing up? When did you start playing baseball seriously and how did you end up at Connors State in Oklahoma?
George Kottaras: I started playing baseball at 15. I made a lot of phone calls to get on teams and basically learned the game from scratch. It's a totally different tempo than softball. I was playing with the Ontario Blue Jays, a traveling team and I got set up with Connors State College. I got drafted by the Padres and went another year at Connors State, and then signed before the draft with the Padres. If I hadn't signed, I would have gone to Florida to play baseball.
MadFriars.com: As a natural right hander, how did you end up batting left handed? Also, why don't you switch hit?
George Kottaras: Not sure, my dad told me to swing left handed when I first started playing and just had some success. I've tried swinging right handed, it just never felt natural.
MadFriars.com: Do you play any other positions besides catcher?
George Kottaras: In college I played a little outfield, and played seven games at first base last year, but mainly catcher. I feel much more comfortable at catcher.
MadFriars.com: How do you balance making contact for hitting with power?
George Kottaras: My approach has changed I try to more aggressive in the zone, waiting for my pitch early in the count. I try to hit gaps and have some power.
MadFriars.com: Finally, if you were a scout, what would you say your strengths are and what do you need to improve on to make the major leagues?
George Kottaras: My improvement, mainly defensively. I really don't have much experience, but I believe I am improving day by day working with Joe Ferguson, our roving catching instructor. He has helped me change my stance, which has really helped. Offensively, I'm getting better with situational hitting, taking walks, making contact, moving runners over and sacrifice flies.
The main goal is just to work on improving every part of my game, always room for improvement.
John Conniff can be reached at Conniff@sandiegosports.net