Padres Prospect Interview: Lachlan Dale

San Diego Padres prospect Lachlan Dale set his sights on making the Fort Wayne roster, a long season Low-A team. Instead he had to bide his time and wait for the Northwest League to open up its doors as he made the Eugene Emeralds roster for its 77 game season. Dale proceeded to tear the cover off the ball but has since cooled.

As rosters were shaped and reshaped throughout the season, Lachlan Dale expected his name would be called. It just didn't happen that way due to various reasons that he is all too familiar with.

Dale just turned 21 on June 22 and still has time to grow as some older prospects were targeted accordingly.

"The offseason goal was to go to Fort Wayne and trying to gear up to go out there," Dale said. "But different players went to Fort Wayne due to age and skill and everything else that goes with it so after that I was just hoping to go to Eugene and have a good year in Eugene and go up to Fort Wayne next year."

Dale homered in his first two games with the Emeralds and it appeared maybe he should have been with Fort Wayne to start the year. But then he hit a wall and has struggled since.

"I started off pretty good with a homer in the first game and another one in the second so it was pretty exciting stuff," Dale said.

Dale has added 30 pounds since he signed with the Padres in 2002 and is now a mature 220 pounds. With is has come increased power, but it also means he must work at his craft to be able to use that weight effectively.

Thirty pounds is a lot of weight to add in two seasons and the changes in body type can adversely affect how a player hits the ball.

"It is a little different but once you get used to the game and used to seeing the ball your reactions become quicker anyway," Dale replied. "What I have been working on is pitch selection and getting a good pitch to hit. When I get a nice good fastball and get on top of that then hits will come from those instead of chasing bad pitches in the dirt and bad pitches that aren't strikes."

So far this year Dale has continued to do some chasing. He leads the Eugene team in strikeouts with 23 in 17 games played.

It is still a work in progress evidently.

As is his increased power. Dale had just three homers in his first two seasons playing with Idaho Falls. In those same 79 games he had 14 doubles, and increased his total from four to ten between 2002 and 2003.

Now the hope is to turn the doubles power into homer while still maintaining a respectable average.

"It is starting to develop," Dale said of his power. "My first two years in Idaho I only hit one and two home runs. Pretty much this year the power is starting to come. I had ten doubles last year and I think some of those doubles are turning into home runs. That is always nice. Hopefully it will turn into a good power game with doubles and home runs and have a good average to go with it."

Dale was tied for the team lead with ten RBI's heading into Tuesday's game and his four homers place him second on the team to Colt Morton. Now about that average. It is teetering on the wrong side of .200 at .183 but the season is 17 games old.

Whilst seventeen games does not make a season, it can lead to a season long slump and with visions of Fort Wayne and other stops within the system, Dale will need to step up his game and that means bringing up his average.

Denis Savage can be reached at

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