Padres Prospect Interview: Reilly Embrey

Local product Reilly Embrey went from SDSU to the San Diego Padres, fulfilling a lifelong dream of being picked by the hometown team. Growing up as a Friar fan in the old days of Jack Murphy Stadium, Embrey got to watch the golden son, Tony Gwynn, through it all. He moved on to play for his childhood idol in college and now to be able to follow in the footsteps of greatness is something that few can put into words.

Of course, Reilly Embrey graduated with high honors and received a post grad scholarship from the NCAA, so he is not among those at a loss for verbatim.

Forgive us for the nostalgia, but who doesn't remember playing "bottom of the ninth" as a young kid? Perhaps you did it when no one else was around, mouthing the words…

It is the bottom of the ninth, bases loaded and two outs. San Diego is down to their last out. The two-strike pitch is hit – it could be – yes! Yes! It is a grand slam home run!

For most of us that was just a dream. Becoming a ballplayer with the skills to get drafted is rare and now we pass it on to our children to dream.

Embrey, on the other hand, is beginning to realize his dream. He is a Padres fan through and through. Staying local out of high school put him in an enviable position. He got to play for Tony Gwynn and his family had a chance to watch a simple dream blossom.

"It really was a special experience for me," Embrey said. "I grew up in San Diego as a Padres fan my whole life. I can remember going to the stadium before it was Qualcomm to watch Tony Gwynn play. He was always my favorite player and the chance to have him coach at San Diego State is a special experience that I am really lucky to have had."

Not only was Gwynn a fantastic ballplayer, but what made him so special to the hearts in San Diego was his behavior off the field.

"I think the biggest thing you get from being around him is the sense of professionalism that he has," Embrey said. "You look at him and he was the consummate pro for 20 years in the majors and he was an All-Star all the time, future Hall of Famer, just to see the way he acts when he is around the field and to see the way he carries himself is something everyone can learn from."

And on the field, Embrey made sure he siphoned all of the knowledge that he could from the future Hall of Famer.

It paved the way for Embrey to be selected in the 2004 MLB Amateur Draft by the Padres, a 23rd round pick. Embrey headed off to Eugene where he has had some initial struggles – a fate the whole team has suffered through.

"I have been struggling," Embrey readily admits. "I don't feel real bad while I am playing, I feel pretty good. It is just one of those things where it is not falling in for me right now. You will get in a groove eventually and as soon as that starts things will turn around for me."

It hasn't all been bad for Embrey. Although he is hitting just .100, going 3-for-30 in ten games played, Embrey has walked ten times, putting his on base percentage at .289. So once he does he does start hitting he will have an on base percentage that will pump up his stats further.

Unfortunately for Embrey, his progression has been put on hold. He has been shipped to Peoria, nursing an undisclosed injury with no timetable placed on his return.

Denis Savage can be reached at

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