Padres Prospect Q&A: Nick Trzesniak

Nick Trzesniak is preparing for the Southern League playoffs. His work behind the plate was essential to the Mobile BayBears first half success. When the entire team was barely hitting above .230, Trzesniak was commandeering his troops to get that pitch on the corner of the plate. The catcher puts his defense first and his offense is still a work in progress. On the eve of the playoffs he tells us his secrets.

How has your first year in Mobile been?

Nick Trzesniak: It has been hot.

The season started off great. We played well as a team. Hitting, catching, throwing – everything was going great. Then I got into a little bit of a slump. I couldn't figure it out with the bat, but I have been making some changes. It was kind of good that I got into a slump. I found out what I was doing wrong. Fix it now instead of down the road. So the hitting is getting better and the catching is what I pride myself on. That has been good for me all season. I think I am leading the league in throwing guys out.

Catching will always be there for me and hopefully I will get my hitting better.

Describe the changes you have made to help you in the hitting department and how did it all start?

Nick Trzesniak: When Rob Deer comes to town. I talked to him really about the mental part. I was really struggling with the hitting and I have never really struggled that much before. It wasn't really anything physically. I was just going up there with the wrong things in my head like telling myself I couldn't do it. Talking to him – he really helped me out with the mental side more than the physical side.

Rob Deer has helped a lot of people throughout the system, which is strange considering his pro career. Would you expand on that?

Nick Trzesniak: He is a great guy. You can go to him and talk to him about anything you have got on your mind. Even non-baseball issues. When you know you have a guy like that you can turn to it really helps you out, especially being in the Minor Leagues and a place like (Mobile). It is tough to get up and play everyday when it is hot. It is good to have someone like that there for you 24 hours a day.

How about the rest of the coaches in Mobile, have they all been as supportive as Deer has? Obviously you have managed to stay in the lineup on a consistent basis, but what did they say during your struggles?

Nick Trzesniak: Everybody has been supportive. All the coaches have, even Gary Lance our pitching coach. They know I can hit. I have showed it this year with a 12, 13 game hitting streak where I was just crushing the ball. I showed that I could hit and all of a sudden something happened. I don't know where it went.

Talking about your favorite part of the game – catching. What kind of strides do you feel you have made this season?

Nick Trzesniak: I have always had a good arm. This offseason – I know my catching is what is going to get me to the big leagues. I really concentrate on that in the offseason, working on quick feat, getting rid of the ball quicker and I work on that all the time.

I worked out with Joe Ferguson in spring training and he helped me out with a few more things that I didn't even know to make me a little quicker and that helped out too.

You lead the Southern League in percentage of runners thrown out. Do you also believe in making snap throws behind the runner at first?

Nick Trzesniak: Not too often. If I see a guy getting way off there I will throw but I am not going to be a guy who throws down there ten times a game and the guy is always safe. I have to save my arm.

Do you have a set pre-game routine where you go through the opposing lineup with the pitcher of the day? How does that whole process evolve from pre-game to into the game? And do you take a stern approach with them if they are not working with their best stuff?

Nick Trzesniak: Every time we go through all the hitters we are facing. We even talk about it when we are done warming up because not everyday do they have their best pitch working for them. So we have to go to plan B. It is constant communication during the game and after the game. That is another thing I have worked on that these coaches have told me. I have to communicate a little more and let these guys know what the plan is.

I am just putting them down, they are throwing it.

I am not one of those guys that is not going to go out there and yell at them. I don't think that works to well for both guys. Some guys I have done it, but I don't do it all the time. I try to get across to them as plainly as possible, ‘Hey, this aint working. You are leaving it up.' And usually they listen to me. If they do it usually works out.

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