Padres Prospect Interview: Ricky Steik

The whirlwind tour of Ricky Steik began at Golden West Community College. After being drafted by the Padres in the seventh round, he continued his quest with tours of duty in Eugene before a big time chance with the Portland Beavers to end the year.

The New York Mets originally drafted Ricky Steik in the 27th round of the 2002 Amateur Draft. He didn't sign with the Mets because the signing bonus wasn't where he thought it should be. They offered him $850 a month, the regular stipend for a draftee. He decided to instead go to junior college.

The result:

He elevated his draft status from 807th overall to 192nd and a $192K bonus to sign.

"It worked out," Steik said confidently.

Pitcher of the Year in Orange County will do that for you.

Steik finished a perfect 12-0 during the regular season for the Rustlers, striking out 71 batters in 82 innings with only 12 walks. He posted a 3.18 ERA while holding opponents to a .229 batting average.

"The OC's the toughest league in southern California," Steik said.

The extra time allowed him to grow into his body – so much that he actually dropped about ten pounds before joining the Padres. Now at 6-foot-4 and 210 pounds, he feels like he can throw his three pitches successfully.

"The competition – getting me ready for the professional-degree talent," said the right-hander. "We got a good pitching coach there, a guy named Fred Hoover. I basically just worked hard."

Generally the first year is a time for the Padres to evaluate the player before deciding if they want to make any changes. That is true for his pitching but the Padres did change one thing…he is no longer in the starting rotation – for now.

"I don't mind it because if I pitch it's fine," Steik said. "They said I did too many innings in junior college and they're going to give my arm a rest, so next year I'll probably be starting."

Steik worked in 16 games for Eugene all in relief. He finished ten games but only managed two saves – it wasn't often that Steik held a lead with the Emeralds.

Steik was by no means perfect, allowing hitters to swat .292 off him but he maintained a 3.26 ERA.

He was moved up to Portland in September and was clobbered in his first outing, allowing six runs in two-thirds of an inning. A day later he was back on the hill for the Beavers and gave up a run in an inning of work, but he got the win.

It was no surprise that he was left off the playoff roster. With the season done, Steik admits he was looking forward to some time to himself.

"Yeah, actually," Steik dreamed. He will spend some time near the water before heading to the Instructional League. From then it is "getting ready for spring training."

Denis Savage can be reached at

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