Padres Prospect Interview: Brett Dowdy

No one quite knew what the San Diego Padres were getting when Todd Donovan was traded for Brett Dowdy. Dowdy is four years younger than the man he was traded for, buying the Padres some time in the trade – and it is known now that he brough along with him a nice bat and impressive hustle.

Once a product of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Brett Dowdy has begun the year in Fort Wayne. Along with a .279 average, Dowdy has contributed team highs in runs scored (37), hits (58) and is second on the team with 28 RBI's.

But the prospect spent time in Double-A during the 2004 season with the Dodgers' Jacksonville affiliate, meaning he took a significant step down to play in the Low-A Midwest League.

"I don't see it as a step back for me," said Dowdy. "I believe as long as you are playing somewhere in the minor league system, almost everyday, as long as you are playing, you have an opportunity to get to where you want to get, which is in the Major Leagues."

And playing he is, manning third base for the Fort Wayne Wizards. Not only is he getting it done at the plate, but Dowdy has shown a solid glove and cannon arm from the hot corner. He has seven errors on the season – a low total for someone playing in Low-A, and earning his keep at one of the toughest fielding positions on the field.

The trade wasn't a total surprise and Dowdy has been told by the Padres' staff to expect to log a lot of minutes at third base. In fact, all of his starts this year have been at the hot corn

er. He appreciated the honesty given to him by management.

"Got over here and they told me they wanted me to go to Fort Wayne, play third base a lot, do well and hope to get me out of here, depending on how I do, in a month or two," Dowdy admitted.

That two-month trial is almost over. The results have been promising.

But the toughest part about moving him up in the system is the players ahead of him. Brett Bonvechio is in Lake Elsinore, Corey Smith is in Mobile and J.J. Furmaniak is in Portland.

Without movement, Dowdy may find himself in Fort Wayne for the rest of the year.

Dowdy has experience playing all of the outfield positions, as well as second base and shortstop, so that plays into his favor. The only thing he hasn't done is catch.

At the dish, Dowdy is tied atop the Midwest League leader board with eight triples, notching three consecutive games where he logged a three-bagger. He has 15 extra base hits through 51 games, better than he had in his first two years in the minors.

Without expectations coming in, was this what Dowdy envisioned?

"You will probably see a lot of singles, a lot of doubles, hopefully a lot of triples. I like to play hard. I like to get down and dirty. If I can stretch a single into a double, I am definitely going to do it. If I can stretch a double into a triple I am going to do that. I am going to take every advantage and opportunity that the other team wants to give me. If they want to be slow getting to the ball or want to lackadaisical getting to the ball, I will take second on them."

Nicknamed the "Sandlot Kid", a moniker he picked up when he first entered professional baseball, the Padres like the early returns. He has already set career highs in virtually every hitting category and still has room to grow. If he continues at this pace, it will be hard to keep him in the Midwest League.

He is a throwback of sorts, aptly named the "Sandlot Kid" because of his affinity for taking as much as the opposition will give. If his jersey isn't dirty, his job hasn't been done right. It reminds a lot of the player he was traded for, Todd Donovan. The Friars thought enough of Donovan to put him on the 40-man roster at one point. Dowdy may be headed down the same road.

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