Padres Prospect Interview: Geoff Vandel

Geoff Vandel burst on the scene in 2005 after being selected in the 34th round of this year's draft. Expectations may have been low but after a phenomenal season he has elevated the bar. sat down with him to get his take on the year that was and the future.

You were selected in the 34th round. Talk about signing on to play professional ball instead of going to college.

Geoff Vandel: I looked at it as being able to take advantage of an opportunity. For most people it is a once in a lifetime chance and I did not want to turn it down and take a chance going to college and being injured and not ever go. I am excited to be able to play for a major league team and like I said it is a once in a lifetime chance and I am fortunate to have that opportunity.

Talk about your first season and starting out in Peoria.

Geoff Vandel: When I first got there I had arrived late and was one of the youngest people on the team. I just tried to do the best I could and I just had a great season. I went out there to do my best and it went well.

Was there anything that jumped out about your season?

Geoff Vandel: I was happy and excited that I had a great season and I was happy to be able to move up to Eugene at the end of the season. I was kind of surprised I was moved up as quick as I did because I got there so late. That kind of surprised me the most to move up as fast as I did.

You mentioned going to Eugene. Talk about pitching in front of a crowd.

Geoff Vandel: It was awesome. Being down in Peoria and in rookie ball, having crowd of 10 or 15 people and you get up to Eugene and see two or three-thousand fans a night. It is a big difference having a crowd – it is just awesome.

How have you adapted to the new lifestyle. Coming from high school there probably wasn't a whole lot of time away from home.

Geoff Vandel: It can be tough being out on my own and being pretty much across the country from my family. I have, in the past, in summer ball have had the opportunities to play with traveling teams and to live out on my own for a couple of weeks at a time. It might have been easier for me because I had those opportunities in the past. It was fun in some ways and hard in others being away from home. It helps me mature.

You moved into the starting rotation when you went to Eugene. Is that your future?

Geoff Vandel: Before I got there I was a starting pitcher and when they told me of the move to the rotation that is where I want to be and where I want to stay.

How did you feel from a stamina stadpoint and what has the off-season been like?

Geoff Vandel: Once the season was over I took a month and a half off to rest and recover from being tired. I picked up on weight lifting and a lot of conditioning. I started throwing (in late December) and I took it slow to build my arm strength back up to be where I have to be in pre-season. I know it is going to be a tough road and a long season. I have to be ready for it.

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