Padres Prospect Interview: Josh Alley

Josh Alley earned the distinction of best eye in the system after walking more times than he struck out in 2005. We reflect on his first season of professional baseball and the challenges he faced.

Talk about being drafted along with one of your best friends, Chase Headley and moving up to Fort Wayne before he did.

Josh Alley: It was kind of mixed emotions I guess you would say. Any time you get moved up you have to be happy. At the same time, I had to leave Chase and made a lot of good friends out there in the time I was there.

You had a slow start in Fort Wayne. What kind of adjustments did you have to make?

Josh Alley: It took me one good game. I think I had three hits that game about ten games after I had been struggling. I think I got my confidence back up and realized I wasn't getting overpowered, I was just in a slump. I think it was more mental than anything.

Did you find yourself facing more off-speed stuff as you moved up?

Josh Alley: Not really. Being the leadoff hitter, guys are going to try and keep me off base. I have actually seen quite a few fastballs so it has not changed that much so far.

You mentioned it being mental – how do you overcome that mental factor with the game going on no matter what on a day-to-day basis?

Josh Alley: It is just part of the game. It is tough. For me, I just try as hard as I could to stay positive and to realize it was just a slump that I would eventually come out of. Whenever I had that three-hit game I just felt I had so much confidence after that. I have been pretty happy with the way I have played.

You got to play in Comerica Park – the Detroit Tigers' home – in a Midwest League game. How was that experience?

Josh Alley: I actually had a chance to play at Minute Maid Park [last] season at Tennessee. We opened up a tournament there. Every kid dreams of playing in the big leagues and playing in a stadium like that where big leaguers play is quite an opportunity. I am looking forward to it.

When you look at stats – is there one in particular that you hold dear to your heart and why?

Josh Alley: On-base percentage. I have been a leadoff hitter my whole life. That taught me at a young age to get on base anyway you can. That is something I really focus on. Whether it is a walk or beating out an infield single to get on – just do whatever I can to get on base. If I think my batting average is down as long as I keep my on-base percentage where it needs to be and letting the bigger guys drive me in I am fine.

You had great walk-to-strikeout numbers this past year. Are there any exercises you do to help you strengthen your hand-eye coordination?

Josh Alley: I have taken extra swings my whole life, worked hard on my hitting and it has been that way for me since I have been playing competitive baseball. I don't know if I see the ball better or what. If it is not a good pitch I don't want to swing at it.

Do you consider yourself to be a classic example of a "Moneyball" player?

Josh Alley: I think so. Before the draft, the A's and Blue Jays and teams like that are high on on-base percentage, they were the teams that I felt were on me the hardest, but I could not be happier that the Padres picked me up.

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