Padres Prospect Interview: Jeremy Cleveland

Jeremy Cleveland has begun the year hitting well, batting .317 over his first 11 games with the Lake Elsinore Storm. recently caught up with him to discuss reuniting with Grady Fuson, being a college basketball fan and his outfield defensive abilities.

Talk about signing with the Padres and reuniting with Grady Fuson.

Jeremy Cleveland: I was thrilled. Grady Fuson was the guy who drafted me and saw me in college and all the way up. I am happy to be back with the guy that started my career in the minor leagues.

Has it been a seamless transition into the system?

Jeremy Cleveland: This is a very college friendly organization. A lot of guys I played against or played with. It was a good thrill. I got to a meet a lot of people.

You went to the University of North Carolina – does that make you a huge college basketball fan?

Jeremy Cleveland: I am a huge college basketball fan. Unfortunately, because of the football program (at North Carolina) I am not a huge football fan. I am always the one that is doing some kind of pool for fun.

George Mason which is from my hometown surprised me. I had them losing to North Carolina and they wound up crushing em. It is unbelievable. They messed up everyone's bracket.

Have you always played in left field?

Jeremy Cleveland: I was in the infield in college and moved to the outfield, playing left and right.

How has the defensive progression been in the outfield?

Jeremy Cleveland: Every year I get to learn a little bit more and get a little more relaxed out there. You start believing in your skills after a little while and it starts to take over. We have (outfield instructor Tom) Gamboa who has taught me a lot of things this year. He has a lot of knowledge.

In one of the first few games of the year you had trouble with a ball hit by Carlos Gonzalez. Talk about that play.

Jeremy Cleveland: It is kind of playing in a Fenway type atmosphere. I don't know if I could have caught it but it hit the wall and the ball came down at the same time. That is stuff I have to work on. Hopefully I make more catches than not.

What kind of hitter are you in terms of style – power guy, hitting the gaps?

Jeremy Cleveland: I am probably a gap-to-gap. I get my power in there occasionally. I am still learning my swing just like everyone else here or we would be in the big leagues. I am happy with doubles. Doubles and singles are where you start and they will turn into homers at some point.

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