Padres Prospect Interview: Brian Lauderdale

With a former teammate in High-A and a brother who played baseball in the San Diego Padres' system, Brian Lauderdale has a lot of players he can lean on. Richie Daigle, a pitcher with Lake Elsinore hooks up on the phone with Brian several times a week. And his brother Matt is always a shoulder he can lean on. The infielder talked about that and many more topics in an interview:

Talk about your brother Matt (a catcher that was in the system before being released this year) and what you have been able to learn from him.

Brian Lauderdale: He has taught me a lot about baseball because he is the next step up. I have learned from him; I have learned from his mistakes and how he succeeds. He is always there for me, helping me out in every aspect because he knows the game backwards and forwards. I hope I can learn the game as much as he has.

Was there an influence there when the Padres decided to sign you?

Brian Lauderdale: I don't know if they saw the last name Lauderdale and figured his brother is (here) so why not. That might have influenced them and maybe not. They had an interest so.

Was it some sort of culture shock to not be drafted?

Brian Lauderdale: Oh yeah. My junior year I was promised in some rounds and didn't even get a phone call after the draft. It was a culture shock and a little disappointing. This year even more because it was my senior year and I was really looking forward to take the next step – now, I am just happy to have the opportunity and a chance to play.

You started down in Peoria and then came to Eugene. Talk a little about the different atmospheres.

Brian Lauderdale: It is just a little bit better in all aspects. A little bit better pitching, a little bit more power hitters. The game is the next step up. It is the same game, as long as you play the game the right way.

Is it easier to get the adrenaline going in Eugene with the crowds rather than having to pump yourself up in Peoria?

Brian Lauderdale: It gets kind of monotonous not having any fans behind you and the fans that you do are parents, siblings or scouts. It is so much better playing behind fans. In college, we had 500 max so it is great in front of one, two thousand.

You have spent time working with manager Doug Dascenzo on baserunning, a position he held as a rover for seven years. What can you learn during that one-on-one instruction?

Brian Lauderdale: He fine tunes everything. I learn something new every day. Baseurnning, hitting, fielding. Until I stop learning then I need to continue to get better. Things you don't even think about he brings up to the table.

It is footwork, knowing your surroundings, knowing what the pitcher is thinking – it is all aspects.

It is a complicated game that some people don't understand but that is what I love about it.

That Doug is working so closely with you speaks volumes about your ability to steal a base and the propensity to be successful at it to.

Brian Lauderdale: There you go. In college, I stole quite a few bases. It is a different level and you cant just run hog wild. It is a different game.

It is knowing when you can and can't steal and knowing how to steal. A lot goes into it and you have to pick your opportunities and make the best of it.

Do you consider yourself a gap-to-gap kind of hitter?

Brian Lauderdale: I do. I am not a power hitter at all. That is what my high school coach told me. I am not a big person and I don't consider myself a power hitter. I just try and hit line drives and eventually you will get under one that has enough distance to go but that is not the goal. Fill the gaps, get on base – that is what a leadoff hitter is supposed to do. That has been my job throughout college and that is going to be my job now.

You have already played multiple positions since arriving in the system. What is your comfort level with going second base to third base and back to second?

Brian Lauderdale: One thing I have learned is the more versatile you are the better chance you have to make it to the bigs. That is what I have concentrated on is being versatile. If he needs me in a pinch I can catch. If he needs me in a pinch I can be in the outfield. Wherever he needs me – just being able to play the position to the best of your ability.

Every position is different and it is knowing how to react to the change. It is not harder and not easier – just different.

You have flip-flopped with Mike Epping as the leadoff hitter and in the two-hole. Is the preference to leadoff?

Brian Lauderdale: I led off the majority of college so it is not a shock to me but where in the lineup I am does not really matter as long as I can do my job. The leadoff man, your main job is to get on and that is what I am trying to do.

Talk a little bit about Richie Daigle, having gone to school with him at North Georgia.

Brian Lauderdale: He is great. He never pitched in college. He was an outfielder with an incredibly strong arm. I am tickled to death that he has the opportunity to pitch and is doing well. He is tearing it up. I talk to him every few days. We keep up with each other and wish the best for each other.

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