Padres Prospect Interview: Brandon Gottier

Just how important is the catcher position? Brandon Gottier can tell you. He has already played at three levels within the organization, including Lake Elsinore twice. His work as the backup at each stop along the way has been tough – Gottier has to be ready to play when his name is called.

What was the off-season preparation like for you as a catcher?

Brandon Gottier: I moved out to Newport Beach and worked out at 24-hour fitness so I could lift weights and pay some rent.

I came out to spring early with Nic Crosta and Will Venable. I went out everyday to try and get in better shape than last year.

I wanted to put on 10 pounds. I really wanted to have my arm in shape – in overall baseball shape and not pull any muscles or tweak anything.

As a catcher, the primary focus is always on defense. But, hitting is a big part of the game too. How do you balance the two?

Brandon Gottier: I think they brought me in more as a defensive guy. I want to swing the stick better to end the year. Last year, I struggled a bit through the whole season. It is tough to balance it but you have to find a way to get it done if you want to keep playing.

You were coming off the bench and have been playing a platoon throughout your career. How tough is that, especially when timing is so critical?

Brandon Gottier: I don't want to make any excuses. You have to be ready. You have take the little things to heart in batting practice and maybe stay a little longer or get there earlier. You have to prepare everyday and work a little harder, maybe, than the guy who is in there everyday. So, it is a little tougher.

What have you changed in your swing this year?

Brandon Gottier: I just want to stay shorter to the baseball. The middle of the field. I think I got away from myself with the pull approach last year. I was pulling the ball too much. This year, I am staying shorter to the ball and working the middle of the field.

One of the big things you mentioned was arm strength – you did pretty well even last year in that category.

Brandon Gottier: I just wanted to work on being consistent and repeating the same good mechanics. If I can strengthen the arm any way I could it is only a bonus. Work on the arm, work on the feet.

Do you feel like there is a part of your game defensively that you want to continue to work on?

Brandon Gottier: Being more consistent on throwing the ball to second. As you get to the higher levels – if that throw is a little high or a little low or wide, you want to make sure that ball is right on the bag.

You have gotten a chance to work with a bunch of different guys at all different levels. Is it tough to work with all those guys and really know them?

Brandon Gottier: Everyone has a different personality and different character, but I enjoy it. You can get on some guys and you have to know which ones you can. You also have to know which guys you have to pat on the back and give them more confidence. Everyone teaches me things. Everyone is on the same page.

I think it was Steve Delabar who said you were instrumental in getting him to throw the two-seamer more. How open are these guys to taking advice and running with it?

Brandon Gottier: I would like them to be more open to tell you the truth. The pitcher has to be confident in what we call and their pitches.

The two-seam is a great pitch. That is a ground ball pitch and has a lot of movement. Anything that has more movement – great.

Is it that some guys are approachable and other guys aren't?

Brandon Gottier: I think everyone is pretty approachable. Some guys are quieter and go about their business differently. Some guys are more open to us by talking to us. Some guys you have to go over and say, ‘what are you thinking right here? What were you thinking last pitch?' Some guys are more vocal.

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