Padres Prospect Interview: Robbie Blauer

Eugene, OR-- This Huntington Beach bad boy isn't in the UFC but he has had to fight to continue to get better. He was hitting just .200 after his first 14 games but has poured it on of late and is hitting .280 with more walks than strikeouts after 34 games.

Talk to me a little about the work you have done with hitting coach Jose Flores where you worked on pitch selection in specific counts. Is that something you have found some struggles with?

Robbie Blauer: Just reinforcing it. He hit at a high level so I am taking everything he teaches me and running with it.

What have you found since you have been in Eugene – what have you learned?

Robbie Blauer: The biggest thing is finding out how big leaguers carry themselves. Coach Rid (Greg Riddoch) used to be a big league manger so he tells us what the big league guys do and I put that together with what Flo (Flores) tells us and incorporate that in our game.

How comfortable are you feeling at the plate?

Robbie Blauer: It is starting to come around. I definitely had some struggles out of the gate but it is definitely coming around. I think it will be fine.

What do you attribute those early struggles to?

Robbie Blauer: Putting too much pressure on myself. Trying to do too much. I am trying to relax. It is a simple game – see ball, hit ball.

Is that a product of wood bat, new league, new team, you have to now look at this as a job and impress the Padres?

Robbie Blauer: Yes. It is almost a lot at once. I have to take it slowly.

What part of your game do you have to take up another notch?

Robbie Blauer: Just hitting the ball. It is as simple as that. Squaring them up and hitting them into the gaps.

It sounds so simple.

Robbie Blauer: It does. If only it was that easy.

Have you noticed anything different from college to professional ball?

Robbie Blauer: The only difference is guys here have a little bit better fastballs. They don't throw their off-speed as well as guys in college. They don't have the command of it guys I saw did. It is mostly the fastball and the better velocity. Nothing too special.

I noticed guys are a lot better defensively here than they were in college. Guys will make plays deep in the hole and have stronger arms. You have to hit balls harder to get them through.

When you see that off-speed pitch, is it almost a trigger in your mind that you have to stay away from it because you know it is going to be a ball?

Robbie Blauer: Exactly. You try and hit off the fastball. That is what they preach here. The club motto is and it is what I am trying to do up here.

The patiently aggressive approach. Is that starting to pay dividends for you where maybe earlier in the year you were trying to find the balance and being too passive?

Robbie Blauer: I like getting deep into the counts anyways. I try to see my pitch. Everyone hits fastballs best so you try and look for that early in the count and do the best to drive it.

Coach Riddoch is a very mental coach. What part of the game do you see the benefit from him?

Robbie Blauer: (Defensive) positioning, looking in to get the pitch from the catcher so you know whether to take a step this way on the changeup or that way on a fastball. Also the hitters' tendencies, especially when we play guys a second time. They do a good job with scouting reports.

What are your expectations for the rest of the season?

Robbie Blauer: Hopefully, keep winning and Salem will get a couple of losses in there, and we will find a way to get a ring.

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