Padres Draft Interview: Jason Codiroli

Jason Codiroli was being scouted as both a pitcher and an outfielder. When the San Diego Padres called his name in round 20, it came up as the latter. He is excited to be able to focus all of his energies on one position and believes he has a lot of room to grow as a result.

Talk about being selected by the San Diego Padres in the 20th round. But you are signed to go to Cumberland next season – is that true?

Jason Codiroli: I am pumped about it. It is something I wanted to do since I was two. I am really excited.

I was signed to go to Cal Baptist University – but I guess it doesn't really make a difference.

You are considered a great leadoff type guy. Can you talk a little bit about your game.

Jason Codiroli: I am a real good base runner and like to steal bases. I don't consider myself a power hitter. I like to go gap-to-gap and up the middle. I like to bunt a lot. I think I am a real good defensive outfielder and can cover a lot of ground. Basically, my game is speed, making things happen on the bases and getting on base for the big guys to put it over the fence.

You stole somewhere between 25-30 bags this past season, if I remember correctly. Do you feel like you were aggressive enough or did you leave some on the table?

Jason Codiroli: I think I had 45 in the whole year – the thing is I could have stolen a lot more bags but we were beating up teams 19-1. We were really beating guys up and our coach would tell us to shut the running game down out of respect for them. There were a lot of games like that. There were times when I would have three stolen bases in the first five innings and would have to let up because we would be beating teams up so much.

We went 24-1 in league play. We lost the last game but almost went undefeated.

What is it about the game of baseball you love so much?

Jason Codiroli: It has been in my family – my uncle played in the big leagues. My dad got to the big leagues and played pro ball. When I was born, I was born into it. As I played it and learned more about the game, it became a huge part of my life. It is something I want to make a career out of. It is a great game – I love it. I can't really give a full explanation.

How can your dad and your uncle help you through this process of going into professional baseball?

Jason Codiroli: They have been through this process. They can tell me what to expect, and granted it was a long time ago and things are different now, but they can walk me through and tell me what to expect, how the competition is going to be. My dad has always told me – he was in the Seattle system – that it was always harder for him to hit in the minors because guys would throw 100 MPH but have no idea where it is going. Stories that they have been able to tell me and their past experiences. They will be a big part of my decision making and will help me walk through the process. If I need help, I am going to go to them to see what I should do or what steps I should take. If I have any questions, I go to them.

You were a pretty good pitcher too. Has there been any feelings where you would like to continue pitching?

Jason Codiroli: My feeling has always been that I want to do both for as long as I can. At the same time, I know if I focus on just one instead of having to worry about preparing for being a two-way guy I can get a lot better at one or the other.

I don't know if I consider myself a better outfielder than pitcher. I don't know if I consider myself a better pitcher than outfielder. I wanted to do both for as long as I could. Now is the time that I have to be a centerfielder – I am ready for that.

Were teams talking to you about being on the mound versus being an outfielder?

Jason Codiroli: Yes. The Mets. I went to a showcase in Anaheim as a pitcher for them. I didn't run the 60. I didn't do any hitting. I know they were interested in me as a pitcher. Kansas City – when I went to their showcase they had me do both. I guess there was interest for me being a pitcher.

What has been the best moment in your baseball career thus far?

Jason Codiroli: Getting drafted. I still think about it. When you go down the first drop in a rollercoaster and your stomach gets knots in it – I still have that feeling. I guess it really hasn't sunk in yet. My friends and family are still pumped and I am still shocked. It is something I have wanted to do since I was two.

How did you find out about getting drafted?

Jason Codiroli: Mr. Bordie called me at 10 in the morning. I talked to him for five minutes. I ran downstairs to look on the Internet and saw my friend get picked in the 19th round. About 10 minutes later, I saw the Mets picked and thought they might pick me up as a pitcher. Some other guys name came up. The Padres picked next and I saw my name come up. Right after I saw it come up, Mr Bordie called me and said congratulations.

Is there an area of your game that you believe needs to be improved?

Jason Codiroli: Absolutely. I would like to improve in all areas. I would like to get faster, be a better base runner, get more bat speed. There is always room for improvement in every aspect of my game. I know I can get a lot better. That is why I was saying to be able to focus on one position rather than focus on being a pitcher and an outfielder, I think I can get a lot better.

I can work out in the off-season just as an outfielder too.

You fit the Padres mold of being patient at the plate with your approach. How has that helped your game?

Jason Codiroli: It has helped my game a lot. That is something my dad taught me when I was young. If you swing at pitches you can't hit, you are not going to be that effective. Basically, you have to be patient and look for your pitch to hit. If you don't get it, you have to take it. If they walk you – you are on third in three pitches.

I know where I am good. I know what pitches I hit well. I know what pitches I don't hit well. I try to stick to that approach. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn't. I think as I develop as a hitter, there are pitches that I didn't hit well that I will start to hit well and become that much better of a hitter.

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