Padres Prospect Interview: Dean Anna

Dean Anna only stole a handful of bases in college but found himself thieving quite a bit more often during his time in Eugene. He also showed some power from his middle infielder position in the process.

Let's talk about the experience you had in Eugene. What was it like to go through the whole process and experience of professional baseball?

Dean Anna: Well, the whole process is long, it's every day. That's the toughest part, it's every single day, working hard, trying to improve every day. That's just the hardest part; the bus rides. The worst part is the bus rides. The worst part is the bus rides. Getting back that next day and playing that day, that's the hard part around traveling. That's a little different for me.

You've been working on your swing a little bit since you got here. One of the things I noticed, it looks like things are coming around for you. Talk from the coaches, they said that one of the big things was you were kind of losing some momentum, you're stepping forward, waiting a second, then the trigger would go.

Dean Anna: There were three parts to my swing. It was kind of good that I hit the ball, not a lot of people can do that I guess you could say. I'm starting to fix it and just have one movement; they're really working on staying back, get your hands through. It's all timing and rhythm they talk about, timing and rhythm. I'm starting to feel it and it's starting to feel really good with my swing.

You also hit a couple of home runs during your time in Eugene. You're not the biggest guy necessarily. When you see that and then you're like: "But I hit a few, I'm hitting them pretty hard, why am I changing?" It's kind of like you're fighting mentally against yourself.

Dean Anna: It's hard, it's in my head, I'm going up there and I want to do what they say up there. I'm trying to master it and trying to do everything perfect. I'm thinking about it up there. It's a head game out here too. But, I'm starting to clear my head a little better. I'm really starting to get it now; it's definitely coming around.

Eugene manager Greg Riddoch is pretty psychological and he talks a lot about the mental side of the game, he has instituted journals for everybody. Is that something new to you?

Dean Anna: Yeah, the journals, you know, I just got a journal. I've been writing down all my little tips that help me out during the game and before the game; my preparation. How to make sure how to take ground balls; make sure my hands are in the right spot; keep better repetition; just trying to do it every time. It's starting to really help me, definitely.

When people start writing things down, they kind of bring it with them. Is it hard to leave that stuff behind, because you even mentioned just talking about something at the plate?

Dean Anna: It is kind of hard especially because I'm new at all this stuff. But I think that it's going to come around and it's just going to be more of instinct when I use it. I'm just really working hard on keeping it in the back of my head but not really thinking about it. So, it's coming around.

You've been pretty aggressive on the bases. The other night you stole two bags. Is that something where hey, I see something here?

Dean Anna: You know, I only had five stolen bases at Ball State

Riddoch, he always talks about how he has all these tapes of all these pitchers. We'll go in to the room and we'll look at the computer and it will actually show us how the pitcher pitches and when he comes to first base. We can pick out little things, what they do. I've just been watching in the dug out, even when I'm not playing I'll watch in the dug out and see how the pitcher's move is. Sometimes he'll put his head down; that means he's going home. When I see that, I'm off on the first time he's going. I'm getting huge jumps. I wish I knew this stuff in college, because I would have 40 stolen bases honestly, but I only had five.

Riddoch's favorite saying in regard to stealing bases, "he's looking at you, but he isn't really looking at you"

Dean Anna: He's taught me a lot already. I've only been here for like a month, month and a half and I've learned so much already. I'm just trying to carry this season over to spring training and hopefully be fully ready for wherever they want to put me.

When you see those kinds of things, even in the dugout, are you going "you got to steal on this guy"?

Dean Anna: Especially when I tell the guys, especially when I steal a bag, I'm like "alright guys, this is what he's doing and this is what I picked up". Usually some of the guys listen and some of them, they're on their own, they do what they want. Everyone's kind of talking to each other in the dug out, little tips. We're coming along, definitely.

Now, is that more than in college? Because we know it happens pretty much everywhere, but now we're kind of playing for our lives.

Dean Anna: If I was a college coach now, I would tell my college kids exactly what Riddoch's telling me. I wish my college coach did that. I mean, not a lot of people learn this stuff.

He's like "you're from Illinois, no one knows how to play there"!

Dean Anna: Yeah, there are not a lot of guys from Illinois; they're all Southern kids. I'm taking a lot from Riddoch. I'm listening to everything he says. He coached in the big leagues, he knows the game and if you're not listening to him, you're dumb, you are. Whatever he says, I'm listening and trying to perfect it, whatever he says.

Now, you're playing two positions too. You've got 2nd base and you've got short stop. Is that something that's new to you?

Dean Anna: I played short stop every day in college. 2nd base, I played a little bit in high school, not much at all, I always played short. I'm really starting to get 2nd base down. The hardest part about 2nd base is turning the double play. I'm really working on getting my feet set. It's a lot of footwork at 2nd base. I'm really working hard at it. Jonesy, our infield coach, he works really hard with us and makes sure we're getting it down, getting everything right.

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