Padres Prospect Interview: Allan Dykstra

San Diego Padres first-round pick Allan Dykstra didn't play a whole lot after a late signing but still got his work in during instructs. He hopes to take the things he learned into spring and the upcoming season.

You sign late and go to Lake Elsinore and the first memory has to be that you hit a grand slam in the fifth game. A nice welcome.

Allan Dykstra: Not off the bat – but the first week. I had to get back into it and once I started swinging it and getting in game – once things came together it started to work out. We won nine games in a row and got into the playoffs. It was kind of disappointing finish but still pretty good.

What were the challenges? You went right from college to High-A. Not many guys are doing that.

Allan Dykstra: I was trying to get back to the swing of things. It took a little more time going out there. The pitching – they really know what they are doing and aren't just throwing it. You have to go up there with an approach instead of just swinging. You have to work counts, especially in those games that were close. You have to do things that are better for the team and not necessarily for yourself.

You go to intructs this offseason. What was the main goal for going out there?

Allan Dykstra: One of the main reasons I was out there was to work on the problems with my swing – my stride. I have been really closed off and I spin. I worked on my stride. If anyone was paying close attention, I am looking down every time to ake sure my stride is straight. It is a pain but it is progressing.

It is getting better every day. I had a really bad habit that I was stepping towards the plate instead of towards the pitcher. I am doing it well in the cage and have to move it to the game.

How difficult are habits to break when they might be things you have been doing since you were a little kid?

Allan Dykstra: I realized I was doing it when someone pointed it out. It is tough. I messed around with different starting points to get it to go straight, and we finally found something that is slowly working. That is why I was there.

What is striding towards the pitcher really going to help you with?

Allan Dykstra: The inside pitch and keeping everything quiet. When you are diving in, you are spinning off and your head is moving – everything. Pitch selection. As you go up, the pitching gets better and adjustments need to be made. Apparently, they throw harder too, which is pretty tough to imagine since they throw hard already. It keeps everything quiet, slows the game down, and has less movement.

Talk about your defensive game. It seemed you went out to instructs to work on that as well.

Allan Dykstra: Definitely. I went out to try and get my defense up – not so much catching it but getting the footwork improved. Getting out there with Gary Jones went well. We really worked on some things – the order of footsteps and angles on the infield.

When you are out there, people don't really appreciate the first baseman and the defense you provide. You have a chance to pick up your fellow infielders when they throw one in the dirt.

Allan Dykstra: It definitely takes work. We are out here a lot with them hitting fungos to us. It almost looks brutal. Then there are machines that throw balls into the dirt.

One of our coaches told us that most first basemen are in for their offensive numbers. You say you 90 RBI. But, defensively, if you save 10 runs – that is something you can do easily during the season – then it is actually like 100 RBI since they can be added on. It is an interesting take. It all adds up.

It is a complete game and that is what I am trying to do.

How does the offseason change for you without studying?

Allan Dykstra: I went back to school for a little bit and then around Thanksgiving got back into things. The goal was to gt my body back in shape before I started swingintg in December. I took all the things I learned in instructs and will bring that into spring.

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