Padres Prospect Interview: Brett Dowdy

San Diego Padres prospect Brett Dowdy has the versatility that the team loves and is a scrappy player that does all the little things right. Now, he wants to turn his plus speed into stolen bases to add another dimension to his game.

You have always been considered a fast runner. How do you translate that to the base paths as a successful base stealer?

Brett Dowdy: You know, I think it just has a lot to do with getting out there and seeing guys throw and getting reads. Just because you're fast doesn't mean that you're going to steal a lot of bases. In my case, for example, I think I need to go out there and I need to work on my jumps. That's one thing that I have a hard time with. I probably hadn't worked at it as hard as I should have. Especially with speed being part of my game, it's something that I need to focus on and work on. Like I said, the only way to do it is to get out there with Gambi [Tom Gamboa] and some of these other guys and listening, learning, and basically repetitions. That's the only way.

It goes back to being smart and getting good jumps a lot of times. Also, knowing what counts and what pitches they might be throwing to go on. And that's something I've got to work on.

Your versatility has always been an asset. Talk about the challenges of playing multiple positions and not knowing where you might be next.

Brett Dowdy: You know, it's always a challenge because every day I come to the field I have to tell myself that I can't just settle in at second base or shortstop. One day I'll come to the field and take all my balls at shortstop. The next day, it's at second. The next day it's at third. And I'll go out to center field and grab some balls out there. Or, it depends on what the lineup says. If the lineup says that I'm playing third one day, then I'll go take my balls at third.

But it is a challenge trying to get all that work in for one spot. Because you always feel like the other guys are set at one spot and they're getting a lot of reps and you almost feel like you're kind of getting behind at one spot. But I try not to look at it like that, and I try to take it as a positive – I'm versatile.

But at the same time, some people see that I play a bunch of different positions and sometimes I wonder – and I think they wonder – well, ‘Does he really have one spot that he's really, really good at or can stick at?' And my answer to that is ‘yeah, I think so.' I kind of get overshadowed because I can play some different positions. But just put me out there, and as long as I'm in the lineup, I can't complain.

Sometimes the perception is that if you play so many positions, you can't be great at any one particular position. Is that what you're describing?

Brett Dowdy: Yeah, that's exactly what I'm describing. I've had some of the staff come up to me and ask me, ‘Brett, what do you think your best spot is?' or ‘Where do you think you're really good at?' And I've had to answer that and that's always in the back of my head. You know, maybe they're just unsure of can I play this spot real well, or play that spot real well.

So is there a spot where you're most comfortable?

Brett Dowdy: I'd say probably second base, third, and then in the outfield – center right now.

But that's pretty much everywhere! Not pitching, though?

Brett Dowdy: Probably second base. But not pitching and no catching or anything like that. But I played the last month or month and a half at shortstop in Triple-A last year when unfortunately [Craig] Stansberry went down. When I first got over there, I was a little uncomfortable, but as the season went on, [I had] more reps and got a little more comfortable with how to make plays in certain situations. I think it goes back to what I said before – being able to take as many reps as I can at a spot and I'll get more comfortable at it.

You hit out of the leadoff spot a lot last year. Are you comfortable in that role?

Brett Dowdy: Yeah. I mean, we go back to speed. You always say that you want to have your fastest guys at the top of the order. That's something that I've been doing since I was in high school or in junior college. So yeah, I'm pretty comfortable with it but at the same time, I'm not exactly your typical prototype leadoff hitter: I like the first pitch, I like to swing early, and I don't necessarily work a lot of counts. Some teams like that and some teams don't.

Do you believe you have to see more pitches this year to be more effective?

Brett Dowdy: I think it just depends on the part of the season, the situation you're in, and how you're feeling at the plate. If you go up there and you're not struggling and you feel real good at the plate, my philosophy on that is why not let it go? You know, you're feeling good and you may not know how many good pitches you're going to get to see in that at-bat. The higher up you go, the less pitches you get to see that you can handle. So that's my theory on that. But if I'm struggling, I'm going to try to take some pitches and work the count and maybe get out of the funk that I'm in.

What kind of adjustments did you have to make when you got to Triple-A?

Brett Dowdy: I think at every level that I've been at, the game speeds up and you try to speed up with the game and you can't do that. You've got to slow yourself down and you've got to back off a little and take some deep breaths and try to calm yourself and realize that you can play this game.

You scuffled a little bit with runners in scoring position. How does your approach change in those situations?

Brett Dowdy: It just goes back to picking a good pitch to hit. That's when I really need to work the count instead of swinging early. Because pitchers know that you've got a runner in scoring position, so they're going to pitch you a little differently. And I know that, but I wasn't thinking that at the plate. That's something I need to make the adjustment on and realize that they're going to change, so I need to change at the same time.

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