Padres Prospect Interview: Allan Dykstra

There were a lot of changes that San Diego Padres prospect Allan Dykstra had to make. Holes in his swing fixed now will bring forth the light tower power he possesses and a more consistent approach. He is seeing the dividends now.

Did you apologize to Wynn Pelzer for the liner you smacked into his kneecap in the Cape in '07?

Allan Dykstra: We talked about it, it's one of those things, it happened. We're not holding grudges. It's kind of something that we mess around with. The first time we met it was a little bit of ackward silence but everything is smoothed out.

You were working on separation of your hands and your stride – what will that accomplish?

Allan Dykstra: It was something I worked at, I went down to the Dominican and spent another month working at it. It's something that I'm feeling really good about. I feel that it's something that will help me, especially with the path of my swing coming down with the ball instead of having a little loop up, it will help me move some pitches in and also recognize some pitches. I think the change in my stride will really help me this season.

Were you surprised with anything that you saw down in the Dominican?

Allan Dykstra: I went down there expecting the worst. But the complex was beautiful. It was an area that I was unfamiliar with, so I just hung out at the complex. It was definitely an experience. It was a good time down there.

What about the competition level?

Allan Dykstra: It's a little bit different. You've got a lot of raw talent. You get down there and it's like this kid's sixteen years old so the first pitch warm ups hit the backstops. You're not really digging in there too much. But we were down there to get our work in, not really in the games, but with the coaches. The games were a bonus so it was definitely more structural, working on your skills.

You once mentioned that the book on you was throwing inside. First, is it a fair assessment and how do you improve on that?

Allan Dykstra: In college people were trying to pitch away from me, not many people came in. So I adjusted my swing to adapt to where I was getting in. Now, with the changes I've made, I've adapted to where I can cover the plate better. I've been working on staying inside so the pitches aren't rolling over and spinning out so I think the changes I've made will help me.

What kind of changes are there really to make? We know about separation. Is that just allowing you to react to the pitches?

Allan Dykstra: Yeah it is. Also keeping your hands back with separation keeps you behind the ball. Keeping your head still and keeping everything quiet, being able to recognize pitches a lot better. One of the main switches I made was I used to dive with my front foot and that kind of hindered me on the inside pitch. Now everything's straighter, and not so spinning with my hands. Everything's in a linear path.

As a bigger guy, how do you keep your swing from being long so you can stay inside the ball?

Allan Dykstra: We're working on it everyday. Almost every drill we do is inside the ball and keeping your hands in especially if we're very big guy, you're obviously not as close to the plate as some of the smaller players. You kind of use your arms to your advantage. It's at the point now where I've found a comfortable spot away the plate where I can work my hands inside of the ball so I'm feeling pretty good about it.

How nice was it to play in Lake Elsinore late in the year where your family could also support you?

Allan Dykstra: It was a great start. Especially for my family. They haven't seen me play in a while because North Carolina is quite the haul. So it was nice for them. My mom and my dad could come up. It's 45 minutes. The park is beautiful and it gets a lot of fans. So I was really happy to start there.

What was the goal you wanted to accomplish this off season to prepare for the 2009 season?

Allan Dykstra: Obviously staying in shape, playing 60 games, and playing 140 games is a huge difference. Making sure my legs were in shape, probably even more than they were in college. That was something I really focused on making sure that the stretching they were concerned about is now healthy and and in shape. I didn't really start working on my playing until the beginning of the year it was more conditioning and making sure I was in shape before I started any fundamental work.

You came out to the early hitter's camp. What were you able to accomplish by coming out early and did it involve mechanical changes?

Allan Dykstra: You obviously work before you get to the early hitters camp, but they bring us in here to refine some things and a couple guys are working on instructions and review.

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