Padres Prospect Interview: Allan Dykstra

Fort Wayne, IN: The name of the game for San Diego Padres prospect Allan Dykstra has been adjustments. Failure has been evident and successes have been fewer.

Since last year, you have been undergoing changes and adjustments to your swing. How difficult is it to keep with that approach when you have struggles and might fall into old habits?

Allan Dykstra: I have been undergoing adjustments. I felt at the beginning of the season, I was changing things every week or every other day. I was messing around with things so much and things weren't going my way. The last few weeks, I feel like I am getting it together and doing something I really like.

It was tough. Trying to get back into the swing of things while getting rid of things that were not what I wanted to do – it is starting to come together and I am feeling a lot better.

At the same time, you have been able to keep the approach. You have been able to stay away from many of the pitches outside of the zone. Once the average comes around…

Allan Dykstra: That is one thing I have looked at. I am getting pitches. And when I am I am just missing them or fouling them off. Once I get that underway – I am still happy with my approach and that is why I am not completely freaking out right now. That is one thing – I will stay with my approach and won't swing at bad pitches. I just need to hit the good pitches now.

You split time at first base and designated hitter with Matt Clark in the first half. How tough is it to stay in the game and remain focused?

Allan Dykstra: It is harder at first but you get used to it. It is definitely different being the DH versus being in the game. You have one at-bat and have three innings to think about it, essentially. Whether it was a good at-bat or bad – you still sit down. You can watch stuff but it still feels like you are sitting outside of the game. All of a sudden, you go back in. I feel like I definitely got better at it as the half went on and I got more experience at it.

Is that a time when you are sitting next to Tom Tornicasa and Doug Dascenzo trying to pick up on anything?

Allan Dykstra: You are talking about the last at-bat, what the pitcher is trying to do – all of the game. You get to see what the manager sees and sometimes – the big picture instead of the one angle, which is pretty important.

Is there a time when you can see someone tipping a pitch in the dugout. Before, you were so into your specific angle and are focusing on where the ball might go. You can even see your own guys.

Allan Dykstra: Yes, but when you are in the game, you are looking for any advantage you can get – especially as the DH where all you are doing is hitting. You are looking at the tendencies of the pitcher – is he tipping – what is he throwing in specific counts? Our lineup was predominantly left-hand heavy in the beginning so you could get a pattern that pitchers were running into. If I was on the bench, I could help all my teammates out by looking at that and looking at the charts.

How great was it to win the first half – an automatic bid in the Midwest League playoffs?

Allan Dykstra: It was a great feeling. It is always great to win. We got on a roll in the beginning and had a little skid in the middle. We slowed down and then at the end we picked it up.

It has gotten to the point that it doesn't really matter who we are playing. We expect to win. It has been a blast. Everything has been going our way. It is not like people have been giving us wins. We have earned them.

What needs to happen for you to take your game to the next level and see Lake Elsinore again?

Allan Dykstra: I am going to keep the same approach that I have been. I simply need to hit the pitches I swing at. I can't miss pitches and pop up or foul them back. If I get a pitch, I have to hit it. Those will eventually turn into hits. If I start squaring balls up – they will find holes eventually.

My swing is starting to feel better. I need to hit the pitches I can hit. It is as simple as that.

Do you play to the park or do you see yourself changing your game and feel you have to check yourself?

Allan Dykstra: You notice things but have to stay with your game. I am more of a gap-to-gap guy, even though it is short down the line. I have three triples! I don't hit triples. I am staying in the gaps. A couple of fields are deep in the gaps so I have gotten more doubles too. I am not hitting home runs but I am not going to change and start hooking balls. You have to stay with what will work at the higher levels no matter where you are at.

Is that tough to do – especially at home. On the road it is easy since you won't be there long. Home, however, you know the nuances.

Allan Dykstra: It is tough to do. You can't adjust – we have a pretty short left field and right field but you have to keep with your approach and hit where the pitch is thrown. You have to keep that consistency. Hopefully it is good consistency and not bad.

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