Padres Prospect Interview: Drew Cumberland

Fort Wayne, IN: There is no doubting the potential of Drew Cumberland. He shows flashes of dynamite when he is in the lineup. Staying healthy, has been a troublespot for the San Diego Padres prospect. He knows it too.

What is different for you this year in Fort Wayne as opposed to last year?

Drew Cumberland: A similar thing is I have had an injury thing with a quad and the same kind of little concussion.

Other than that, it has been a fun year. We have a great team. Torni and Dougie – our hitting coach and manager – have been fun to work with. When we werewinning it was great. When we weren't doing so hot, they lifted us up. It is a lot of fun coming to the park. It shows with our record and how we are playing.

What was it like to win the first half division title in the Midwest League?

Drew Cumberland: It is a credit to all of our coaches. They have really kept us focused.

We went through a stretch where we weren't doing so well and came in the next day and they were yelling at us to blare the music as loud as possible and to start dancing and having fun again. We put our bats in the trash can and ran around in the dugout. It was a lot of fun. It took away the feeling that this was a job. It is still a game. That is why we play as well – to have fun.

When you are healthy and have been in the lineup, it seems you have been able to roll along quite well. How difficult is it to get into a rhythm when these injuries happen?

Drew Cumberland: It's important to do the things you can do when you are not playing – like standing in on pitchers to keep your timing, taking swings – nothing really gets out of line if you do things right. Taking ground balls and when I could run – so when I came back my legs weren't lagging behind and I was ready to go.

Is there a correlation between the cold weather early in the year in Fort Wayne and some of the injuries you have experienced?

Drew Cumberland: Kind of – I probably haven't stretched my legs as good as I should have in the cold weather. I like to run a lot. I would be on the base paths and try and steal three different times and the ball would be fouled off. Repeition caught up to me but I put it on myself for not doing things – stretching and stuff like that.

How much have you improved in the running game since coming into professional baseball. What are the tips and tricks you have picked up?

Drew Cumberland: A lot. Dougie was a base stealer when he played. There are so many little things to pick up on – looking at the pitcher's feet and not focusing on one thing in that region. Knowing when you have a taller pitcher that the first pitch is usually a higher leg kick to get that first strike. When you are at second – little techniques to get that extra step on the pitcher without him actually realizing you moved a step.

We work on that all the time. I haven't got to run as much as I would like, but when I have run I have been successful.

We talked about getting into a rhythm in the box but what has changed for you over the last year?

Drew Cumberland: Really, it is all in my head. I have to remember what kind of player I am. Some of the players will joke with me and say, ‘You don't have any power.' And I will try and juice it up a little bit. Torni has to remind me that my power will come and I am not going to hit 15-20 jacks a year. It will come. When you don't try, that is usually when they will come.

My game is gap-to-gap. Get on base. If I get a single, hopefully, I can turn it into a double with my legs. I can't get outside of my head.

What needs to happen for you to make it to the next level?

Drew Cumberland: Stay inside my game, and, honestly, staying in the lineup. If I stay in the lineup, they will have to puish me through. I am going to hustle and play hard and push every day to have fun.

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