Padres Prospect Interview: Kyle Loretelli

Eugene, OR: San Diego Padres prospect Kyle Loretelli has had to adjust to a new approach – the patiently aggressive one preached by the organization. It has had its moments whereas other times he has struggled with refining the approach.

How have you matured as a baseball player from high school through college and into your professional career?

Kyle Loretelli: I think each level up the competition goes up. Inside of me I have noticed that and felt that I knew where I needed to be and pushed myself to reach that level. I have had some great coaches along the way and here is the elite level with coaches. You have great competition all around – the best in the world.

By lifting weights, staying strong, and taking extra time hitting in the cage – it has all paid off.

Was there a particular time when you felt you knew you could play professional baseball?

Kyle Loretelli: It was my junior year in college. I have always had a dream of it but really felt my junior year – about halfway through – that I could play at this level.

Talk about the strengths of your game.

Kyle Loretelli: My strength is my hitting from the left-hand side. I think I bring a lot to the table that way.

It is only my third year playing the outfield. I was always a catcher. So, I am still learning a lot defensively and hope to continue to learn from the best here. That is part of my game that I really want to improve upon to be the best outfielder I can be. My hitting, for sure, is my strong point.

You have been better hitting with runners in scoring position. Is there a different mentality you have going up in those situations?

Kyle Loretelli: It is a funny thing. I don't think I do. I is a funny stat. I don't feel any different mentally if there are runners on or not. It is a battle against yourself. It is you against the pitcher.

Here and there in certain situations when you are trying to move a guy over or get a guy in, that will click in your mind. As far as changing anything drastically – not at all mentally or physically.

You have had more success off right-handed pitchers. How do you enjoy the same type of success off lefties?

Kyle Loretelli: You just need to keep working. There are a lot of guys who played only when they were facing a righty in college. I was like that until I was a junior. I had the benefit of hitting against lefties in my junior and senior years consistently. It is still a thing I am trying to master as I see it more and more. What is great – (manager Greg Riddoch) Rid doesn't look at whether it is a righty or lefty. If you are going to hit at this level you have to be successful against both sides of the plate.

How different is the look between righty and lefty. Does it appear like the ball is coming into you?

Kyle Loretelli: Yeah, the biggest difference with lefty-lefty is growing up most kids growing up are right-handers. Right-handed hitters face righties their whole life and maybe a lefty here and there. It is something you don't see more of until you get to college. Then you get to the professional level and you see them every other night.

Lefties generally have more natural movement and it moves in to left-handed hitters. You have to work on staying inside the baseball because that ball will have that natural tail.

You have played right field and left field this year. What are the differences and how tough is it to go from one to the other?

Kyle Loretelli: It is different because I played center field in college. The difference between the two is the tail the ball will take. Both sides – the ball tails towards the line. You have to get an extra jump that way. You think you might be camped under a ball – you have to make sure you get that extra step to really make sure.

You have had a couple of stolen bases this year. Is speed a part of your game as well?

Kyle Loretelli: A little bit. I was a catcher before and that was part of the reason they moved me to the outfield. You catch for a whole season – your knees. You think you are going fast but you really aren't. Your knees have taken a pounding. It is a part of my game and something I want to use even more. It is something I will continue to work on and something I want to work on improving this off-season to take into Spring Training.

You are in an organization that preaches a patiently, aggressive approach at the plate. How does that fit into your model for pitch selection?

Kyle Loretelli: I think it is the right way. It is something I have taken into account coming into here. I am still learning. There might be a pitch that you think you can hit but hitting your pitch is different than hitting the pitch you think you can hit. It might take more time for a lot of us to figure out what is our pitch to hit. I have seen the benefits. There are some times when you feel like you don't have a clue up there. There are other times when you lay off some tough pitches where in the past you may have swung at. It is definitely going to initiate more walks and cut down on strikeouts.

You have a pretty high leg kick. How does that help your timing and has anyone talked about changing that?

Kyle Loretelli: No, when I have talked to them they don't want to change it at all. They feel I have really good rhythm with that. That is what I use it for – for timing and rhythm of the pitcher. It gets me going. It helps me not be so stiff and helps me be more athletic up there. I feel if a guy throws a little harder, I start a little earlier. If it is softer, I will start a little later. It is a timing thing. You see guys in the big leagues do it and I believe that is why they do it. Timing – everyone is different.

It seems like it definitely gets all of your weight back. You mentioned perhaps starting a little earlier or later depending on the pitcher. Does that mess up your timing?

Kyle Loretelli: It can. That is why it has its benefits and also its drawbacks. If you feel like your timing is off, you take a step out of the box. If you feel like you missed a fastball because of it, you make the pitch-to-pitch adjustment. It could be bad but when you are on it is really good too.

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