Padres Prospect Interview: Tyler Stubblefield

The San Diego Padres saw a gritty performer that would use every tool available when they selected infielder Tyler Stubblefield in the 22nd-round of the draft. They are hoping that he brings the determined styled of play to the professional ranks.

Congratulations on getting drafted by the San Diego Padres. Can you talk a little bit about that and what you were feeling in that moment in time?

Tyler Stubblefield: It was the most wonderful day of my life. I was just hanging out and I did not really know what round we were in. I had a lot of contact with Padres scouts over the last two months. He called me and said, "Congratulations, you are a San Diego Padre." At that moment, it was unbelievable.

Talk a little bit about your game and how you fit into this Padres system?

Tyler Stubblefield: I am not the biggest guy you will come across in Major League baseball, but I feel I play the game like a Pete Rose and a Dustin Pedroia. Everything I do is a 100%. I will do whatever it takes to win. I am usually the dirtiest guy on the field at the end of every game. I am non-stop doing what it takes to help my team win.

You went 20-for020 in stolen bases last year. Talk a little bit about that success rate and what made you so successful stealing bases?

Tyler Stubblefield: At the school I went to, coach did not just give us a green light. We begged and begged our coach and told him we would be more successful if we had a green light until there is a point where you need to take it off. He bought into it and let us try it out. I am more comfortable stealing when there is not a sign on. When there is a sign on you need to think of so many situations and things that could happen. When there was no sign on, I would get my lead, feel really comfortable, read the pitcher and get a great jump. Actually I stole third probably 12 of the 20 times. I felt it was a lot easier stealing when I had the green light.

You said you were not a big guy, but you still popped out 9 homeruns. Do you see yourself as a gap to gap type of player moving forward into the professional ranks.

Tyler Stubblefield: Absolutely - doubles and triples. With the aluminum bats these days, the way they are made, you can get away with a lot of things. Moving forward, I need to focus on hitting the ball to the opposite field, hitting good hard lines drives into the gaps and getting on base. I will occasionally run into a ball and mis-hit it and it will carry out for me, but I do not foresee myself hitting many homeruns. Lots of doubles.

Your team had a losing record this past year. Did you feel that there were times where you may have been pressing and putting a little bit too much pressure on yourself?

Tyler Stubblefield: I do not like making excuses, but there were some times. The previous year, we had two first rounders and it was free and easy and I got to go out there and play my game. This year I felt that if I did more than maybe the team would play better and do more themselves. There was a time when I was not playing my game. I was getting away from my game and trying to play bigger than I am. Instead of playing my game, I would go out there and swing at bad pitches, trying to do too many things to help my team win. It was stressful, but it worked out and paid off well for me.

How much will that pitch selection mean to you moving forward?

Tyler Stubblefield: It is going to be a tremendous difference. Now I will be playing with some of the best guys in baseball. There is not going to be as much pressure and I will get to relax and play my game. Take some pitches, work the counts, and hit the pitch that I like to hit instead of trying to do too much with a pitch that I do not like to hit.

Is there a weakness, or a part of your game that needs the most improvement?

Tyler Stubblefield: Absolutely. Focusing and concentrating more on my defensive skills. This year I made more errors than I had had in two years of college. I do not know if I was pressing in the field as well. I would rush things in the field. I need to find something within myself to settle down, to control what I can control, field the ball and throw the ball.

Is that a balance issue, a footwork issue - where do you see it?

Tyler Stubblefield: It was more trying to do too much with a ground ball. I would field a ground ball and instead of throwing to first to get the out, I would try to pick a guy off third base. It was stupidity, perhaps, and not focusing and concentrating on what would be more beneficial to the team. Giving up one run instead of continuing an inning and letting them score two or three runs.

What is your best moment in baseball so far and why?

Tyler Stubblefield: Being selected in the 22nd round. It showed and proved how hard I have worked the past years. It shows a lot about my game just being that I did have a successful year and I still wound up being selected higher than I did last year and I had had a pretty good year last year.

When people say you have great makeup, what does that mean?

Tyler Stubblefield: That is a good question. My emotions - I can hide my emotions and control my emotions on the field. I have learned throughout the years with all the stress and drama of baseball to control my emotions and not let my emotions get the best of me. If I mess up in the ninth inning and blow the game, if I come to the plate, you can't tell I messed up. I will be the same player you saw in the 1st inning or you will see the next day. You will not get much emotion out of me, whether I messed up or did well. I really control my energy and my focus instead of letting people see I am frustrated.

The Padres system is one that pushes the pace. That would seem to play right into your game.

Tyler Stubblefield: I would say that it does. I was told that by the scout that drafted me, Shane Monahan. He seems like the Padres organization wants guys that are going to go out there and be bulldogs on the field. They are going to work hard. That is one of my biggest assets, I believe. I love to work. I will work harder than anybody. It shows. I get out on the field and I do things that guys my size shouldn't do. I feel it is going to be a great fit. I am going to go out there and give it my all and be a dirtball for them and have some success.

You mentioned Dustin Pedroia and guys like that. Is that who you compare yourself to at the Major League level?

Tyler Stubblefield: Absolutely. Up until he came around, it was Pete Rose. Now Pedroia. He is everything I want to be and I am going to be. He is not the strongest guy but he goes out there and gives 110%. He will do whatever it takes. He is not afraid to mess up trying to help him team. That is how I play. That is what has gotten me so much success and that is what people like about me.

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