Rays Prospect Q & A: Derek Dietrich

A 2nd-round pick in the 2010 June Draft out of Georgia Tech, Derek Dietrich put his name firmly on the Rays prospect radar when he led the system with 22 home runs in 2011. We caught up with the infielder on Charlotte Stone Crabs media day last week where he talked about his spring training, the prospects of the 2012 Stone Crabs and more. Inside is our interview.

Rays Digest: I wanted to ask you how your spring training went and how you're feeling for the start of the season.

Derek Dietrich: Spring training went great. I was really excited to get back down here in March and get it going and see all the guys and all the coaches. I felt like I put myself in a good position physically and mentally to come in and get ready to play another full season. I really enjoyed my time during the spring and felt like I prepared well and am excited to get the Stone Crabs season underway.

Rays Digest: When you look at the pitching staff that you'll be playing defense behind, that has to be pretty exciting as a shortstop knowing that you'll be playing behind such talented guys.

Derek Dietrich: You know every time you get to see a new guy go out there on the mound - like you said - I do get excited. We've got a great group of arms - very talented. It's going to be fun playing defense behind them and also producing runs for them in the lineup. I feel like we are going to have a very good team talent-wise as well as individuals with our chemistry. I feel like we all get along pretty well and I think it's something to build on and hopefully we'll be able to have a good season down here.

Rays Digest: When you talk about the offense, it's kind of an exciting offense. You have a lot of speed in the outfield and you got some guys with some power like yourself and Phil Wunderlich. It looks like it will be a really, really exciting offense that's very multi-faceted.

Derek Dietrich: Yeah you said it. We've got power and speed in the outfield as well some guys that can produce some runs along the infield. I feel like if everyone takes care of their business and we play together, we're going to have a pretty strong team down here in the Florida State League. I know I'm excited about it and it sounds like most of the team is excited to get it going Thursday and I couldn't be much happier to be where I am. It's such a great facility and organization. It's such a great organization and I feel like I'm getting better and better each and every day.

Rays Digest: Is there one part of your game, whether it be at the plate or in the field, that you would really like to work on or take a step forward with this season?

Derek Dietrich: I really want to just maintain my consistency at the plate, as well as become a better defender each and every day whether it be at shortstop, second base or wherever they want me to play. I feel like I can help the team regardless with my bat. I just want to be versatile as a defender and help the big league team whenever they ask me to.

Rays Digest: Positional-flexibility is obviously very key to the Rays. If you look at their roster, guys play all over the place. I was talking to your manager earlier and he was saying that with six infielders on the squad it was going to be interesting to see where yo guys all play. Obviously you'd like to be very versatile, but your a shortstop. How do feel about playing second or third or somewhere else?

Derek Dietrich: I love to hit and I feel comfortable playing anywhere defensively. Anywhere I can go to help the ball club is what I'll do. I just love playing the game and I feel like that I'm really going to be able to help the team in all aspects.

John Gregg is Publisher and Senior Editor of Rays Digest. You can follow him on Twitter at @RaysDigest. He can also be reached via e-mail at raysdigest.com@gmail.com.


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