TigsTown Q&A: Outfielder Kyle Peter

Just after returning from Hawaii Winter Baseball, Kyle chatted with TigsTown's Mark Anderson to discuss the fall season, his first full season experience with West Michigan in 2008, and other tidbits from his baseball career. Check inside for all the details.

TigsTown: First off, we'll talk about Hawaii a little bit. How did it go over there? Did you enjoy it? What was your experience like?

Kyle Peter: It was pretty fun actually. I got to room with Andrew Hess of course. It was good to start off with at least somebody you know, and then I got to meet a lot of different people from different organizations. We got to see how other organizations do things. It was just pretty cool meeting a lot of new people trying to do the same thing you are doing.

TT: You mentioned meeting different people from different organizations and seeing how they do things; were there some things that stood out to you that other organizations do that the Tigers may not, or that the Tigers do that you are really impressed with?

KP: Not really too many big things. Everything seemed pretty much the same. There are just little things like direct deposit. Instead of having to cash your checks, it's great to just have direct deposit so I can have it in my bank account. A lot of other players were kind of stressed getting their checks out there and not having any way to cash them. That's just one little thing that makes a big difference.

TT: When you went out to Hawaii, did you have anything that the organization asked you to focus on while you were there, or did you have any specific goals in mind while you were out there?

KP: Not really. One thing that they didn't really want me to work on, just do a lot more of, was bunting; bunting for base hits and that sort of thing. Not just down the third base line, but also dragging it with me and putting it to first base, because they said there were a lot of hits there with my speed. Another thing would be my defense. I don't know if they were expecting me to, but I got to play all three outfield positions. That was kind of different. I've always played center field my entire life. I've never played left or right, so it was kind of different getting used to those two positions.

TT: You look at the league leader boards at the end of the season, and you were right there for the batting title at the end of the year. Coming down to the last few games, were you aware of it, or was it off in the distance and you didn't really know about it.

KP: I kind of knew about it. I wasn't really paying too much attention to it. I didn't find out until someone actually told me that I finished second.

TT: As you look back on it now, can you see a couple of hits that maybe you got robbed on that might have made a difference in the race?

KP: Actually, not really. There might have been a couple balls that I hit right down the line and went just foul, but that's about all I can think of.

TT: You mentioned that they wanted you to work on bunting a little more, as well as you defense in center field. That all lends to the idea that your game is based a lot on speed. There are a lot of readers out there that may not be that familiar with your abilities. If you had to describe your game, how would you do that?

KP: I would probably describe myself as a leadoff guy. I never try to do too much; just find any way to get on base; whether that is bunting, walking or anything else. Getting runners over is also a big part of my game. If it's a sac bunt or with a runner on second base, hitting the ball to the right side of the field, that's all important too.

TT: One of the things when I talk to coaches and scouts about you in the past, they have all mentioned that you have a very good concept of the strike zone, a willingness to take pitches, and work counts. Is that something you pride yourself on?

KP: Oh yeah! That's another big thing for me. I probably struck out a little more than I wanted to during the season, and I went to Hawaii wanting to work on that. That's another thing as a leadoff hitter, you want to try and see as many pitches as you can; make the pitcher work a lot harder, make him throw as many pitches as you can to get him out of the game and get a reliever in.

TT: Moving a little away from the field of play, what have been your big influences in the game of baseball? Is there someone that you grew up idolizing that you've tried to emulate your game after?

KP: Not really. I'd say probably my biggest influence – obviously my parents – but definitely my Grandpa. He worked with me all the time. He's a huge, huge baseball guy. He's probably the biggest baseball influence that I've had. As a player growing up though, George Brett was a big one I watched.

TT: Now, I had one scout when you were drafted and finally signed, brought up the relationship to David Chadd in sort of a negative context. He sort of implied that he wasn't sure if you were drafted based on skill, or more as a favor. Do you ever have trouble with that from fans or players that look at it that way, or is that something you just don't even hear about?

KP: I've hardly ever heard it at all, but I just brush it off when I do. Hopefully with the performance I had in Hawaii, people will think different of it now.

TT: Do you ever get a chance to talk with David at all?

KP: I haven't talked with him since I've been back from Hawaii, but I talk to him every now and then. We go up there for Christmas every year, so I get to talk with him.

TT: You talk to a lot of players, and it's a thrill of a lifetime to be drafted, and its one of those experiences that they never think will come. You on the other hand were drafted several times. Does it change at any point in there and sort of become old had so to speak, or is it always as exciting as it was the first time you were picked?

KP: It's still exciting, but probably not as exciting as the first time you were drafted. That's always going to be the moment. I really didn't feel like I was ready. I felt like I was a little too young. I really think I needed to go to college and develop my skills, which I think I'm really happy that I didn't sign right away. I believe that's helped my game out a lot more.

TT: Were you close to signing in any of the previous opportunities that you had, or were you pretty set on going off to college?

KP: It was pretty much dead set in my mind when I got drafted out of high school. By the time my junior year got there, I just felt like I was ready to come out.

TT: Was there any wavering the second and third times you were drafted, or was it still pretty obvious to you that you needed to develop further in college?

KP: It was in the back of my mind, but I still felt I needed a couple more years to get ready.

TT: What would be the highlight of your professional career so far?

KP: I'd have to say making the All-Star team this summer in West Michigan, coming out here to Hawaii, but also playing with Curtis Granderson when he came down for a couple of games with West Michigan. I learned a lot from him. You can't ask for more than that!

TT: Did you get a chance to pick his brain quite a bit while he was there?

KP: I did. He gave me some pointers and stuff that I could work on. He's helped me out a lot.

TT: Heading into the off-season, is there a certain part of your workout routine that you are really focusing on, or is it just taking a little bit of time off here and then getting back to the routine you've done for the last couple years to get ready for spring training?

KP: I'm definitely going to take a couple of weeks off to get my body rested. It's been a really long season. Then I'll just get back to the normal routine. Luckily my Dad works for the high school – he's the baseball coach – so I have free access to the gym. That helps me out a lot, so I can get in there and work out all the time.

TT: Looking at your time in West Michigan this year, how was it playing for Joe DePastino in his first year as a pro manager?

KP: Awesome! Very Awesome! I couldn't ask for more. He's just a really easy to play for manager. You do your work and he puts you in the lineup. If you do your job, then you'll be in the lineup.

TT: Have they given you any indication where they might assign you next year; West Michigan, Lakeland, someplace else?

KP: I haven't gotten any word on that yet.

TT: It's a little early for that now, but I'm sure you'll hear as the spring gets underway.

TigsTown would like to thank Kyle for taking some time out of his schedule back on the main land to speak with us, and we wish him well throughout the off-season and look forward to seeing him back on the field in the spring!

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