Padres Prospect Interview: Blake Tekotte

Blake Tekotte

Blake Tekotte was thought of as a leadoff man that created excitement on the bases. While that proved true, he also hit like a number three hitter, smashing extra base hits with regularity.

You had a little bit of a lay-off before coming to Eugene with the college world series first. Was it tough to get back in the rhythm?

Blake Tekotte: A little bit, yeah. It's tough to jump back in there and try to face tough pitchers, especially coming in from a metal bat for 60-some games in a season.

Did you feel it start to come around as the season progressed?

Blake Tekotte: Yeah, just kind of jumping in there like I was saying, it's a little bit tough at first, taking a couple weeks off and then coming back and seeing live pitching; jumping right in. It took a couple games to get used to it, to get a feel for the wood bat again during the games. I think came around.

You come from a pretty big program. What's that experience like and how does it help you when you're transitioning to professional ball, especially when you get into a situation where you get to go to College World Series, where you get to see that kind of excitement and it's pretty crazy up there.

Blake Tekotte: Yeah, it is, it was definitely fun. I'm really glad that I went to Miami, great program. It really got me ready, thinking back on when I came out of high school to what I know now, coming out of college. It's just such a difference and I'm glad that I got to go down there and I learned a lot of stuff. And through the summer ball leagues I went to, I learned a lot just talking to some of the guys. There are a lot of smart baseball players out there. Every day, I just try to learn something new. That way it will give me that much more of an advantage.

What is the maturation process like? When you look back, was there something specific that you can point to and go, ‘that experience right there really propelled me?'

Blake Tekotte: I would say, actually, playing in Cape Cod. Because they kind of compare it to playing in High-A, I've heard, and just talking, playing every day like that with those type of players and seeing that pitching every day. It's facing the best players in the nation in college. That really kind of put me where I know I'm at right now, and it's a good test for me. I just know what I got to work on and I work on that a lot and after that season I had a pretty good year this past spring. I think that really helped me out a lot there.

The Padres preach patience and aggressiveness in the same breath. How does your game play into that?

Blake Tekotte: Well, I mean, patient: a lead-off guy has to be patient. Work the counts and just battle a lot. If you get that good pitch, just be aggressive with that, and also on the base paths, I like to be aggressive, too. They preach it during hitting, but I also take it out to the base paths, too, and try to score some runs, get in scoring position and help the big guys hit me in.

What is the strength in your game?

Blake Tekotte: I think the energy I bring to the field, just trying to scrap and get on base as much as I can. I just love playing defense and being out there, being able to track down balls. That's definitely a big part of winning some ballgames, the defense behind the pitching.

You mentioned being aggressive on the base paths: will that also include stealing bases? How has that part of your game developed over the past few years? There's a lot goes in it, nobody really realizes that, but there is a lot.

Blake Tekotte: There is. (Eugene manager Greg) Riddoch, the first day I got here, we were actually looking on some video on pitchers moves to first or a tip going to the plate or something like that. He was watching film a couple hours on this one guy, about just this one little thing he saw, it just makes a world of difference. He said, ‘that game six guys stole a base without even a throw.'

It just allows guys to get in scoring position; a base hit through the infield scores a run instead of first and third. The little things that really work and stealing bases is a thing I've taken pride in, just trying to get good jumps, stealing off the pitcher more or less, and stealing off the catcher as well. A lot that goes into it that nobody knows about.

Is there a piece of your game that you feel needs to be improved?

Blake Tekotte: Right now ,I'm in the early stages of trying to make contact and just kind of let the game come to me a little bit more and not be too aggressive, just trying to be more patient.

Did you feel like you were pressing at times?

Blake Tekotte: Not really pressing too much, just trying to do too much, and maybe trying to prove myself a little bit. Really, in baseball, we all start on the same ground whenever we get up here to the pros. Just trying to relax and learn my spot and get used to everything around here and try to get things rolling.

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