The Friars On Base Interview: Prospect Trea Turner-Part I
Editor’s Note: This is Part One of Devin Sparks’ interview with 2014 San Diego Padres first round draft selection Trea Turner. The interview took place on August 21st, 2014. Part Two will be published one week from today, on October 17th, 2014.~BB
Trea Turner’s impressive nature isn’t limited to the field. He came off very likable, well-spoken, and focused. Turner has said and done all the right things since joining the organization, and is exactly the kind of player that Padres fans should be excited about.
After a rough 23 games in Eugene, Turner flipped the switch and finished his season with a .369 batting average, 4 home runs, and 14 stolen bases through 46 games with the Fort Wayne TinCaps.
Devin Sparks: You were originally drafted in 2011 by the Pittsburgh Pirates, what can you tell us about that experience?
Trea Turner: It was a pretty neat experience. I didn’t think I was going to get drafted and I ended up getting picked by Pittsburgh. They were really the only team I talked to. I think I talked to the Indians maybe one time, but Pittsburgh made one of my dreams come true. I’ve always wanted to get drafted and that was a good experience.
DS: Why didn’t you sign with the Pirates?
TT: I knew I wanted to go to college but I wanted to get drafted to see what that whole process was like. I knew I was fairly small and that I needed to go to college to mature and get bigger. I wanted to experience that also and I had my mind set on that from the beginning. Before the Pirates made me an offer I told them no.
DS: Did you know the Padres were taking you in the first round this year?
TT: There was a handful of teams that I thought had a lot of interest in me, the Padres being one of them. They showed a lot of interest before the draft, so on draft day I knew it was a possibility. But anything can change, the Padres could have said one thing and then picked a different player – a lot of things can happen. I knew they were one of four or five teams that had a lot of interest in me.
DS: Who were you talking to within the Padres organization before the draft?
TT: I talked a lot to the area scout, he’d just got done playing for the TinCaps a year or so ago. So I talked with him a lot before the draft. Once I had been drafted I talked with more people withing the organization like the GM and scouting directors.
DS: Who called you from the Padres to let you know you were being drafted?
TT: I found out from watching on TV, they didn’t call me before they picked me. Once I got picked I talked with Josh Byrnes and a few media guys because they had set up some interviews after the draft. But everyone I have talked to within the organization has been great.
DS: You mentioned that wanted to go to college first to evolve your game. How did college change your game?
TT: I thought I learned how to hit, but I’m still learning because the minor leagues are a whole different process. I wanted to improve everything. My main focus was on my offense, I didn’t want to be a slap hitter, or a guy that had to bunt to get on. I wanted to drive the ball and hit a fair share of home runs, hit doubles and drive in runs. I didn’t want to be a one dimensional player. I worked hard on everything. But in this game once you think you’ve got something figured out there’s a whole new challenge you’ve got to attack. I struggled a little bit once I got in the minors, but it’s a learning process and I try to take it for what it is and move forward.
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DS: It seems like you were able to overcome those initial struggles in Eugene. Did you set any goals for yourself going into Fort Wayne?
TT: Right before I left I didn’t want to set any specific goals. I didn’t do that for college. I feel like that’s kind of a way to set yourself up for failure. If you want to hit ten home runs and you only hit nine, you’ve technically failed. I try to not look at it that way. Right before I left Eugene I had about two or three good games and I started to figure out the hitting. When I got to Fort Wayne all I really wanted to do was continue that and try to work on the adjustments we made during the last few games in Eugene. Try to slow the game down a little bit, see pitching better, and have better at-bats. So far since I’ve moved up I’ve done that.
DS: It seems like you were thrust into ballgames immediately after you were drafted. Why so sudden?
TT: I think I got drafted on a Thursday and by the next Thursday I was out in Arizona getting ready and a few days after that I was playing. It was one of my goals and my agents and advisors goals to get out there and play as soon as I possibly could. That’s what I wanted to do and so far it’s worked out fine. I wanted to get as much experience as I could this year.
DS: Has everything sunk in?
TT: It’s starting to sink in a little bit. It’s weird because I still have a lot of friends back at NC State that are starting classes now. Not going to class and having this as my job is a little different but its starting to sink in more and more. Obviously getting paychecks is a little bit different. In college you get a scholarship so you don’t necessarily see money. To get a paycheck every two weeks is pretty cool to get paid to play the game that you’ve played so long for free. It’s definitely a lot of fun playing everyday. I enjoy playing. Playing a game every single day is actually something that I enjoy. It’s not a burden or tiring.
DS: What was it like to win the College World Series in 2013 with NC State?
TT: After freshman year, we knew we had a team that could potentially do something special. My sophomore year we kind of put that together a little bit and made it to College Baseball World Series, which is still one of my favorite baseball experiences of my life. It was a lot of fun playing in that atmosphere. Every pitch meant something. We knew we had something special. It’s one thing to say it, it’s another thing to do it. Anyone in baseball can beat anyone on any given day. It’s impossible to go undefeated. Junior year we thought we had another special team but it didn’t work out. It was nice to go at least once.