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April 2006: Question and Answer with Eric Patterson

Posted: Fri Apr 07, 2006 11:18 am
by Chris
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Eric Patterson, Second Baseman for the West Tennessee Diamond Jaxx, has graciously agreed to answer questions from posters on NSBB! If you would like to send a comment to Eric, or if you would like to ask Eric a question, feel free to post it here. The deadline for submitting questions is Friday, April 14th at noon. Once the interview has been completed, the responses will be posted.

This session will be coordinated as in accordance with The NSBB Q & A Guidelines.

Eric was selected by Cubs in the 8th round of 2004 draft. In 2005, Eric was selected as the Cubs minor league player of the year, selected as Midwest League all-star, selected by Baseball America as the 16th-best prospect in the Midwest League and the 10th-best prospect in the organization. (Bio courtesy of The Official Website of the West Tennessee Diamond Jaxx.)

In 2005, Eric was also the recipient of the first NSBB Minor League Player of the Year Award.

Thank you to Eric for taking the time to interact with us on such an up close and personal level. Best wishes to Eric and the rest of the West Tennessee Diamond Jaxx in the 2006 season. As always, thank you to all of you for making NSBB such a wonderful community!

Posted: Fri Apr 07, 2006 11:34 am
by vance_the_cubs_fan
Eric,

What goals have you set for yourself this year? What things have the Cubs indicated they want you to work on?

Posted: Fri Apr 07, 2006 11:40 am
by NCCubFan
What have you found to be the biggest difference between A and AA ball, especially goint straight from Peoria to West Tenn and bypassing Daytona?

Posted: Fri Apr 07, 2006 1:48 pm
by ChiefsVoice
Eric-

I was just wondering who your favorite Midwest League broadcaster is, and if you heard any trash talking on Opening night when Sam Fuld connected for his first homer of the season before you did? :D

Have a great season man, you know we are all rooting for you big time back here in Peoria!

Nathan

Posted: Fri Apr 07, 2006 2:48 pm
by Jon
Eric,

I've always been intrigued by what it takes to become a good base stealer. There are plenty of guys in the game with good speed but can't seem to get their SB% above 70%. What are some of the lesser-known tips to getting a good jump and picking the right situation to go on?

I'd imagine that you're continuing to try to cut down on the strikeouts, but as a top of the order and possible leadoff hitter, do you feel any pressure to sacrifice some of your extra base hitting ability for the sake of contact? Do you try to become more of a contact hitter with 2-strikes but swing harder earlier in the count? How do you balance that?

Good luck and thanks again for your time!

Posted: Fri Apr 07, 2006 11:04 pm
by Andy
Eric,

How is it being such a highly touted prospect right off the bat? I can't imagine so much attention being placed on my every move like it is for you Cubs prospects!

Also, were you at all frustrated with general fan sentiment towards your brother Corey during his struggles last season with the team? I know we as fans are often unnecessarily harsh on one of our guys if they are struggling and I've always wondered how it feels to be on the other side.

Thanks a lot for your time, we are ALL rooting for you!

Andy

Posted: Sat Apr 08, 2006 1:58 am
by Holy Cow
Eric,

Does anyone ever involve you in the discussion about when it is time to move up a level? It seemed for a while like A-ball wasn't very challanging for you.

Also, have you ever raced your brother? Who is faster? And how's he doing these days? I hope he know that everyone in Chicago is rooting for him to figure it out and become the player we all saw in him.

Posted: Sat Apr 08, 2006 6:09 pm
by CuseCubFan69
What types of drills do you do to see the ball better? What kinds of tips would you give a HS player to improve themselves that you wish you did when you were their age?

Posted: Sun Apr 09, 2006 4:50 pm
by Outshined_One
Eric,

As a second baseman, how have you dealt with changing double play partners over the years? Does it just come naturally to you, or do you have to get used to their nuances and tendencies before you're finally comfortable with them?

Also, do you have any particular second baseman you try to model yourself after?

Posted: Fri May 12, 2006 8:52 am
by Chris
Although this session has reached the initial date to be closed, this thread will remain open to submit questions until Wednesday, May 17th.

Posted: Fri May 12, 2006 9:09 am
by vance_the_cubs_fan
Eric,

Tuesday night in Jackson, Mississippi, I noticed you were coaching firstbase while not in the line-up. Is that something you do frequently when not in the line-up, or was that a one time occurance? Also, do those duties help you develop as a player? What things do you notice while carrying out coaching duties?

Posted: Sat Jul 08, 2006 2:11 pm
by Chris
Q & A with Eric Patterson
July, 2006


First off, congratulations on being selected for the MLB Futures game. Knowing what comes with being selected for that game, how does it make you feel?

It’s definitely a tremendous honor. I’m very thankful and looking forward to it. Only a handful of guys get the opportunity and it may or may not happen again. To just be included with that caliber of players is a tremendous honor.


What will you do to make sure that you take in the moment?

Essentially the same thing I do here and have fun. I know a couple of guys that are going and it will be good to hang out with them and be with some really good ballplayers. I want to try to take some things from them, watch how they go about their business, enjoy it, have a good time and take it all in.


We’re past the halfway point in the season. In regards to the goals that you set at the start of the season, do you feel that you are on pace?

I try to stay away from setting goals as far as numbers. For me it’s about going out, having good ABs and trying to do something everyday to help the team win a baseball game. I think most days I have been there, some days I haven’t. The goal for me is to try to do that every single day. With the second half coming up, I’m looking to be more consistent.


What things have the Cubs indicated they want you to work on?

They’re good about letting you go out and play. If there’s ever an issue, the coaches do a good job of communicating. We’re here everyday getting our work in and working on the little things and trying to improve in all facets of the game.


What have you found to be the biggest difference between A and AA ball, especially going straight from Peoria to West Tenn. and bypassing Daytona?

Definitely the pitching. The pitchers up here have a better idea in regards to what they are doing. Not only with nobody on base, but in situational baseball, guys in scoring position with less than two outs, things like that. The pitchers are a lot more consistent. That’s the biggest adjustment you have to make, understanding different situations, the pitcher on the mound and how they’re going to pitch.


Nathan Baliva was wondering who your favorite Midwest League broadcaster is?

It’s gotta be Nate!

Nathan also wondered if you heard any trash talking on Opening night when Sam Fuld connected for his first homer of the season before you did?

Actually I called to congratulate him. Sam’s a good guy and he would never rub it in. I’ll have to mention it to him the next time I talk to him.


One of our users on the site has always been intrigued by what it takes to become a good base stealer. There are plenty of guys in the game with good speed but can't seem to get their SB% above 70%. What are some of the lesser-known tips to getting a good jump and picking the right situation to go on?

Two things: For me, first and foremost is paying attention. When there is a guy on base you pay attention to the pitcher and see what he’s doing. You watch the game, try to understand his tendencies, see what he throws in certain counts to certain hitters and things like that. Second, when I steal bases, I don’t steal bases for me personally. I try to take more of an attitude that I need to get to second base and get in scoring position for the guys to drive me in. It’s helped me a lot to take a different mindset. You’re not stealing bases for personal numbers, you’re stealing bases to help your team win. When you take that approach, it takes a lot of pressure off and allows you to focus more and relax.


I'd imagine that you're continuing to try to cut down on the strikeouts, but as a top of the order and possible leadoff hitter, do you feel any pressure to sacrifice some of your extra base hitting ability for the sake of contact?

You never want to strikeout, period. You’re up there to hit, you’re not up there to try to take pitches to walk. It depends on the situation and what the situation calls for. There are going to be situations where it is ideal to take a pitch. Maybe your guys are out on defense for a long inning or you’re facing a pitcher with a good arm and you want to get his pitch count up. At the same time you want to be aggressive. I think more emphasis here is placed on knowing what you have to do to be a good hitter, being patient, getting your pitch to hit and capitalize when a pitcher makes a mistake.


Do you try to become more of a contact hitter with 2-strikes but swing harder earlier in the count? How do you balance that?

You really want to try to keep the same approach during your entire AB. Definitely with two strikes you want to be a little more defensive but at the same time you don’t want to take away your aggressiveness. It’s kind of a fine line but there are adjustments that you have to take away with two strikes.


How is it being such a highly touted prospect right off the bat? I can't imagine so much attention being placed on my every move like it is for you Cubs prospects!

I really don’t think of myself as a prospect. I’m out here fighting for a job just like every one of these guys out here. You try to not let other stuff affect the way you go about your business. You go in early, get your work in and hopefully good things will happen for you.


Were you at all frustrated with general fan sentiment towards your brother Corey during his struggles last season with the team? I know we as fans are often unnecessarily harsh on one of our guys if they are struggling and I've always wondered how it feels to be on the other side.

Fans are going to react however they react. Whether it is positive or negative, I guess it is their right as fans. I guess for me it was more frustrating seeing what he was going through the way the season wore on him. It was more pressure for me being concerned for him as a brother and family member, not so much the outside stuff. In this business, that comes with the territory as far as fans. You never know how they are going to react to you and you have to take the good with the bad.


I’m sure you’re enjoying the numbers he’s putting up?

I’m happy for him. I’m happy that he was able to get things turned around a little bit. There’s still a half a season left but he seems to be enjoying himself.


Does anyone ever involve you in the discussion about when it is time to move up a level? It seemed for a while like A-ball wasn't very challenging for you.

No, that wasn’t the case at all. I was fortunate in that I had a good year last year. As far as moving up and things like that it’s up to the guys in the front office. All you can control is preparing yourself when you come out here for the way you play the game. When it’s your time to move, those guys will make the decision.


Have you ever raced your brother? Who is faster? And how's he doing these days? I hope he knows that everyone in Chicago is rooting for him to figure it out and become the player we all saw in him.

No no, no foot races. It would be a close race, I don’t know. He’s doing well.


What types of drills do you do to see the ball better? What kinds of tips would you give a High School player to improve themselves that you wish you did when you were their age?

I don’t do too many drills to see the ball better. The only way that you’re going to get comfortable seeing the baseball, seeing the breaking ball and the changeup and things like that is in the game or when pitchers are throwing bullpen sessions. In the second half I want to get out there and stand in the box and see the ball and recognize it when our pitcher is throwing sides.

As far as drills in high school, it’s different for every player, based on your own personal swing and the things you like and things that work for you. Whatever drills work for you and you find good, those are drills you should do. I may not hit off a tee well or it may not work for me but it may be great for someone else. I think it’s about personalizing your own drills, finding drills that work for you and sticking with them.


As a second baseman, how have you dealt with changing double play partners over the years? Does it just come naturally to you, or do you have to get used to their nuances and tendencies before you're finally comfortable with them?

It’s not too big of an adjustment. By the time you reach a certain level, most guys have been taught the same way and you look for the same thing. There may be a slight adjustment you have to make with different guys. It’s important whenever you have a new double play partner, no matter what level you’re at, to communicate, talk to each other and let them know what you’re looking for and vice versa.


Do you have any particular second baseman you try to model yourself after?

You try to take a piece of what everyone does. I don’t really try to pinpoint on one guy. There are some guys that do things great in one facet of the game and other guys that do things great in others. There’s no one particular guy, I try to take as much as I can from all of the players out there.


Earlier this season in Jackson, Mississippi, one of our users noticed you were coaching first base while not in the line-up. Is that something you do frequently when not in the line-up, or was that a one time occurrence?

I do it occasionally to give Tommy a break. It’s good being over there. It gives you a different point of view on the game. For me I like to go over there in case I do have to come in the game. Maybe I’ll see the pitcher and see what kind of move he has or something like that. It also keeps me in the game.


Do those duties help you develop as a player? What things do you notice while carrying out coaching duties?

It’s easy to get a better read on what kind of move a guy has and how quick he is to the plate from that angle. Standing on first, it’s amazing in regards to how much more in tune you are to how pitchers throw in certain situations. It gives you a different point of view.


What are your thoughts on your road vs. home splits? What do you attribute for the differential?

For me, I’ve been kind of up and down all year. It just so happens that my down games have been at home. It’s one of those things that you have to fight through. I don’t really think there’s a reason or anything like that. Hopefully we’ll even those numbers out by the end of the year.

Posted: Sat Jul 08, 2006 2:31 pm
by Outshined_One
Thanks a ton DJaxx! That was a fun read!!

Posted: Sun Jul 09, 2006 4:31 pm
by Transmogrified Tiger
Eric Patterson wrote:You never want to strikeout, period. You’re up there to hit, you’re not up there to try to take pitches to walk.


:cry:

Posted: Sun Jul 09, 2006 5:45 pm
by CuseCubFan69
Transmogrified Tiger wrote:
Eric Patterson wrote:You never want to strikeout, period. You’re up there to hit, you’re not up there to try to take pitches to walk.


:cry:


I tell my kids you're up there to hit too. If it's a ball don't swing though.

Very interesting interview and I enjoyed what he had to say....thanks Eric and DJAXX!