The following is an excerpt from this week's Pipeline Podcast, in which Jonathan Mayo and Mike Rosenbaum discuss what they've seen in the Arizona Fall League and what stands out to them so far. They also talk about some of the top high school players in the 2018 Draft class
The following is an excerpt from this week's Pipeline Podcast, in which Jonathan Mayo and Mike Rosenbaum discuss what they've seen in the Arizona Fall League and what stands out to them so far. They also talk about some of the top high school players in the 2018 Draft class and interview Brewers No. 18 prospect Jake Gatewood. To listen to the show in its entirety, go to the MLB Pipeline Podcast page.
Jonathan Mayo: We're happy to welcome into the podcast Jake Gatewood of the Milwaukee Brewers. He is currently participating in the aforementioned Arizona Fall League. Jake, welcome to the podcast, thank you for taking some time out.
Gatewood: Good, man. Thanks for having me.
Mayo: Let me just start with just sort of straight and simple, what did it mean to you when the Brewers said, 'Hey you've taken a nice step forward, we want you to play a little bit more, a little more baseball this fall and head out to the AFL.'
Gatewood: Yeah, it was exciting. That was one of my goals for this year. Obviously, I'm super thankful and they let me know. It was even more awesome hearing the guys who were going with me and stuff like that. So it's a great opportunity and I'm really thankful to be here and blessed to be here. Thankful to the Brewers for the opportunity. Even going to play for the playoffs is really cool. Just the opportunities they give me have been incredible, so I'm just thankful for it.
Mike Rosenbaum: Yeah, Jake, this is Mike here. Speaking of Triple-A, you had experience at Double-A this year, too. How do you feel as though that has helped you prepare you for the caliber of the competition and the more advanced pitching you're seeing in the Fall League right now?
Gatewood: Yeah, I think, you know there was actually a lot of good pitching in the Carolina League this year. I think that helped me too. Then going to Double-A, it was a little bit more smooth. First getting there, it took me like two games just to get used to everything. Ended up getting my first hit, once I got my first hit there it was a lot easier to be more relaxed in my at-bats and stuff like that. So I think obviously learning how to hit pitchers who actually know how to pitch in Double-A was kind of a learning curve. I started to get hot, and it's kind of a lot of cat and mouse game, once you get hot they start to do the opposite. Once you kind of figure out what they're doing, they start doing other stuff. Just learning that game and kind of getting my feet wet for next year was awesome. Even here, I'm learning a lot and I'm trying a bunch of stuff, new stuff in the box. You know, just continuing to learn, not trying to put too much pressure on myself to perform. I know I kind of got off to a little bit of a slow start here, but like I said, I've just been trying a bunch of new stuff. It's a good place to try it. Just knowing the stats don't matter too much here as long as you're just getting better.
Mayo: Jake, how much do you think you can have that kind of attitude now because of some of the ups and downs you had early? I'm sure when you're first coming out of high school, you think you're going to set the world on fire like anybody does, especially at that age. I'm wondering if some of the struggles you had to make some of those adjustments early on sort of helps inform you now and makes you realize 'OK, if I have a 2-for-20 stretch or whatever it is, it's really, especially in the Fall League, but in general, it's not a big deal.' It's all about learning how to learn from that and make adjustments from that.
Gatewood: Yeah, I think when I first got to pro ball you know I thought I would be in the big leagues at 19. I didn't really know how the Minor Leagues worked too much to a T. My dad had told me some stuff, but you know how it is listening to your dad sometimes, it's kind of like, 'Yeah, whatever, you know.' So when I struggled, I think especially that first year, it was pretty tough. Just knowing I had the talent to do it and not doing it was pretty hard, but I learned so much from that. I'm actually really thankful that I struggled early and just knowing that I can make it through times like this. I know part of this year, I had some games where I was 0-for-4 with four Ks and it just didn't really affect me as much as it would before. It really helped me shorten those slumps this year, just learning from all those past experiences of struggling. I think my second year in Wisconsin toward the end of the year was probably the biggest learning experience I had. Just knowing that if I keep working hard, keep putting my head down, not going through the ups and downs, not getting too high, not getting too low, just staying even, I know I can get through it because I have the natural talent I've been blessed with. Just learning more mentally has been huge for me.
Rosenbaum: Now Jacob, about your defense. Obviously you came up, you were drafted and you spent your first year in pro ball as a shortstop before moving over to third base and then more time at first base this year. Are you working at both positions in Fall League or focusing on one or the other. Given your background, which do you prefer more?
Gatewood: I would take them at first and third, I would still take them at shortstop, and I think maybe some outfield in the future. But yeah, I think, I mean, obviously, shortstop has always been so natural to me. I have so much fun playing there. I know I'm a little big for the position, but I still love playing shortstop. I love playing third base. First base is something that's been new for me because it's on the other side of the field and I've never played on that side of the field before. I'm just learning to play that just in case that's somewhere where they need me in the future. I just like having fun when I go out there and play, man. It's just, to me, something I learned from making the playoffs in Wisconsin last year. We had so much fun playing the last week-and-a-half trying to make the playoffs and stuff like that, so I really learned how to just go out there and compete again like I did in high school, like I did before that. It's almost like going out and playing Whiffle ball in the backyard kind of, just having fun and letting my natural abilities take over. I just like playing anywhere. I try to play everywhere like I'm playing shortstop. So if I'm playing first, I'm just trying to picture myself at shortstop or third. I try to picture myself at shortstop, so I just basically base everything off that position. Try to be an athlete where ever I'm at.