Interview with Toronto Blue Jays’ Prospect Reggie Pruitt

Toronto Blue Jays Reggie Pruitt joined Jays From the Couch’s Ryan Mueller to discuss the 2015 season, 2016 off-season, and more.

The Toronto Blue Jays used their 24th round pick of the 2015 draft on Kennesaw Mountain High School outfielder Reggie Pruitt. The Georgia native, grew up in Kennesaw with his brother Ryan (13-yrs-old), who Reggie says is ‘a very very good soccer player’ and sister Ryleigh (10-yrs-old).

Prior to the draft, Reggie was rumored to be committed to Vanderbilt and considered a difficult sign, but the chance to live out his dream of playing professional baseball was too much to pass up.

 Vanderbilt that is a great institution. I would’ve been proud to call myself a Commodore and  play for Coach Corbin.

Passing on Vanderbilt wasn’t an easy decision for Reggie to make, since his Grandmother always pushed him to play college baseball. Pruitt’s Grandmother, a woman he says was his greatest influence in life and in baseball, passed away in 2010. Reggie remembers his Grandmother always talking about becoming his agent when he ‘makes it big’. It’s moments like these that have pushed him toward his dreams.

Despite a .223 batting average with the Gulf Coast Blue Jays, Reggie used his speed and defense to set himself apart from his peers, which has him appearing on several Blue Jay Top Prospect lists. Pruitt recognizes that he’s not a home run hitter, so developing gap-to-gap power continues to be his focus.

After striking out 25.7% of the time and only walking 8.3% of the time, Pruitt understands that plate discipline is an area he needs to work on. He understands that he will need to get himself into more hitter’s counts, which will give him a better chance to get a fastball that he can drive to the outfield.

Balls in the dirt and sliders away [were problems] but I definitely am working on my plate discipline and trying to get better.

At 18-yr-old, Reggie was 1.4 years younger than the average age in the Gulf Coast League. He quickly gained respect for his opposition stating,
Everyone is good and you can’t take any days off. You always have to keep working and keep trying to get better.

The biggest adjustment he made in his first professional season was timing. Reggie went from regularly seeing fastballs in the mid to high 80’s to seeing fastballs in low to mid 90’s every game.

Reggie describes playing in the GCL as ‘Rise and Grind’.

It was similar to a summer ball schedule, the difference being we woke up at 6 o’clock every morning to work. Play a game by 12 o’clock. Waking up so early was probably the hardest part.  I really had to adjust to [waking up early] and making sure that I did the things that I need to help my body stay acclimated to [the grind] and make sure I was drinking a lot of water.

Slumps during short seasons can impact a players stat line, which is what happened to Reggie. After hitting .288 in August, he only managed a .161 batting in August, which was by far his low-light in his first season.

Despite the month-long slump to finish the season, Pruitt still managed to finish the year with decent .300 wOBA, 87 wRC+, and .314 BABIP while posting an excellent 8.7 speed according to Fangraphs.com.

Five questions with Reggie Pruitt

  1. If you weren’t a baseball player, what would you be? Either a sports journalist or a sports announcer. I would do something centered around sports.
  2. In any sport who was/is your favorite player past and present?  My two favorite athletes of all time would definitely have to be Mike Vick and Allen Iverson. In Baseball, my favorite player is Lorenzo Cain. I don’t really have one of the past.
  3. What negative things did scouts say about you which help motivate you? I’m to skinny and I’m not that good of a hitter so I really pride my self in my work to prove them all wrong.
  4. Fill in the blank…My game most resembles______?  Ben Revere or Lorenzo Cain with a little less pop.
  5. What’s your favorite meal? Definitely a nice seafood meal with potatoes and crab legs and corn and some shrimp.
*Featured Image Credit: slgckgc-flickr-CreativeCommons

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Shaun Doyle

Shaun Doyle is a long time Blue Jays fan and writer! He decided to put those things together and create Jays From the Couch. Shaun is the host of Jays From the Couch Radio, which is highly ranked in iTunes, and he has appeared on TV and radio spots.