Interview with Phillies’ Prospect Tyson Gillies

Posted: July 2, 2013 in Uncategorized

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SkoodSports got a chance to catch up with Tyson Gillies, the Phillies’ young prospect outfielder who was acquired in December, 2009 from the Seattle Mariners organization for Cliff Lee. Tyson spent time in AAA this seasons with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs because being demoted in May to Reading (AA). He is now back with the IronPigs, and as such, had an opportunity to sit down with SkoodSports for a few good minutes. 

Skudris: In your time down with Reading, you have certainly heated-up. In June, you hit .289-3-8. What do you owe to that success?

Gillies: You know, some of the different hitting techniques that everybody has been showing me. I have tried to put everything together. You know, it obviously took some time. I had a lot of failure at first but then had some success as of late. That’s about it. I’m trying some new things to become a better hitter.

Skudris: Now, you’ve certainly seen an influx in your power recently. You had 7 HR in about 170 AB down with Reading. Is there any reason specifically for that?

Gillies: Basically just back to getting comfortable and using my hands a lot more as well as my legs. I’m basically getting the confidence that allows you to drive the ball and be selective with the counts. Everything has been coming together and I have had more power luck recently.

Skudris: Now, in your first stint here with Lehigh Valley in April, your batting average was way below what your typical average would be. Yet, your peripheral numbers, your walks and strikeouts, they weren’t bad. They were about even. What do you think were your struggles here in Lehigh Valley? Was it just getting adjusted to a new level or was it bad luck?

Gillies: You know, it’s a little bit of everything. You get adjusted to the level early in the season. Learning new pitchers and stuff like that. Obviously, these guys are artists (at this level) when it comes to ground balls and fly balls and stuff like that. But, I’m just getting to know these pitchers and getting to know what kind of balls you can tee up and what kind of balls you have to lay off. Hopefully, I’ll have a little bit more luck this time.

Skudris: We certainly hope so as well. Now, your stolen bases have been a little bit down over the past season. Is there any reason for that or is it just that you haven’t had the opportunity to run?

Gillies: You know, sometimes it’s not the right opportunity. I definitely should be going a lot more than I have. I still have a lot to learn when it comes to base-stealing and when is a good time to go or when I should shut down. But, that’s something that we are really going to emphasize over these next two months. 

Skudris: Now, I’m going to go back in your life a little bit, because when you were a kid up in British Columbia, you were a bantam hockey player and a pretty good one at that. What made you decide to become a baseball player and focus your professional dreams on that as opposed to your national pastime? 

Gillies: Well, the big thing was that I always had a dream to go to the states on a scholarship to play sports and with baseball, it was there for me. I took the opportunity. Obviously, I love hockey and I miss hockey. But, you know, my biggest thing was to go to school and get an education.

Skudris: Who’s your favorite hockey team?

Gillies: I’d have to say that it’s the Penguins.

Skudris: The Penguins?!? We might run into some trouble in this area. But, I’ll accept you for it. For you, some may not know that you were born with a hearing impairment. What type of hurdles did you have to overcome in your professional career and in your personal life with that and how did it help you in baseball?

Gillies: Oof, that’s a long story there. Basically, it’s not like anything I can compare it to. I can’t hear the ball off the bat or different situations such as if I steal and someone hits the ball in the air, I can’t hear it or tell. The list can go on. There’s so many things that you can take as a negative. But, there’s also so many things you can take as a positive at the same time. I always have to be more aware of my surroundings and what I’m going to do when the ball gets to me because I’m not going to hear the cut-off man and things like that. I just always have to know. So, I always have all these scenarios running through my head as I’m playing. I take that as a positive, though. I always have my head up. At the end of the night, I always take it as a positive. 

Gillies, who was recalled to Lehigh Valley on Monday, will be the IronPigs’ starting center fielder for the foreseeable future.  

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