Stevenson is a fundamentally sound player.
Tanner Stevenson, a left-handed hitting second baseman out of North High School in Wichita, Kansas may be a prospect currently flying under the radar, but come draft day he may hear his name called at least somewhat early. We recently caught up with Stevenson for a pre-draft Q&A session.
Scout.com: First of all, how you do you feel the past year went in terms of your progress as a player and what were you able to get out of it?
Tanner Stevenson: I felt I made some good strides during the summer/fall season and off-season workouts. My physical strength and foot speed would be the two areas that have improved the most. I gained a good 5-10 pounds of muscle and my left-to-right quickness and base running have improved as well.
Scout.com: Which event or game in the past year do you think you had your best showing at and why?
Tanner Stevenson: My best showing in the past year was probably at the 17u NBC World Series. I had back-to-back games where I was 3 for 3, a 3-run HR and 2 singles in the first game, followed by 3 doubles in the second game. I had a lot of defensive action during those two games as well.
Scout.com: If you had describe your overall game, what are some important things you'd point out and basically what should people know about your style of play?
Tanner Stevenson: I hustle and work hard. I have long-smooth swing, I like to stay inside the ball. Lefty with good power, most of my hits stay between left-center and right-center. Defensively, I’m comfortable and loose. Good hands. I’m smart and play the game smart.
Scout.com: What would you say is your strongest attribute as a player and why?
Tanner Stevenson: My strongest attribute as a player is that I have a strong work-ethic and I’m always looking for ways to step up my game. I hustle and never give less than 100%. I work very hard and attribute all my success to my off-season workout.
Scout.com: Have you thought ahead about the decision you could have to make between going pro and college and what is your opinion on pro vs. college?
Tanner Stevenson: I thought about pro vs. college, and I would say that I am signable if drafted high enough. Otherwise, I’ll go the collegiate route and get the bookwork done.
Scout.com: What do you feel are the most significant improvements you have to make over the next year and how do you plan to correct them?
Tanner Stevenson: Personally, I’d like to put on a little more mass and add on to the areas that continue to improve. My 60 time sits at 7 flat right now, but as I continue with my speed drills and workouts, I look forward to dropping that time to sub-seven. I’ll be spending hours on the tee to work out little kinks, and several pickup drills will keep developing those defensive attributes. But basically, I plan to continue hitting the gym and the cage and continuing to work just as hard as I always have. There’s always room for improvement.
Scout.com: It seems that you were a player that moved up a lot on many prospects lists this summer. What differences do you think there were in your game that got you the added attention?
Tanner Stevenson: My stick’s really come around in last couple of years. I would say that my bat has been the strongest part of my game. Hitting from the left-side always helps too. Another difference maker might be that my body has really just begun to respond to the workouts out in the last year or so. I’ve gained a little bit of size and feel quite a bit stronger.
Scout.com: What do you feel is the most important thing an organization should know about you that they might not see at first glance?
Tanner Stevenson: I work hard and I’m smart. I’m very coachable and love to spend time working on my game. Rocky said “If you know what your worth, then go out and get what your worth.” And that’s kind of the same approach I take on my game.
Scout.com: What big league player would you best compare yourself to in terms of style and why?
Tanner Stevenson: The player I would compare myself to most, is a left-handed-hitting Craig Biggio. His approach at both the plate and the field is very aggressive. He’s has great hands stays inside the ball. He also plays the game smart, and steals bases as a result. I admire his work-ethic and “get-it-done” approach to the game.
Scout.com: How would you describe your approach at the plate?
Tanner Stevenson: I like to crowd the plate a little bit. I’m looking to smoke the first ball, fastball. I don’t get overly anxious, but at the same time I don’t like to sit and watch close pitches. Like I said, I like to stay inside the ball and behind it. Short-to-it-and- long-through-it!
Scout.com: You've been praised for your offensive skills by many scouts. What do you think makes you such a strong hitter?
Tanner Stevenson: I’m not passive, I step up to the plate to get a hit. Over the past couple of years, I really learned to stay inside the ball and stay through it. This has allowed me punch the fastballs and sit on the curve balls. But being able to stay inside the ball has been key for me.
Scout.com: What I've heard the most about you is that you are very fundamentally sound. What is your reaction to that?
Tanner Stevenson: I put in a lot of hours so that my mechanics are comfortable and second nature. I don’t have to think about what to do when a ball’s hit up the middle, I just play.
Scout.com: How would you break down your defensive game? Do you feel it is one of your stronger points?
Tanner Stevenson: Defense has always been my strong suit because, until recently, I haven’t ever had much size. I’ve always had to rely on my glove and my hands. Though my stick is probably my best attribute, I still think my defense has shaped me as a player.