Patterson, With Help From Pops, Excelling at the Plate

By Steve Wilaj / Mahoning Valley Scrappers | July 5, 2014 3:04 PM ET

Steven Patterson and his father, Fred Patterson, are UC-Davis baseball alums.

The son - currently the Mahoning Valley Scrappers second baseman - and the dad - an Aggie from 1978-1980 - naturally have plenty to discuss when it comes to America's pastime.

But they don't (or ever did) just talk baseball.

Instead, since Steven's childhood days, the Patterson's really talk baseball - analyzing and dissecting the game in an effort to help the 21-year old strive towards his big-league aspirations. 

"As I was growing up, my dad and I always talked about approaches and how, usually, the hardest pitch to hit is the outside fastball," he said. "If you're focusing on the outside fastball, you can drive it that way and then adjust to everything else. 

"I've really got a hold of that approach and it's worked out for me ever since."

That lesson - presumably just one of many between the Patterson's - has continued to work for the Cleveland Indians 2014 10th-round draft pick in the early portion of his pro career. 

Through 10 games, Patterson is batting .359 with 14 hits, including six doubles, in 39 at-bats. He notched two hits on Friday in a 3-1 Scrappers loss to Batavia.

"I've been working a lot through the middle and trying to stay focused on my strengths, which is the middle and opposite field," he said. "When I do get that inside pitch, I'm able to just let my hands work out front and turn on it and hit it hard.

Evidence of this came on Wednesday at Auburn, as the 5-foot-9, 205-pound lefty yanked his first homerun of the season. It's just the type of production that's allowed manager Ted Kubiak to comfortably pencil Patterson into either the second or third spot of the Scrappers batting order.

"The entire series they were throwing me inside and I finally got a hold of one and was able to get some air under it and put it out of the park," Patterson said. "The 3-4 spot is where I hit in college and I've gotten really comfortable with it. 

"So coming up here and hitting in the 2-3 spot, not much has changed. I'm still getting my at-bats and still doing well in both of those spots."

Before raking in the middle of the UC-Davis lineup for the past two years, Patterson started his career with junior college San Joaquin Delta in Stockton, CA. There, the Stockton-native hit .300 as a freshman and .380 his sophomore season. 

He then followed in his father's footsteps in transferring to UC-Davis where he .324 as a junior before batting .326 this past season.

"Being at two different schools, it allowed me to take two different types of coaching and mold it into the way I play," Patterson said. "Just being able to take both of those experiences and bring it into pro ball has been really cool."

One of those experiences was moving from third base to second base with his transfer to the Aggies. 

Still getting comfortable in the middle of the diamond, Patterson understands how the position is changing, recognizing longtime New York Yankees and current Seattle Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano as the new mold.

"I admire the way he plays," he said. "He's a great second baseman and hits for power and average. He can do a little bit of everything and that's why I can hopefully see myself being a player kind of like him."

In the meantime, Patterson simply wants to stay consistent with everything he and dad have worked on - especially that hitting approach.

"I just want to keep doing what I've been doing and take what I've learned and put it into the games," he said. "I've been on a hot start and I just want to keep it going, stay consistent and everything else will work out."

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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