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Q&A with Peter Tago, RHP, Dana Hills (CA) HS (2010 Draft)

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April 19, 2010

Peter Tago pitches at 94-95 when he’s on, unlocking smooth and explosive mechanics from a loose arm that has allowed him to hit 97. His curveball projects as another weapon, 76-79, with the potential for future power. There’s a slider here, 73-74, with late sweeping action, as well as a change-up he hasn’t thrown very much this spring. Put it all together and this is a potential four-pitch major league right-handed starter with stamina, durability, command and control.

There’s something else here, and you can’t grade it. Several times, I’ve seen a gassed Tago execute a fastball with a little bit extra on it right on the corner. I’ve seen him reach for a little bit more life on a slider for an out. In my most recent look, he pitched on four days rest, which for a high school pitcher is a rarity, and showed the competitive nature I like to see. To me, that was a guy who put his team in front of the draft. He had hit 97 in his previous start and hit 93 here, but instead of lighting up the gun, he should have lit up the scouting instincts enough to where you would conclude that the player development people are going to love this guy when they get their hands on him.  I can see him, body type, arm action and stuff wise, as an Ervin Santana. Right now, I think his makeup far exceeds his comparison.

Baseball Beginnings caught up with Tago for this recent Q&A, where he discussed why competing makes him tick just as fervently as pleasing a radar gun.

Baseball Beginnings: How did you acquire the competitive nature?
Tago: I think a lot of it came from the summer and competing against some of the best guys from the country, it just becomes a part of you. It’s who can compete the best in terms of execution and mental toughness.

Baseball Beginnings: Did you recognize early on that, ok, I have big stuff but I need to be able to execute with it in big moments?
Tago: Just recently, I started picking up my velocity and learning how to control it. If I need to, I’ll take something off it to hit a spot. And then there’s time where you need to hump it up and beat a guy.

Baseball Beginnings: Do you think the ability to reach back for more velocity deep in a game when you’re not fresh is something that separates you?
Tago: Definitely.

Baseball Beginnings: Are you Samoan?
Tago: Samoan and Filipino.

Baseball Beginnings: I’ve done a lot of research in that area. When you study Samoan football players, you find them to be team-first guys, often a lot more than other players. Do you see some of those qualities yourself?
Tago: Definitely. I see myself as a team leader. I’m just a team guy overall. I want to do anything to help my team win.

Baseball Beginnings: Is that an attitude you take with you to pro ball?
Tago: Yes. I’m more concerned about winning than I am about my individual stats or anything like that.

Baseball Beginnings:  Is today an example of that, where you came back on less rest than usual to help your team? To me, as a scout, I saw that as a rarity – the guy who put team in front of the draft.
Tago: Yeah. I didn’t really mind coming back.

Baseball Beginnings: What kind of pitcher do you see yourself as in the coming years?
Tago: I think mid-to-high 90s, throwing complete games. I like to get as deep into games as I can and finish as many of them as I can.

Baseball Beginnings: Do you differentiate between your curveball and your slider?
Tago: My curveball has been pretty money right now. Then there’s the slider.

Baseball Beginnings: What would be your own out-pitch in your mind.
Tago: Probably the curveball.

Baseball Beginnings: More so than the slider?
Tago: Yes, but I feel comfortable throwing both.

Baseball Beginnings: Tell me where you think you are right now in your overall development.
Tago: It’s a process. I try to take a step forward every game, no matter if I do well or if I do bad. If I make a mistake I try to learn from it and correct it the next time. If I do something well, then I need to repeat it more times the next time and keep trying t get it down and stay consistent with everything.

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