Get To Know: Twins Infield Prospect Spencer Steer
Image courtesy of Steve BuhrSpencer Steer was born and raised in Long Beach, California. He grew up an Angels fan, rooting for some really good, star-laden teams. Steer said, “I always loved Garrett Anderson, watching him play. Obviously I’ve loved watching Mike Trout the last eight years or so. It’s fun to be able to drive 20 minutes and watch him play.”
That’s where he grew to love the game of baseball. He played at MIllikan High School where he starred on the baseball team for four seasons. He played in some Perfect Game events as well.
“I got some great experience playing in those Perfect Game tournaments against that kind of competition.”
Steer had been drafted before. He was selected by Cleveland in the 29th round of the 2016 MLB Draft. While he wasn’t against the idea of signing, he had a pretty strong commitment to the University of Oregon.
“I was pretty set on going to school. I never took the draft for granted, and I didn’t want to close that door and completely shut it off. I really wanted that college experience. It wasn’t a tough choice given the circumstances.”
In his first year with the Ducks, he played well and earned Freshman All-American honors. IT was a good learning season for him, and he took those experiences and when he became the veteran, he returned the favor.
“It was a big change. The competition level was much better than what I was seeing in high school. I was playing against guys three or four years older than me. That was definitely a bit of an adjustment. But learning from the older guys when I was a freshman, learning from their experiences and how they’ve grown through their couple of years. Then as a junior, trying to help the freshman out, giving them advice, showing them the ropes, helping them make the adjustment that I had to make as a freshman.”
He again played well as a sophomore and was given the opportunity to spend that summer playing in the Cape Cod League.
“I played (summer ball) every year. I played three years of summer ball and before my junior year I played in the Cape. It was a great experience. It was a time to work on things, to refine your skills and develop new ones. My experience with summer ball was great.”
This spring, he put together a really strong junior season. In 56 games, he hit .349/.456/.502 (.958) with 13 doubles and six homers. He was named first-time All Pac 12 on the field as well as an Academic All Pac 12 performer.
It’s not always easy to balance with the schedules of a Division I athlete, but Steer credits the school for helping make it possible.
“They gave us a bunch of resources at Oregon, tutors and support staff from the academic side of things. It’s amazing. They make it easier for us. They are able to help us out. The coaches are also good with scheduling, making sure we have enough time to get home after practice and do our academics.”
Steer’s major is General Social Science with an emphasis in business. “I’m going back to Oregon this fall and hopefully getting to just a term away from graduating this offseason.”
In talking with Steer, it was very clear that his time at Oregon was meaningful to and for him on and off the field.
“The University of Oregon. The experience I had there with the coaching staff. Coach (George) Horton is a really great coach. He really prepared me for more than just baseball, but also for life outside of baseball. How to be a man. The culture we have at Oregon has taught me a lot about what it’s like to be a good teammate, to be a man, to love your family, to treat people with respect and all the lessons I’ve learned there.I just think that the experiences at Oregon have helped me to become the professional that I am.”
Steer had already been drafted once, but as the 2019 draft approached, it was a different experience for him. This time, he was ready to begin his professional career and knew he had a chance to be drafted much higher.
He began hearing from scouts last fall. He was also appreciative that scouts generally spent more time talking to coaches once the season started so that he could focus on just playing.
“It started in the fall. They’d come in and see where your head was at. It was a different experience for me because I knew I wanted to take that next step in my career, and I knew I was ready for it.”
One team that he did not talk to at all before the draft was the Minnesota Twins.
“I didn’t hear anything from the Twins, surprisingly, until after the draft. I never heard anything from them prior to the draft.”
Yet, the Twins obviously liked him enough and made him their third-round draft pick in June, the 90th overall draft pick this year. It isn’t unusual for teams to do this, to try to make it look (to other organizations) like they aren’t really all that interested, so that they have a better chance or some additional hope to draft him.)
photo by Steve Buhr
During the draft, Steer tried not to stress too much and was just hanging out in Eugene with a few friends and teammates.
“It was a pretty special moment to hear my name that early in the draft. It didn’t really sink in until a couple of days later.”
Soon after the draft, Steer was on a plane to Minneapolis where he met with the Twins front office, watched a game and signed a professional contract to play in the Minnesota Twins organization.
He spent a little time in Ft. Myers and then made the trek north to start his career with the Elizabethton Twins. In 20 games, he hit .325/.442/.506 (.948) with 13 doubles and six home runs. He walked 15 times with just five strikeouts.
“Elizabethton is a great place to start. It wasn’t too much adjusting. It was just playing baseball every day instead of every weekend. It was just the toll on your body was a little different, but I was able to experience that in summer ball. So it wasn’t too big of an adjustment.”
The Twins felt he was ready to move up and sent him to the Cedar Rapids Kernels where, in 40 games, he has hit .265/.372/.406 (.778) with 13 doubles, two triples and two home runs.
“You can notice that the pitching gets a little better. Guys have more control of their off-speed, and those pitches are a little better. Learn from the older guys on the team and seeing what their plan at the plate is and how they attack guys. Try to do as much as you can to learn every day and see what works best for you.”
At E-Town, he played mostly shortstop. Since joining the Kernels, he’s mostly played third base though he has also been learning and getting time at second base.
“For me defensively, the more defensive positions I can play, the better. I think my versatility is a huge advantage. I’m able to play all the positions in the infield. I’d say I’m probably most comfortable at third base because that’s where I’ve played the majority of my innings the last couple of years. But I’m starting to play a lot more second base here at Cedar Rapids .I played a lot of shortstop at Elizabethton. I think I’ve proved that I can play every spot. That’s a huge advantage to me.”
For the most part, Steer has hit first or second. He’s had a couple of games in the middle of the order.
“At this level, I’m not the most powerful guy, but I think I can be a guy who drives in runs. For that reason you can stick me at the top of the order and I’ll find ways on base and draw a lot of walks. I think at this level, I’m more of a top of the order guy, but that can always change as I get older and put on more weight.”
In the offseason, Steer will head back to Eugene, take a few classes and enjoy spending time with his friends.
Follow Spencer Steer on Twitter at @spenc__er.
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