Kory DaHaan on AZL Padres prospects

Kory DaHaan managed the AZL Padres in 2010 and had some glowing reports out of many of the prospects he managed. Here is a look at the top batters.

Corey Adamson surprised a lot of people with the season he put together for you in the AZL. What did you see from him this year?

Kory DaHaan: I saw growth in his confidence. I saw growth in his ability to stay back and use all parts of the field. I think he had some expectations early on that he wanted to do too much and show off power and pull, pull, pull. Throughout the season he really did a good job of waiting back longer and driving the ball the other way.

Paul Bingham had a solid start to his year before struggling when he went up to Eugene. What did he do so well for you?

Kory DaHaan: In Arizona, you have harder ground to work with. He's got great speed for a bigger athlete, and he hit a lot of balls that were either on top or ground balls that were going to be tough plays for the infielders that he beat out down here. He also got a lot of balls to fall into the right side to the opposite field as well. When he moved up he might've run into a little bit better pitching, maybe not getting as many breaks with the not infield singles, and on young hitters that just leads to frustration and it's tough to come back sometimes from that.

Jose Dore only received 16 at-bats with you – what were your impressions of him in that short span?

Kory DaHaan: I liked Jose. I think he has a lot of good, natural talent. He has some of the strongest wrist and quick wrist that I've seen. He's a go-getter. He wants it bad and he's willing to do whatever it takes. Now it's just going to take a little bit of time to settle him down a little bit to realize he doesn't have to hit a home run every single time up at the plate. He can work more on what Adamson was doing where he was in the whole part of the field. He's a young kid with a lot of good, raw talent; good arm from the outfield; natural on defense; made no mistakes and was able to catch his balls and has some juice in his bat. Unfortunately, he wants to try and show it too much. He's going to do well, though.

Daniel Garce also performed well. Can he have success at the higher levels?

Kory DaHaan: Garce surprised me. He really came into his own with a good, simple approach. I don't know if he learned that just from facing some of these tougher rehab pitchers because he ended up facing a lot of these rehab pitchers down in the AZL league when he was rehabbing his knee, so he learned how to be short to the ball, but he extended so much. He kept his bat in the zone to be able to extend. If he can get his knee healthy where his speed on the base paths won't deter him very much, his bat could take him a while I think he could go fairly decent with his bat because he actually hit a decent amount of speed pitches as well that sometimes as younger hitters you don't see very often.

B.J. Guinn seems to be the perfect player for a Petco Park with his speed and ability to use his legs. Do you agree with this assessment?

Kory DaHaan: Absolutely. B.J., in my opinion, was as close to being ready for the higher levels as anyone was. It just seemed like, not knowing what was going on in Eugene, when he came down here we were able to focus him in on his overall abilities, talents, and what he brings to the table. But then he didn't try to do too much. He just stayed right in that expectation of being a table setter, hitting line drives, hitting ground balls, using his speed as a threat, and playing solid defense. I saw nothing but good out of him down here, and it was fun seeing him do well. I know he's had some support from his dad who played in the big leagues as well and it was reaffirming to him to just keep doing what you're doing and you'll move up plenty fast. You don't need to do anything else right now just keep using that speed, keep getting on base, and set that table to make it exciting for the guys behind you to drive you in.

Yair Lopez is someone I expected bigger things from. What does he need to do to improve?

Kory DaHaan: He just needs more playing time. Again, he's a young kid. I love his tools as well but he's just got to build his confidence. He's a little bit raw in the outfield with confidence on attacking balls and catching balls and taking good routes. He can hit a fastball a country mile, but it's the offspeed stuff that he still has a tough time with. It'll come. He has decent hands to be able to adjust to the offspeed. It's just a matter of keeping his body in a good position to then hit that offspeed pitch as well. When he gets things going he can dial up on a fastball and can hit some pretty good shots with the best of them.

Jhonaldo Pozo hit well but drew just two walks. Is this a concern in his overall development?

Kory DaHaan: No, he's a younger catcher. He came into his swing understanding what he had to do and his approach as well. He had some success and with any time that you find something that works in your swing and you're excited about it and you're seeing results you're going to want to keep swinging because you're so confident in it. We want the guys to be aggressive so we want them attacking if there are pitches in the zone but yet you want to be mature enough to take those pitches if they're out of the zone or not very good pitches. I think as you move up you'll refine your zone more and you'll understand what's a ball and a strike, but down here I love to see the guys aggressive and really attacking the ball early and seeing what they can do with it. The more at bats you get you'll have a better understanding of the zone and start laying off pitches.

Donavan Tate ended up winning MVP honors in the Instructional League. Could you see his progression through the season – when he was healthy?

Kory DaHaan: When he was healthy and playing, I remember a game where he was 4-for-4, and he was right on the ball and in sync with his swing, confident, and understanding the game. It was a small glimpse of a very bright future if he can stay healthy and focused. Unfortunately, he got the flu bug again, but coming back to the instructional league he worked his tail off, played a ton, a lot of guys would play half a game and he was in there full time doing a great job, and I saw him progress in his confidence and understanding. Hopefully, he won't try to change after every time something doesn't feel perfect. He's just got to trust the understanding that you're going to have some days where you don't feel as good as other days, but you still have to do the same approach towards hitting the ball.

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