MadFriars Interview: Beamer Weems

SS Beamer Weems has always been one of the best defensive players in the system but this year his bat is starting to catch up.

SAN ANTONIO: SS Beamer Weems, 23, was an 8th round draft pick out of Baylor University by the San Diego Padres in the 2008 draft. Weems is the type of player that you run across occasionally in the minors a player with a talent so special in one aspect of the game you hope the other side can get somewhere even close.

Weems has always been an exceptional athletic shortstop with excellent range, good arm strength and amazing hand-eye coordination. What has held him back are concerns if he can hit enough and with a career minor league line of .237/.372/.340 it was a justified criticism.

This season he changed a few things at the plate, mainly he abandoned switch-hitting and so far its paid off with Weems hitting . 324/.390/.500, easily his best month since joining the organization.

"Going from one side is one thing but he also made a few little adjustments with his swing," Missions' hitting coach Tom Tornincasa said on Weems improvement at the plate.

"He's hitting a lot of balls hard."

We caught up with Beamer, or William Thomas Weems, "Beamer" is a nickname his mother gave him combining his father's nickname of "Weamer" and his first name of Billy, at the end of May.

You are hitting very well this year after deciding to only hit from the right side. Why did you decide to stop switch-hitting?

Beamer Weems: The last few years its kind of been in the back of my head. I've always felt a little stronger from the right side and have a little bit better control. So in spring training I talked to Smitty [Randy Smith, the Padres Vice-President of Player Development] and some of the other guys and they said lets do it.

I started to work with Tourny [Tom Tornincasa] and tried to see as many right-on-right situations as I could. Standing in on bullpens and I felt like I started picking up some things. In the long run I think its really going to be good for me.

In '09 you put together some good numbers in Lake Elsinore with the exception of the last six weeks. It must have been a little different for you at first.

Beamer Weems: I felt like I did all right in Lake Elsinore but still thought I wasted quite a few at-bats from the left side. I never felt like I was an easy out from the right.

I was only getting 30% at-bats from the right so I thought I could be more competitive switching.

Its seems like by watching you in BP you have a better base from the right side. Is that accurate?

Beamer Weems: Yeah and from the left side I always felt more off-balanced. I didn't really know what to look for and chased a lot of pitches in the dirt. From the right I feel stronger and feel like I have a better base to start from.

Initially you were supposed to come here as a utility infielder but with Drew Cumberland getting hurt you have been playing everyday at shortstop. You have always been such a strong defensive player have you ever even played anywhere in the infield other than shortstop?

Beamer Weems: I really haven't. I played a few games at second in Elsinore. Really in the past ten years I haven't played anywhere other than short but if they needed me somewhere else I would do it.

I asked you before on this. You have a lot of fun taking ground balls in the infield with your flips, between the legs moves and so on. You explained it before that you aren't out there trying to show off you do that to build hand-eye coordination.

Beamer Weems: A lot of people think I am showing off but it really just relaxes me and helps me get into a rhythm, and that is what fielding is all about. If I can do something to relax and make me move my hands and feet more, its a good thing.

Everything is always so fluid. It seems like you are always running towards first when you throw.

Beamer Weems: I try to get all my momentum going toward first so there is less footwork involved.

Defense has always been there but you had a tough year last year with your injuries. What did you do in the off-season to improve upon last year?

Beamer Weems: I didn't really take an off-season off like I normally do. As soon as I was healthy, I started to do my fielding drills like I usually do; balls against a wall on my knees. I had been off for awhile so I did more than usual, especially with my hands and my feet.

Offensively you always had it in the back of your mind you weren't going to switch-hit. So did you work that hard from the left side?

Beamer Weems: No, I worked just as hard from the left as I did the right. I hadn't written off switch-hitting yet but it was a relief that they let me go with my plan.

What are your biggest goals going into the year?

Beamer Weems: Just keep trying to make all the routine plays defensively. I've never really set goals for things like RBIs and other things, just try to help the team as much as I can. Hit and run, bunt and move guys over is what I really try to focus on.

You sound like someone who tries to take the game at-bat by at-bat and every pitch in the field. If you think ahead to far you get in trouble.

Beamer Weems: For me if I start thinking that I have to hit .300 or something like that I start to press. If I concentrate more on putting together solid at-bats it will take care of itself.

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