MadFriars' Interview: Connor Powers

FORT WAYNE: Connor Powers was drafted in the twenty-first round by the San Diego Padres in the 2010 draft after a four year collegiate career at Mississippi State.

For the Bulldogs he played both first and third base hitting .379/.488/.696 his senior year after electing not to sign with the Dodgers, who drafted him in the eleventh round the previous year.

At Eugene he struggled hitting only .191/.315/.287 and when the Fort Wayne TinCaps broke camp Powers didn't make the cut and was stuck in extended spring training.

When you are twenty-three, are coming off a season where you hit .191 after deciding to go back for your senior year and are relegated to extended spring; it would be easy to get down on yourself.

But Powers didn't.

In the off-season he had gotten in better shape and in the spring revamped his swing so when he got his chance in early June he was ready.

At Fort Wayne this year he hit .338./422/.538.

After hitting .255 for the first fifteen games in June he hit .323/.412/.500 in July and .368/.455/.737 down the stretch in August. Thirty-eight of his ninety-three hits were for extra bases as he led the TinCaps in bating average and OPS.

You had a tough year at Eugene and then didn't make the squad coming out of spring. You've come to Fort Wayne and just had a great year. How were you able to keep from not getting really down on yourself?

Connor Powers: You always here coaches just talk about getting better wherever you are at and just have to worry about controlling what you can control. Take advantage of the opportunities when you get them.

You lost some weight in the off-season too. Why are you playing so much better here than you did last year. I mean you are in a better league.

Connor Powers: Well last year I still had a bit of an aluminum bat swing. After being in extended I kind of got rid of it in the two months that I was there. I did make some adjustments in the off-season but was really able to solidify it during extended because I didn't have to worry so much about the results.

I mean you want to do well and they do keep track, but its not the same as here.

We always hear that term "aluminum bat swing" what exactly does that mean?

Connor Powers: For me if you are strong enough you can do a lot of things with an aluminum bat. You can catch up to 92 or 93 with a long swing and you can't with a wood bat.

You have to shorten up and make adjustments.

With a wooden bat there is such a smaller sweet spot compared to aluminum. So do you have to kind of pick what part of the plate to cover?

Connor Powers: For me its more about looking for a pitch in a certain spot. I have a fastball dominant approach. When you have a shorter swing and understand how to flatten it out you get a larger margin for error.

A big thing for me was having a flatter swing which means you are in the hitting zone longer. If you are on time you are going to hit it up the middle, late to right and early to left which really helps you out. If I stay tall in my stance I will do better because I've always been able to get to low pitches and when they come high I'm not getting under them.

Going to extended appears to be a type of blessing in disguise because it allowed you to incorporate the changes you made in the off-season without trying to have to think to much here.

Connor Powers: Exactly. When I step out of the dugout to go to the on deck circle I really try to clear my head. I just visualize myself hitting and just try to get the barrel on the ball.

It seems like you get in trouble when you try to think too much.

Connor Powers: [laughs] With me its kind of like the line from Bull Durham, "Don't think you are only hurting the ball club."

When I start thinking too much it doesn't work as well for me as reacting to the ball.

How does it affect you once you've seen a pitcher a few times?

Connor Powers: The first time I see a pitcher my big goal is to not be an easy out. Don't swing at a bad pitch early in the count or go down in three pitches. Try to make them throw strikes.

You are making this sound pretty easy but you have a pretty good on-base percentage too so you must have a pretty good idea of the strike zone.

Connor Powers: Its all about just looking for your pitch and trusting yourself that if it is a strike you are going to swing at it.

They have moved you around between third and first. Do you feel comfortable at both spots?

Connor Powers: I really like both and right now I'm just happy to be in the lineup.

That is the answer all of you guys give.

Connor Powers: As long as I get my four at-bats [laughs].

What are your goals going into the off-season?

Connor Powers: Try to get in better shape. I was weighing in around 240 lbs. last year and I'm now at around 215 and just feel much better playing everyday at that weight.

How did you lose the weight?

Connor Powers: Just made my own food and laid off going to restaurants and eating the fried foods. Some guys can carry that much weight but for me this is around my optimum level.

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