MadFriars' Interview: Jason Hagerty

SAN ANTONIO, TX - Jason Hagerty, 26, was drafted by the Padres' in the fifth round of 2009 draft out of the University of Miami and in his first two full seasons he looked like he had a chance to become a difference maker.

In 2010 he was the MadFriars' Hitter of the Year when the switch-hitting catcher hit .351/.479/.586 in the second half of the Midwest League and picked right back up in Lake Elsinore the next year with a .311/.386/.518 slash line before being promoted to San Antonio.

And that is where a variety of injuries began.

Nagging injuries kept him in and out of the lineup for most of 2012 and last year he missed all but 12 games with major elbow surgery.

This season he has gotten his health back and has been the Missions' everyday first baseman with occasional foray back to catching to give Austin Hedges a breather.

Offensively, he has been up and down but through Sunday was still putting up decent numbers in a tough pitcher's league at .268/.362/.429.

"Along with Rymer Liriano he has the best bat speed on the team," said his hitting coach Francisco Morales.

"And from both sides."

What was the injury that you had last year?

Jason Hagerty: I had elbow surgery and some bone spurs taken out.

Is that like a Tommy John surgery?

Jason Hagerty: It's not as bad because a Tommy John surgery is more structural. It didn't take as long to come back from but it's something that had needed to be cleaned up for awhile.

You were always getting beat up as an everyday catcher everytime I would come out to Fort Wayne or Lake Elsinore to speak with you.

Jason Hagerty: Yeah, it seemed that I caught more than my share of injuries. I was always fighting to try to stay in the lineup.

Getting more reps at first base must have helped.

Jason Hagerty: It did. It took some stress off of my body.

You don't seem like the type of guy that is too upset if you are not catching. Your focus has always been more of being on the field.

Jason Hagerty: I do love catching, but I also don't like being out of the lineup either. If it helps me to play everyday, then I always want to take that opportunity.

Are you the same type of hitter from the right and left?

Jason Hagerty: I try but it does't always work out that way. Sometimes you just go longer seeing either right-handed or left-handed pitching and it can change you up.

I've been doing since my sophomore year of high school, so you are always looking for that right feel.

During BP you take the same amount of cuts?

Jason Hagerty: I do, but depending on if its a righty or lefty I might take a few more from the side I will be going from that day.

You had some huge years in A-ball but it seems like you have never really been completely healthy since you have advanced.

Jason Hagerty: Without making excuses I haven't been healthy, but if you are out there playing you have to deal with it. The pitching has gotten better so there are a few things going on.

But yes, this is the first time that I have felt good physically in a few years.

When you talk about the pitching being better does that just mean their command and secondary pitches are better?

Jason Hagerty: Yes, guys throw just as hard at nearly all levels of the minors. The big difference is what you just said; the ability to locate more consistently and better secondary stuff. Also there just more depth on the staffs here.

Many people believe that at the AA level everyone is physically talented enough to be in the big leagues the separator is on the mental side. Do you find that to be true?

Jason Hagerty: Definitely. It's just a grind everyday to try to succeed and you have to have the right mindset to succeed with the different roller-coasters you are going to face. It's really about getting that routine that will make you better and having enough confidence to stick with it.

I always hear about how important it is to stick to a plan but at the same time all of you guys also talk about making adjustments. How do you know when to make adjustments?

Jason Hagerty: It is very easy to switch when you are not doing well and it kind of comes back to knowing what is the work you need to do to get better.

As I said earlier, the mental side is the big separator at this level.

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