MadFriars Q&A: Auston Bousfield

By the time Auston Bousfield, the San Diego Padres’ fifth-round pick out of Ole Miss in last year’s draft, came into the system, he had picked up a lot of team wins. He won four straight district titles with his high school team. He was on a champ in the Perfect Game tournament. He was part of the first Ole Miss trip to Omaha in 40 years.

In his professional debut, he kept the successes coming. His .301/.402/.512 line in Eugene put him among the Emeralds’ team leaders in each category and he fell only a few plate appearances short of having his OPS qualify third in the Northwest League. Bousfield doesn’t possess the loudest set of tools ever, but he is solid across the board, plays the game smart, and he can be a weapon offensively, anywhere in the outfield, and on the bases.

We talked with Auston as he worked through his first professional spring training camp this year.

MadFriars: After what must have been a long year last year, what did you do this offseason?

Auston Bousfield: I went back to Ole Miss and worked out with the strength coach there, Ben Flemming. I was in the weight room three weeks after the season ended because it’s something I think I need to work on for my game, you know, build some strength and get ready to play a long season since I’ve never done that before. I was there and took class, and it was nice because they have batting cages and all that stuff and I was able to utilize all their facilities. I went home for a couple weeks, but really I stayed there and worked out all offseason.

MadFriars: A lot of times, making that transition from the college game to the pro side can be a challenge in terms of the speed of the game. How did you handle that jump?

Auston Bousfield: I think the SEC really helps a lot with being able to slow the game down, as well as mental coaches we have with the Padres – Jason Amaroso has been really helping us out. As I keep playing games and get used to the whole pro ball thing, I think it will start to slow down on its own and then as I learn myself, that will help.

MadFriars: If you were responsible for filing a scouting report on yourself right now, what would you include as your strengths and your areas to focus on improving?

Auston Bousfield: I think I need to work on getting stronger, work on my power game to be able to add more doubles. I’m a guy who can do a little bit of everything. I don’t know if I’ll do any one thing off the charts like 30 home runs or anything, but I can hit some home runs, steal some bases, play good defense and hit for solid average.

MadFriars: Watching you in the cage, you have one of the quietest, shortest swings. Have you always had that sort of approach, or did you tone it down at some point?

Auston Bousfield: That’s something I’ve always done. Even when I was a freshman in high school, I worked with a guy with the Orlando Scorpions, a travel ball team, named Matt Gerber, and we really tried to simplify things. Hitting’s a hard enough thing, so trying to add all those moving parts – some guys are talented enough to do it, but me personally, I’ve never been one of them. I just try to make the game as easy as possible, and the fewer parts that are moving, the easier it is for me.

MadFriars: You’ve talked about adding more strength to your game. How do work on incorporating that while sticking with the approach that’s worked so well for you so far?

Auston Bousfield: I’m always trying to stay the other side of the field, but really, the shorter your swing is, a lot of times the more power you generate just from being able to find the barrel more consistently. I’m just working on keeping things short and compact, and that will, in turn, give me some more power numbers.

MadFriars: As you work defensively, has there been anything you’ve heard from outfield coordinator Tarrick Brock this spring to really focus in on?

Auston Bousfield: I wanted to be able to play all three outfield positions. We’ve done a couple of drop-step drills and things like that, getting behind the ball and working through the ball. Some are things I worked on in college, but he broadened and expanded on it a little more. It’s good to hear it from a different person after hearing it from the same person for the last three years.

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