Jorge Salgado

MadFriars' Interview: Carlos Asuaje

EL PASO, Tex. - Carlos Asuaje, along with outfielder Manuel Margot, shortstop Javier Guerra and LHP Logan Allen, was acuired in the big off-season trade with the Boston Red Sox for star Padres’ closer Craig Kimbrel.

So far the little second baseman (5’9” and maybe 160 pounds) has gotten off to the fastest start hitting .290 and second only to outfielder Hunter Renfroe on the team in total bases with 15.

“He’s a tough little out,” said his manager with the Chihuahuas, Rod Barajas.

“I got a chance to coach against him in the [Arizona] Fall League and he would never go down easy.  Handled lefties, handled righties and played solid defense.”

“When we got him I was excited because I knew he would be at Double-A or Triple-A and he could help either team out.”

Asuaje, 24, was selected in the eleventh round of the 2011 draft by the Red Sox out of Nova Southeastern University, a Division II school where he hit .356/.451/.520 in three years of college ball. He had a big year in Low-A Greenville with a slash line of .305/.391/.542 with 45 extra-base hits in 2014 before falling off last year in Double-A Portland at .251/.334/.374.

He has primarily played second base, which is the only postion he has played with El Paso so far this year, and third.  The Red Sox also have given him occasional starts at shortstop and left field.  

The Padres see him as being able to play multiple positions and plan to give him more looks at shorstop during the year that Boston has in the past.

How did you hear that you were coming over to San Diego?

Carlos Asuaje: It was a Friday night and I was in the lineup that evening and I got a call from the Red Sox Scouting Director, Ben Crockett.  He said that he liked how I have been playing out here [ he hit .329/.359/.429 for the Scottsdale Scorpians in the Arizona Fall League]  but that I was just traded for a relief pitcher.

And that was all the information that he gave me.  I didn’t know who it was for or who else was coming over.

It might be the best relief pitcher in the game.

Carlos Asuaje: [laughs] Yeah, that is not bad, but that is all the information that I got at the time.

Boston is really a loaded system, so you had to think there might be some more opportunities over here.

Carlos Asuaje: That is the way I looked at.  It was a new team and new opportunity.  I really didn’t know a whole lot about the Padres, or really any other system, being in Boston’s system.

For me it was just focusing on playing and trying to finish out the Fall League the right way.

You are from Venezulea, when did you come over here.

Carlos Asuaje: I came over here when I was two, so I grew up and went to high school in the U.S. I was always a smaller guy, even smaller than I am now, so I didn’t get too many pro scouts coming around; especially in high school.

So I went to Nova Southeastern University, a Division II school in Florida and it worked out for me.

Despite not being the biggest guy you do have some power in your bat.

Carlos Asuaje: I think its just from hitting a lot and using your body the correct way.  Too many times people get caught up in the size of a person, but if you are mechanically sound you can do some damage to the ball.

When you are hitting the ball in the right part of the bat, that also helps too. 

So far you have only played second base but the Padres have said they plan to also play you at shortstop and third base.  How comfortable are you there?

Carlos Asuaje:  I always played shortstop growing up and in college, so that is always the position that I have been most comfortable at before I started playing second in the pros.

Third base was kind of throw-in and it’s a tough place to play because guys can really hit and the ball comes at you very quickly.  It’s just an adjustment like anything else in this game.

But to get in the line-up I’m willing to do just about anything.

How did you get to be a left-handed hitter?

Carlos Asuaje: I honestly have no idea.  It must have been my Dad because he was a switch-hitter at Southern Illinois in college.  I’m sure he had something to do with it, throw righty and hit from the left side.

[laughs] I’m not going back. 

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