MadFriars.com in Fort Wayne
Fernando Valenzuela Jr., 21, was selected in the 10th round of the 2003 draft by the San Diego Padres. Last year Fernando hit .247 with 5 home runs and a .719 OPS. This year, Fernando has made the Midwest League all star team, and is hitting .300/.375/.441 with 6 home runs and 37 RBI's for the first half. He added his seventh homer of the year on Friday."> MadFriars.com in Fort Wayne
Fernando Valenzuela Jr., 21, was selected in the 10th round of the 2003 draft by the San Diego Padres. Last year Fernando hit .247 with 5 home runs and a .719 OPS. This year, Fernando has made the Midwest League all star team, and is hitting .300/.375/.441 with 6 home runs and 37 RBI's for the first half. He added his seventh homer of the year on Friday.">

Padres Prospect Interview: Fernando Valenzuela

<b><a href="http://madfriars.com">MadFriars.com</a> in Fort Wayne</b><br> Fernando Valenzuela Jr., 21, was selected in the 10th round of the 2003 draft by the San Diego Padres. Last year Fernando hit .247 with 5 home runs and a .719 OPS. This year, Fernando has made the Midwest League all star team, and is hitting .300/.375/.441 with 6 home runs and 37 RBI's for the first half. He added his seventh homer of the year on Friday.

MadFriars.com:You're having a better year in a tougher league than you did last year in Eugene. What do you attribute to your success?

Fernando Valenzuela: Being healthy. Last year I never really got 100%. Also playing a whole year with a wooden bat helps and also having a full year of professional baseball under your belt too.

MadFriars.com: Being the son of a famous baseball player, did you feel additional pressure playing baseball growing up? Did you ever avoid playing baseball?

Fernando Valenzuela: No, baseball was never a career goal and no one pressured me to play the game. I played other sports growing up, but baseball was always my favorite.

MadFriars.com: So far this year you have only played first base, can you and have you ever played any other positions?

Fernando Valenzuela: I have played a little bit in the outfield and I've pitched before in the past, but mainly first base.

MadFriars.com: You're from Southern California, is it much of a culture shock being in the Midwest?

Fernando Valenzuela: It's a little different, Eugene last year was a bit of a change, a really small town. We're pretty busy in the day, so don't get that much of a chance to get out, but we will have some off days coming up.

MadFriars.com: You have a very good base on balls to strikeout ratios, how much do you balance between making contact and hitting for power?

Fernando Valenzuela: It's hard. I want to make contact, but usually look for power early in the count or when it's to my advantage. With two strikes, I'm just trying to make contact.

MadFriars.com: Finally, if you were a scout, what would you say your strengths are and what do you need to improve on to make the major leagues?

Fernando Valenzuela: I think I make good contact, and don't strike out much and I've done a good job this year with RBI's this year. For what to improve on is really just everything, work on my timing and just get more consistent.

John Conniff was in Fort Wayne last weekend to get exclusive insight into the team. More interviews will follow from Fort Wayne. He can be reached at Conniff@SanDiegoSports.net

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