Padres Prospect Interview: Casey Baker

Casey Baker was promoted from the Fort Wayne Wizards to the Lake Elsinore Storm and made his debut on June 3. He started off on a tear, hitting .333 through much of June. His average has since dropped to a normal level but his attitude remains the same. He is confident after making some changes to his swing.

Casey Baker bounced around the lineup in Fort Wayne and found most of his struggles came when he was batting leadoff. He managed just 15 hits in 84 at bats, a .179 average, from the leadoff spot. When he hit elsewhere it was above .500.

With Lake Elsinore he is hitting over .300 from the leadoff spot and his bane has been the number nine hole where he is hitting .221. But all of his stats have risen since joining the Storm.

After hitting .248 with Fort Wayne, you seem to have some confidence. What, if anything, have you changed about your approach in the batter's box?

Casey Baker: Actually I simplified it. That has helped me out a lot. When I was with Fort Wayne I had a toe tap, a lot of extra movement, but now just taking my hands back and driving toward the baseball. It is about hitting the baseball; all that extra stuff can go out.

Talk a little bit more about how you approach the game as a hitter now that you have cut down on the extra movement.

Casey Baker: The biggest thing for me, especially lately, is knowing my game. Not over swinging, trying to just put the bat on the ball, don't strike out very much, just try and put the bat on the ball and keep it out of the air. Just give myself a better chance.

You have played all three outfield positions and spent time at second base since joining the Storm and you had a couple of games at third with Fort Wayne. How do you keep all of that in line and stay fresh at a given position?

Casey Baker: I just have to keep working because I play infield and outfield so I just have to be ready to go. Mentally I have to be ready to go at any position and physically I have to take fly balls and I have to take ground balls. I can't just give up on one or the other. I could be thrown in at second and if I haven't taken ground balls in a while I may not be able to do my job.

Does it hurt you that you have to be ready to play so many positions or does it help you because you have the versatility and could be seen as a swingman as you near the Majors?

Casey Baker: I don't know yet. I haven't experienced it at the higher levels. I don't know, maybe, as I get higher, if I keep doing what I am doing they will find a position for me. Maybe I will keep playing a lot of positions. The way I look at it is if I get to Triple-A and have a chance to go to the big leagues. If they have a superstar, a guy who makes a lot of money at one position, I don't have to go up and play just that one position.

I think it can help but also hurt. I guess it depends on the situation.

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