Padres Prospect Interview: Drew Macias

Overwhelmed? Not this year. But the route to the Fort Wayne Wizards was littered with peril as Drew Macias made his trek up the ladder of the San Diego Padres system. No, it wasn't venomous snakes or lava running down the mountaintop. Better pitching was the monster.<br><br> "Last year, I had a lot of fun in Idaho (Falls) and I got a chance to come and play in Fort Wayne at the end of the season and when I got up here I was a little overwhelmed," Macias explained.

The left-hand hitting Andres Macias, better known as Drew Macias, made a one game cameo with Fort Wayne on August 31 in his first year in the Padres' system.

He had two at bats. He struck out once and grounded into a double play. Not quite the debut he had hoped for.

And there was a reason that had him a little nervous heading into 2004.

"Rookie ball is a bunch of guys who come in and try to throw a lot of fastballs and you get up here to the Midwest League and they are smart pitchers and not making stupid pitches," Macias explained. "It is a whole different game compared to rookie ball, I thought. I was a little timid before this year. I was like, ‘man, I came up here was 0-for-2 in that game with a sac bunt and was like here we go, I have to have a whole season of facing these guys.'"

He had been a streaky hitter in Idaho Falls with his average mimicking the Pacific Ocean waves. He started out hitting .129 but raised it to .278 before it fell again to .227 and as the season neared its close it met its final resting spot at .251.

He showed enough promise to be put on the Fort Wayne roster from the start of the season. He has had his ups and downs this season but the difference has been an average that flutters between .270 and .300.

The reason for his success is summed up in short:

"I adjusted," a beaming Macias said.

The Padres front office viewed Macias as an excellent defender who wouldn't necessarily add much with his bat. Padres' Director of Player Development Tye Waller didn't necessarily have high expectations for the 21 year old centerfielder.

"We were just hoping that he could hit .240-.250," Waller said. "He really grew on us in spring training and the work he did in winter really made it easy for us to put him (in Fort Wayne)."

That could have been construed as some sharp comments from the decision makers in the organization.

Macias admits he heard the whispers.

"I heard that also." Macias said of the comments. "The way I looked at is I know I can play defense. That comes natural. I know I can swing the bat too and I guess they just have not seen that part. They have seen me hit .250 here and there and hitting the ball with solid contact. This year the ball is falling in and I have been consistent. This is how I expect to play for the rest of my career."

The next step in his career will take him back to California with the Lake Elsinore Storm. Macias went to Chaffey Junior College and the Storm play around the corner from his backyard.

While Fort Wayne has seen a record number of roster moves this year – 53 to date – Macias has not been one of them. He is one of the few on the roster who has remained with the team through thick and thin.

"I try not to think about it," Macias said regarding a possible promotion. "They are going to do what they do. As long as I am here I am going to play as hard as I can and if I get moved I will go there and play as hard as I can.

"I like playing here but it will be awesome playing in Elsinore because I grew up – Canyon Lake is right up the street and I have some family there. They are all pumped to see me play."

And that would also mean a home cooked meal.

"I haven't had one of those in a long time," Macias quipped with a smile.

After a successful season at Fort Wayne, Macias will get his chance soon enough.

Denis Savage can be reached at denis@Sandiegosports.net

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