Padres Prospect Interview: Sean Kazmar

They say the third time is the charm. Sean Kazmar was drafted three times before deciding to sign with the San Diego Padres after getting taken in the fifth round of the 2004 MLB Draft. Year after year, Kazmar kept going back to college and he had committed to go to Georgia this year. His mind was made up – he was going to school.

"I was pretty much trying to go with the best option I can with me and my family," the shortstop said. "I was drafted after high school, and then after my freshman year. I don't think I was ready to go play pro ball quite yet. I was still pretty little, but I had a good freshman year in college.

"Then I re-entered and finally Oakland picked me up, and then things just didn't really work out for me in Oakland and I decided to go play at the University of Georgia.

"I feel I had my mind set on going to play there: I had a one hundred percent full ride. I was pretty sure I was going there, and then the draft was coming up and I was kind of wondering what was going to go on with it, and San Diego invited me out to a try-out, and I did pretty well and went in the fifth round."

But his mind was made up. He was heading to the University of Georgia to further develop his career.

"Me and my coach kind of threw out numbers to see if I could get it, just in case, and I ended up getting it, so I had to sign."

Looking back, Sean Kazmar isn't upset. He went in the fifth round and was even surprised when he went that high. He had an inkling that he would drop within the top ten rounds but the fifth exceeded his expectations.

Needless to say, he was excited to begin his baseball career. Nor did he waste any time.

He got off the bus in Eugene after signing and began his pro career. By the time the short-season league was 17 games old, Kazmar had a 14 game hitting streak under his belt.

The biggest problem he faced – his away hitting. It was an epidemic held by many of the Eugene Emerald hitters and Kazmar was not immune to the challenges.

At home, Kazmar hit .333 with all six of his homers, all three of his triples, twenty of his 27 RBI's and 46 of his 69 hits, despite playing in 33 home games and 32 road games. The reason, his away average was just .170 in 135 at bats.

What is this stigma that hampers the players so? Is it that comfortable playing at home? Or is the road that much tougher?

"I really don't know what it is, going to other people's places," Kazmar reflected. "It seems like I'm still hitting the ball hard, I'm still putting solid contact on. Things just aren't falling for me on the road.

"I really can't explain it, but I loved hitting at home. It's a hitter's ball park at home and I pick the ball up really well at home. I pick it up well at other places, it's just not falling for me, you know?"

His home success got him noticed by the higher-ups. They saw a player who developed enough from a hitting standpoint to promote. It also helped that Kazmar moved to second, showing his versatility, to accommodate the arrival of Matt Bush.

Kazmar was moved up to the Fort Wayne Wizards in time to log five games before aiding the club during the playoffs.

He batted .217 in limited action with the Wizards and wants to build on that during the offseason. Kazmar weighs in at 170 pounds right now but his plan is to add ten to fifteen pounds this offseason so he will be ready for the rigors of a full season.

Denis Savage can be reached at

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