Padres scouting report: Sean Kazmar

It wasn't necessarily a surprise to Sean Kazmar that he got drafted in the fifth round. He got a solid bonus to sign, foregoing his scholarship to the University of Georgia.<br><br> "Kazmar is a 19 year old guy out of Las Vegas Junior College," Padres' Director of Player Development Tye Waller commented.

"If you saw him on the right days you thought he could play. You saw him on the wrong days you would think, ‘what are we doing here?'"

Sean Kazmar began the season in Eugene, opening the year as their everyday shortstop. He hit safely in 16 of his first 17 games to open the year, including a 14 game streak that saw him go 18-for-58, a .311 average.

On July 21, Kazmar went 4-for-5 to raise his average to a season high .291. During the month of July the right-handed hitter bat .294. He was also hot when he led off the inning. His .340 average was solid, yet when he batted in the leadoff spot he batted just .188.

"This guy is an aggressive, confident player and he believes he can get things done," Waller said. "It shows when you watch him play. He did surprise me with his ability to drive the ball – put the ball in play. That is a tough league for a 19 year old junior college guy to go into and play and have some success."

At home, he crushed the ball. He swatted .333, hit his six Eugene homers and knocked in 20 playing in front of the home crowd. Seventeen of his 22 extra base hits occurred in Eugene.

And that was the good Waller alluded to.

In August, Kazmar saw his average plummet. He batted just .196 and went 7-for-58 over the final 15 games.

On the road, Kazmar couldn't hit a whiffle ball. He managed to hit just .170.

"I really can't explain it, but I loved hitting at home," Kazmar said. "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?"

"He was inconsistent mainly because he was overaggressive at times," Waller said. "That is something we can fix relatively easy with just playing time. That is where you see these guys grow. When they settle down and understand the type of game they need to play and if they can take that attitude between the lines you will see a more consistent player."

In fairness to Kazmar, he spent the last nine games at second base after playing his first 56 at shortstop. The added pressure of playing a new position affected him at the plate. His average was .275 at that point and dipped to .253 after batting just .108 in his nine games at second.

"That is part of development," Waller said. "You put the guys out there and find out what they can and cannot do and go to work on improving all areas of the game."

Kazmar's defense was another issue. He came in with a reputation for being solid in that category. It didn't come to fruition this year.

Kazmar had a stretch of 14 games where he committed eight errors. He had another stretch where he committed six errors in eight games. He had 22 errors in 56 games, one every 2.55 games.

Ironically, he had just one error at second base, coming in his first game at the position. He returned to shortstop in Fort Wayne and committed four more errors in five games, not counting the playoffs.

"He will come to Instructional League and we will work on his defense and hopefully we will make some improvements where he can improve on this coming season."

Second base may end up being the position of choice for the 5-foot-10, 170 pound Kazmar. He has surprising gap power and his plan is to put on ten to fifteen pounds of muscle this offseason to get ready for the daily grind he expects in 2004.

He will also have to work on drawing more walks. His nine walks gave him an on base percentage of just .279 on the year. The future is bright for Kazmar. At 19, he has shown more raw ability than many his age and played at a level that 22 and 23 year olds struggle with.

Denis Savage can be reached at

MadFriars Top Stories