Padres scouting report: Billy Hogan

With several names already being jettisoned from the Eugene Emeralds and perhaps more moves looming in the distance, one player, who saw his confidence drop to an all-time low, made the initial cut. Billy Hogan, stellar in his debut season, was a shell of himself in 2004.

Hogan was drafted in the fifth round of the 2003 draft and spent his first year with Idaho Falls. A stellar season earned him league honors when he was named the designated hitter on the Pioneer League all-star team. In 45 games, he hit .344 with three homers and 33 RBIs. He was moved up to Eugene and held his own in a short stint in the Northwest League.

Looking to build upon that success, the Padres placed Hogan in Fort Wayne. He struggled there, managing hits in nine of 16 games and batting just .164. He struck out twenty times while walking seven times.

He was shelved and went back to instruction in Peoria. When the short season began, it was off to Eugene.

Hogan had just one multi-hit game through his first twenty contests. His average was a dreadful .220. Something finally clicked and he began to hit. Soon, his average was above .250 on a regular basis. He wasn't setting the world ablaze as he had in the past, but was making strides.

An 0-for-19 stretch ensued and Hogan was benched, no longer the everyday player that many had come to expect. He played sparingly over the final weeks of the season and ended the year with a .236 batting average. He did homer in the final game, lending hope for his future.

"He played sparingly," Padres' Director of Player Development Tye Waller agreed. "We gave him at bats all the way through. At the end, Billy lost confidence in himself. When a guy loses confidence, he is not the same player.

"We tried to do some things differently to regain that confidence by working with him in early work and trying to get him to rest easy to see if he could carry it out there between the lines but it never happened."

Hogan struck out 86 times in 74 games this year, way up from his previous total of 57 in 67 games in 2003. He had eight walks in his first ten games with Eugene and managed just eight in the next 48 games.

Hogan lived and breathed baseball. He had mentioned that he does not do much outside of baseball and perhaps that alone was weighing him down.

There has to be a few moments in time that you get away from the game and get together with friends and the like.

Hogan didn't have much of that. He preferred the solitude of his room.

"This game is more mental than it is physical and once guys realize that they are better served," Waller said. "We need to regain that with Billy. That's what the winter will be like for Billy Hogan.

"Can he get that no matter who is on the mound, I will be able to put my bat on the ball and drive the ball, instead of making contact. He was starting to second guess himself and it showed with his play."

Denis Savage can be reached at

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