Padres Prospect Interview: Sean Kazmar

There is a prototypical body type that is associated with the power hitter, one that can not only hit it out of the park but also produce drives to the wall for doubles. Second basemen and shortstops have long been a position of speed and line drives. That is changing and Sean Kazmar is defying the odds.

Alfonso Soriano is an example. Ditto Jose Reyes. They both seem undersized but are able to generate gap power and in Soriano's case can hit the ball over the wall.

So when Sean Kazmar comes to the plate, excuse the naysayers who don't believe he can hit it over the infield. But Kazmar has more than enough pop to test the limits of the infield fly rule.

Size doesn't equate to power these days.

"It's pretty much all about quick hands and I think I've proven that I can hit the fastball," said Kazmar.

It is the combination of quick hands, driving through the ball and making solid contact. Sounds easy, right?

"I'm still working on seeing more pitches and working the count," added Kazmar. "I am a smaller guy, so I can't just go up there and hack like I am right now. Me and the hitting coach worked almost every other day on hitting, and we took batting practice everyday. I'm learning right now."

Kazmar ended the year with 25 extra base hits in his first professional season, including six homers.

The shortstop turned second baseman late in the year has been learning pretty well. He hit well enough in Eugene to get promoted to Fort Wayne late in the year.

As Kazmar works on taking more pitches, he also doesn't want to let the good pitches by. It is a fine line between being too cautious with the bat resting on his shoulders and taking cuts.

"Yeah, it's kind of tough because our hitting coach wants us to jump on the first fastball we see, which I've always done. Once I see a fastball, I swing at it. In college I'd swing at a lot of bad pitches, but I'd get base hits. I guess you could say I was a fastball hitter. And this year—you can't really be a fastball hitter in this league. I'd definitely say it's a pitcher's league. Pitchers: they dominate. It's tough to hit in the minors."

His hitting passed the initial test but his on base percentage remained low without the benefit of many walks. Kazmar drew just ten walks in over 300 plate appearances. No matter how well he has been able to hit and what kind of power he can generate, discipline at the plate is necessary to take his game to the next level.

And about his diminutive stature, he is attempting to put on 10-15 pounds this offseason.


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