Draft Q & A: Seth Johnston

"I just wanted an opportunity to play professional baseball and thanks to the Padres they have given me that." That kind of attitude was a prime reason the Padres took a chance on Seth Johnston. MadFriars sat down with Johnston for a chat as his Univesity of Texas Longhorns head to the College World Series.

Seth Johnston: It is always exciting to hear your named called. The Padres were one of the last teams I actually thought were interested in me. It was a little surprise when I heard it was them...I like that part of the country. It is pretty nice out there. I played summer ball in Santa Barbara one summer and I loved it out there.

Before you get out to San Diego there are a lot of minor league affiliates to go through. Any thoughts on each stop along the way?

Seth Johnston: Looking at all the minor league towns it is going to be pretty fun. I just wanted an opportunity to play professional baseball and thanks to the Padres they have given me that.

Let's talk about your game and what you bring to the table. How has the progression been for you over the last year?

Seth Johnston: I came back for my senior year after having a little bit of an injury the second half of my junior year. I wanted to come back healthy. I played second base last year and played short this year and I feel like I made myself a much better baseball player. I hit for a pretty high average this year, showed some power and stole some bases, showing I could run pretty well.

Do you have a preference about whether you play second base or shortstop and have the Padres discussed there preference for you?

Seth Johnston: I talked to the scout for about five minutes and he was very general. He just said ‘good luck this weekend and try to get to the World Series and win that. Don't think about anything else.'

Where have you batted in the lineup and what is your ideal spot?

Seth Johnston: Last year I hit two-hole most of the time and last year I hit three-hole. I think two through five...

It depends on the lineup I am on the field with. Every team is different. I have been both in the past and I can be both now.

You mentioned some injuries hampered your junior season. What did that make you realize as a baseball player?

Seth Johnston: It made me realize that you have to pace yourself and you really have to take care of your body in the offseason. That is where you can build up your body. It is a huge thing which I have come to realize in the last year and it is something I will definitely work on in the offseason.

Is there something specific that you can do this offseason to maintain your strength and health?

Seth Johnston: It is a combination of eating right and lifting weights and running, getting your body in as good a shape as you can so when you begin the season you are already in shape and not trying to start to get in shape. As soon as you start that first day you are going to be sore every other day and for the rest of the year. It is about managing your time, managing your baseball and getting enough sleep.

Do you believe that you will also hit for more power at some point and what is the ceiling on that power?

Seth Johnston: I think I can definitely hit around 20 home runs. Also, as I get older, I am going to get a lot stronger and put some weight on. Once I do that, who knows what kind of hitter I can be.

You led the team in RBI's. Is there a difference for you and your approach at the plate – sort of buckling down – when men are in scoring position?

Seth Johnston: I have been lucky enough to have a lot of guys on base when I come up. There is (a difference when men are on base). The coaches really try to train us to ‘don't ever hit with runners in your head.' He showed us numbers where with the bases loaded peoples batting averages dropped tremendously. Basically, you can't really try and hit with runners on base you just have to try to pick up the ball as soon as you can and react to the ball.

Talk about your discipline at the plate and how that has progressed through the years?

Seth Johnston: It is something I have really improved upon from last year to this year. Last year during the whole season I think I ended up walking 15 times on the season and striking out like 40-something. That is something I really wanted to work on and it is something I really think I have gotten a lot better plate discipline this year than I had last year.

You seem to have logged a lot of games this year. Have you sat out or is that every game on the Texas schedule? If you have played every game, how do you feel as we turn the clock to mid-June?

Seth Johnston: I started in every game and played in every inning of every game. That is not something I complain about. I love playing everyday. I feel great. My body feels really healthy and energized. Once the regular season ends and you get into the postseason you get your second wind. I am also pretty glad the draft is over with. There is no pressure now.

What is the legacy for you at Texas and what is the goal moving forward?

Seth Johnston: We are trying to make it back to Omaha (which they did). If we go this year there will be me and two other players to go all four years.

The University of Texas is one of the all time winningest programs. The all-time winninest coach. Leaving the tradition that is University of Texas baseball.

MadFriars Top Stories