Padres prospect interview: Nick Hundley

We go to Fort Wayne and interview the Grit Man and Matt Thayer, and they get promoted to Lake Elsinore. We got to Eugene, and a few days after we leave, Nick Hundley is promoted to Fort Wayne.

Is it any wonder that we tend to be slightly popular with the players?

Nick Hundley, 21, was the Padres fourth overall pick, selected in the second round out of the University of Arizona. Going into the draft Nick was ranked as one of the top five catchers in the draft, a combination of a solid defensive catcher who can hit with power.

Despite a relatively low .250 batting average, Nick was one of the leaders in the Northwest League for OBP at .391 and had a .453 slugging percentage.

John Conniff: What is the biggest difference from college baseball to playing in the Northwest League?

Nick Hundley: I think the biggest difference was catching every single day is totally different than catching three maybe four times a week. You have four or five at bats every night, so there is no time to consistently struggle. You have to adjust as fast as you can on the fly.

John Conniff: Did you play much with wooden bats in summer leagues?

Nick Hundley: I played in the Northwest League and the Cape Cod League my two summers in college, but they were nothing like this. You get some good wood bat experience, but they were nothing like this.

John Conniff: How would you compare college baseball to the minor leagues?

Nick Hundley: College ball is more emotion, you can just beat people up, bat around and score as many runs as you can. Here with the wood bats and the way they pitch, it is a lot more individual. You have to go out and do your job. If you are not getting it done you're not going to get the leniency because someone is paying your bills.

John Conniff: Looking at your stats you come across as a real "Moneyball" player, high on base percentage and a good slugging percentage. Do you purposefully try to look for a pitch to drive rather than just make contact?

Nick Hundley: Yeah, coach puts me in the middle of the order, it's my job to drive in runs. I try to drive the ball into the gaps. For me personally I just look for a pitch up in the zone that I can do something with and go from there.

John Conniff: We talked to Joe Ferguson the catching coordinator for the Padres in Fort Wayne. What has he really worked with you on?

Nick Hundley: He's worked with me on my stance, if I widen out I can get to some more balls and lengthen the area that I can cover. As I go up and catch guys who have more movement on their ball its going to be real important for me to catch every single ball.

John Conniff: Last question, as an Arizona State graduate I have to ask you.

Nick Hundley: (laughing) Uh oh.

John Conniff: Can you name the only team in the PAC 10 that has never been to a Rose Bowl?

Nick Hundley: Arizona.

John Conniff: There you go.

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