Padres roving catching instructor Joe Ferguson

One of the Padres deepest and strongest positions within the organization is the catching position. Nick Trzesniak at Portland, George Kottaras at Mobile, Colt Morton at Lake Elsinore, Nick Hundley and Matt Lauderdale at Fort Wayne, and Billy Killian at Peoria give the Padres as many quality backstops as any organization in baseball.

Joe Ferguson, a veteran with 27 years of professional baseball, is the Padres' roving catching instructor. He is the man who is responsible for making sure everyone is on the proverbial "same page".

John Conniff: Can you briefly describe what you do for the Padres?

Joe Ferguson: Basically, I instruct the catchers in all aspects of that position, which includes what they do physically behind the plate and in the relationship with their pitchers and how they want to go about utilizing their stuff.

John Conniff: How often do you visit the different affiliates?

Joe Ferguson: It varies, sometimes it's on a need, sometimes it's on the schedule. Generally speaking, I usually get the clubs, especially the A clubs around five times a year.

John Conniff: Are you in contact with the managers on a daily basis?

Joe Ferguson: No, there is no real need for that, but that doesn't mean we won't contact each other if there is a problem that needs to be addressed. I'm getting voice mails everyday, all the things that are being done. I know what the catchers are doing everyday, and as I said if there is a problem, I'll get a voice mail from the managers or from Tye Waller.

John Conniff: One of the biggest prospects the Padres have is obviously George Kottaras. A lot of people have written that his defensive ability has improved a lot. How has it improved and what does he still need to work on?

Joe Ferguson: Well there is always progress to be made, but he has made progress defensively and is a much better defensive catcher this year. There was a lot of emphasis on that, and he has made that progress, which is one of the reasons that he is in Double-A now. We saw that and are trying to move players all the time in the organization once we feel that they are ready.

We have been trying to do this for a month, and for one reason or another we weren't able to do it. Throughout the whole organization, the catching has made progress.

John Conniff: But you kept Nick Hundley in Eugene for a while and Billy Killian in Peoria right now correct?

Joe Ferguson: And that is exactly where they belonged. Hundley came (to Fort Wayne), but that decision is not up to me.

John Conniff: How about Nick Trzesniak who was recently promoted to Portland, he's been in the Padres organization for about six years, what are his chances to develop into a big league player?

Joe Ferguson: He's got a chance to be an excellent catcher defensively in the big leagues. Luke Carlin has also played well when given an opportunity in Mobile.

Offensively, Nick has made progress. I thought last year he did an outstanding job defensively. He has made progress on both sides both offensively and defensively.

John Conniff: Trzesniak's average has gone down every month this year since the start of the season until he reached Portland?

Joe Ferguson: Yes, but he has been hurt. We think when he's healthy the first month of the season is more indicative of what he can do.

Have a question about a prospect in the San Diego Padres' system. Send John an email at Some questions will be forwarded and answered on air during weekly segment on the flagship station for San Diego Padres' baseball, The Mighty 1090. The show airs each Friday at 10:35 AM PST with Brian Wilson and Ernie Martinez.

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