Padres Prospect Interview: William Venable

William Venable is a true triple threat, baseball, basketball and books. Venable is a graduate of Princeton University and a three year starter on a team that frequently can surprise much more powerful teams in the NCAA basketball tournament. In his senior year he averaged 10.5 pints per game, led Princeton in assists and steals and was named second team all Ivy League in basketball.

At Princeton, he also played a little baseball too. His father Max played 12 years in the major leagues and is a minor league coach with the Fort Wayne Wizards. William didn't really begin to focus on baseball until his junior year where he hit .344, and in his senior year he hit .385 with a .427 on base percentage. As with most of the Padres' 2005 draft picks, he understands the importance of a walk.

Venable, seventh round by the Padres in the 2005 draft, brings a wide set of opinions about his potential. In the Arizona League, he hit .322 with 12 RBIs in 15 games, showing good power with eight of his 19 hits going for extra bases. The Northwest League has been more of an adjustment for him, hitting only .213 overall, although he has hit better recently.

He hasn't played as much baseball as some of the college players from the SEC or Pac 10 schools, but he has "tools', is a good athlete and is a bright guy; the kind of person that you take a chance on to become a major league baseball player.

John Conniff: You came out of Princeton, an Ivy League school, what kind of adjustment is that compared to other players who have come out of bigger programs with the competition in the Northwest League?

William Venable: The competition is a lot better, but it's a lot better for everyone, especially for me being from the Ivy League. Between playing out of conference games, and playing summer ball I have seen some of these types of pitchers before. Coming out here, be ready to play everyday is a bigger adjustment from playing a maximum of four days a week in college.

John Conniff: Princeton had some fairly talented players outfielder BJ Szymanski and pitcher Thomas Pauley, both in the Reds system.

William Venable: Yeah, we have a great program over there, and we keep new kids coming in.

John Conniff: How were you able to balance being a basketball player, playing baseball and still keep up with your studies at Princeton, one of the toughest schools in the country?

William Venable: It was tough, but our coaches, especially the baseball coaches, had an understanding about getting your work done academically and getting your work in athletically.

John Conniff: Your dad is one of the coaches for the Fort Wayne Wizards, how much has your father helped you prepare for what minor league baseball life is like?

William Venable: He's great, I talk to him everyday. He's obviously teaching the same things that I am learning down here, so its been really helpful.

John Conniff: What is the biggest part of your game that you need to work on?

William Venable: I need to strengthen my arm and work on getting a good at bat at every at bat.

John Conniff: How do you strengthen your arm? We've heard a lot of guys talk about that?

William Venable: Just long toss and taking the time to do it.


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