Padres Prospect Interview: Michael Johnson

The Lake Elsinore Storm didn't end up winning the Championship but Michael Johnson was one of the main reasons they got that far. Now he has a chance to go to the Arizona Fall League to continue his season and present the Padres with choices regarding his future in 2006.

At the end of the year, would you have rather been in Lake Elsinore trying to win a Championship or Mobile, a step up?

Michael Johnson: That is a tough question. Either way I would be perfectly happy. We had a good opportunity here. We have played well, for the most part, all season. We gave ourselves a good chance in the playoffs with a first round bye.

Mobile has got its high points as well. It is Double-A. The next level up, advancement. Either way is a perfectly happy. I am here (in Lake Elsinore) right now and am going to do all I can do to help this team pull out a league championship.

One thing that is a positive is going to the Arizona Fall League, generally reserved for players the Padres think highly of. Talk about that.

Michael Johnson: Going to the fall league is a great opportunity, especially for me. I have been setback from injuries all three years (in the system). I am still in Lake Elsinore and for the third year. The Fall League is going to give me an opportunity to see how I stack up, as far as my baseball career. These teams usually send their top prospects. I know it is going to be some good competition, seeing some good pitches day in and day out. I am looking forward to the challenge.

You were really hammering the ball late in the year, what was the key to the late success?

Michael Johnson: I wanted to come back strong off the injury and come back and have a good finish for a lot of reasons. The number one reason was to give us a push going into the playoffs. We, as a team, needed to play our best in these playoff series.

Everyone loves talking about the team but how much is personal and selfish?

Michael Johnson: Everybody wants to advance. That is no secret. Everyone wants to move up. We are all working hard everyday to play in the Big Leagues. That is the goal. Our coaching staff tells us from time to time that they are preparing us to play at the Major League level and not A-ball. It is what everyone is working for everyday. You want to go put up numbers and have good at bats and make plays in the field and minimize mistakes so you can hopefully get that chance.

Injuries aside, how do you assess your season:

Michael Johnson: There is always room for improvement. I am very big on that. Throughout my career, high school and college, even when you put up some good numbers, there is always room for improvement in this game. I feel like I have had a pretty good year other than the time I have missed. I have put together a lot of good at bats I feel like through the first part of the season and now towards the end. I feel like I have given myself a good chance to do what I needed to do.

But I have worked hard. I have worked hard everyday and I don't want to take away from that. I have worked hard defensively and worked hard in the cages. I have done a lot of hitting early and really just tried to keep everything in tune.

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