Padres Prospect Interview: Mike Sansoe

The San Diego Padres are stressing plate discipline to their minor league prospects. In year's past it did not seem to be as crucial but the new regimen have made it clear – and prospects are taking it to heart. Walks are up within the ranks and Mike Sansoe is among the players to take his approach at the plate with pitch count in mind.

Explain your approach at the plate:

Mike Sansoe: Seeing the pitches – trying to walk and strike out less is a big thing. Hitting the ball where it is pitched.

Did you see a lot of fastballs this year and was that the pitch you continually looked for?

Mike Sansoe: A lot of the hitting rovers and coaches stress hitting the fastball because that is what your career will be based off of. If you don't hit the fastball you are not going anywhere. They try and preach that a lot and make sure you don't miss that. I find when I am struggling I miss that pitch and when I am doing well is when I am hitting that pitch. I think that has been a lot of the success, just hit the fastball because when you do you have success and when you don't you find yourself swinging at their pitches instead of yours.

You have a discrepancy in batting average at home and on the road. Are you playing favorites?

Mike Sansoe: I do like our place and some parks are deeper or the wind blows in or the ball doesn't travel. Little things like that and you can see the ball real well at home and get used to your park. It is kind of a comfort zone. When you go away you are getting used to a park and maybe where the ball is coming from. I definitely loved playing at home and it was a little more supportive there. You always feel good at home.

Is there a comfort zone knowing where you will hit in the lineup? You did move around some this year.

Mike Sansoe: I don't know about spot in the lineup but defensive positioning. I know I feel more comfortable in centerfield and I seem to have my better games there. And then corner outfield is a little new and something to get adjusted to as all of us have our known position and you come here and everyone is as good, if not better, than you so things get mixed up and you play positions you hadn't played in four or five years.

I don't know about lineup – pretty much first guy up you try and get on base and the middle guys are driving guys in. As long as you understand yourself as a hitter and realize what kind of player you need to be than it is fine. You don't really look at the lineup spot because you fill your role in the lineup.

Talk about the complexity of playing three different outfield spots and then having to worry about your hitting:

Mike Sansoe: That is one of the hard things about DH'ing. You hit and sit on the bench and all you can think about was your last at bat. It can hurt your night or make it. When you are playing the field you can leave your offense, whether you did good or bad, in there. And if you are playing defense and you make a good play and save a run you can focus on that. It helps to keep offense in the dugout and once you step on the lines you play defense.

You mentioned being the designated hitter. You are awful at the plate in those rare games you were DH:

Mike Sansoe: I was talking to our hitting guy the other day about that. I struggle with that.

What kind of player do you see yourself as, offensively and defensively.

Mike Sansoe: Defensively I love playing centerfield. I feel like that is what I want to play. I feel respected as a good defensive player. Offensively, a guy who likes to get on base, steal bases, hit singles and doubles and maybe as I get more mature, luckily hit a couple out. My career is going to be based on singles and doubles and on base percentage is huge in our organization so I strive for that. Try to be a contact guy and not strikeout as much as I did this year.

Is there a Major Leaguer you compare yourself to in terms of style of play?

Mike Sansoe: A lot of the guys in the Majors – even the speed guys – hit home runs. I am lacking in that department. Any leadoff, good defensive outfielder. I don't compare myself but the guys I like to watch play are Torii Hunter and Mike Cameron that people know they can play good defense.

There was a stretch earlier in the year when you were hit by three pitches in a two game span. And it came during your impressive on-base streak.

Mike Sansoe: We were joking about it. That was one of the games where in the middle of my ten game hitting streak and I was hitting the ball really well. I was asking our hitting coach if they were throwing at me on purpose and he said, ‘they were just trying to get you uncomfortable in the box and try and stir you up a little bit. It happened that they missed inside instead of just brushing you back.'

I guess when you are doing well, no one wants to throw to you. When you are doing bad, everyone wants to pitch to you. It was just a thing that you are doing well and they didn't want to throw you anything you can handle so they threw inside to make sure you are alive in the box.

What are some of your favorite things about the game of baseball?

Mike Sansoe: It is a pretty frustrating game. Sometimes I hate it and want to quit. I like the individual competitiveness of you versus the pitcher. It is kind of one on one for the moment. It is a team game but an individual game. You have to be there for the team and get a guy over and yet again you have to take care of yourself before that stuff happens.

It is a lot of work with the repetition on hitting. It is one of the hardest things they say you can do in any sport is hit a baseball. Playing the game every night is fun and just the game in general.


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