Padres Prospect Interview: Nic Crosta

Earlier this month, the Padres signed former Santa Clara University outfielder Nic Crosta to a minor league contract. Crosta was drafted by the Texas Rangers out of high school, and then again after his junior year by the Oakland Athletics (each pick was by current Padre vice president of scouting and development Grady Fuson), but didn't sign either time.

After a stellar junior season in which he hit .341 with a team-leading 11 homers and 46 RBI to earn all-conference honors, Crosta left the Broncos half way through his senior season and went undrafted. After he signed with the Padres, we caught up with him by phone to discuss what fans can expect in 2006.

How did you sign with the Padres?

Nic Crosta: Well, I called Grady and told him I was hoping to play. I talked to him for about half an hour and he said he was glad I called him, and he sent me a contract sight unseen. He said he'd wanted to get me for the last couple years, and now he finally got me.

Had you been playing anywhere since you left Santa Clara?

Nic Crosta: I haven't been. I was just taking care of myself.

Do you feel like you're in playing shape?

Nic Crosta: Oh yeah. I'm in the best shape of my life right now.

Did you talk to other teams before signing with the Padres?

Nic Crosta: I got out of baseball my senior year. But I wanted to get back in the game, so I started selling myself and making phone calls. I definitely talked to a couple of other teams that were interested and I had tryouts lined up all over the place, but this just worked out much better.

Describe your game for our readers.

Nic Crosta: I'm a corner outfield, maybe a little first and third. I'm definitely a power hitter I'd have to say. I'm trying to work on taking the ball the other way, but stay between the gaps. I'm not afraid to turn on a ball on the inner half. Right now, I'm just working on that outside pitch.

Do you have any sense of where you fit in with the organization right now?

Nic Crosta: I don't know where they're going to send me. I think the contract I signed assigned me to the Fort Wayne Wizards, but that's kinda… it's informal. Hopefully, I'll go out and have a good spring training and maybe end up in Elsinore. Everything is up on the air, ‘til we see how spring training goes.

How do you feel about getting invited to join "Buc's Bombers" at the pre-spring training hitters' camp?

Nic Crosta: I'm not really sure what it entails. It sounds like some work on some specific areas of the game, and a limited number of people are invited. I'm honored and thankful that Grady invited me to that. He also invited me to work out down at PETCO, so I've been there Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays working out with some of the big league guys around and I guess some of the minors players might show up. I don't know exactly how that works or who all is invited to that, but I took that opportunity once they extended it.

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