Crosta powering way up Padres prospect charts

The winner of the San Diego Padres Instructional League home run derby, Nic Crosta, was impressive in Fort Wayne before moving up to Lake Elsinore where he became a work in progress for the future.

You picked it up over the last few weeks of the season after some struggles. Was there anything you changed along the way?

Nic Crosta: You are constantly working on things. I try to put the ball in play and had been hitting it pretty hard.

After crushing the ball early in the year in Fort Wayne and hitting well when you first came to Lake Elsinore, how do you get beyond that and get out of those dead periods where nothing is going your way?

Nic Crosta: I think for me – I was out of baseball for a year and when I came back I was swinging on my own out in Fort Wayne. When I got to Lake Elsinore they let me swing my way for a couple of weeks and I had some success but it is more, as I was informed, about me making adjustments that are going to allow me to hit at the big league level and ultimately that is where you are trying to go. It is great to hit .400 in Fort Wayne but I want to hit .300 in the big leagues. I have been making adjustments all season at the advice of upper management.

So, what kind of adjustments are you and were you making?

Nic Crosta: Shortening my swing – but more just hand path and things like that that will allow me to cover more of the plate and getting to pitches. Really my swing plane and staying on top of balls instead of lifting balls too much. I have a natural lift in my swing. I know I am not going to get to pitches up and in when people really start throwing the ball there consistently. Things that will help me in the long run and I trust the coaching staff here, Grady, and all the roving instructors. I have been working on it all season and will continue in the Instructional League.

How have you embraced the patiently aggressive, aggressively patient approach that is being preached throughout the organization?

Nic Crosta: I will swear by it. If you look at the success that we had in the minors with Fort Wayne getting to the playoffs, we made it this year and those are Grady's guys. We are having a lot of success on those levels. I agree with it and think the numbers don't lie. It has worked in Oakland. It has worked in Texas and it is working here already. It is good for everyone to see more pitches, be more selective, but at the same time if you do get that great first pitch fastball to hit, go ahead and crush it. That is what we are told to do. We are not up there taking by any stretch of the imagination.

When you look back on your season, do you consider it a success?

Nic Crosta: I think it is a tremendous success. I was just happy to be back in baseball. Grady gave me a great opportunity and God gave me something to work with and I have gone on from spring training. Made the Fort Wayne club and was able to have some success in the Midwest League and didn't have a terrible season here. I think I have a lot of improvement to do but am definitely thrilled. One to be back in baseball and two to have to the season I did. It was a pretty good season for me. You always want to do better.

You talked about being out of baseball. Was this year a grind on you because you maybe weren't used to playing in so many games?

Nic Crosta: Last year I went back to Santa Clara and was just a full-time student. I took care of myself and hit on my own in the cages. And I felt like I was in pretty good shape coming into spring training. There is definitely some adjustments I will make this off-season. One, just continue to work on my swing – I know what it is I need to work on. And physically I think I held up pretty well. It is a grind. I played a couple of college seasons and you play 55 games and I think I played 120 now. It is different but I love it. You are getting paid to play the game. You can't argue with that.

Right field – how has that been going as far as your development out there and what do you need to work on?

Nic Crosta: I definitely have some work to do, reading balls right at me more than anything is where I have trouble. The wind plays a part (at the Diamond) and comes off the wall. I think all and all I do ok out there. I am not a Gold Glover by any means and will continue to do work out there in Instructional League.

Hitting is going to get me to the big leagues so that is definitely my biggest asset. That doesn't mean to ignore defense but I think I played ok. I will keep working on that.

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