Matt Howe on Eugene hitting prospects

While Matt Howe has moved on from his gig as the hitting coach for the Eugene Emeralds, he was able to give us insight on many of the brightest stars in the San Diego Padres' system, including Matt Antonelli, Craig Cooper, Tom King and Luke Cannon to name a few.

Matt Antonelli had a successful year. He combined a high on base percentage with some speed. What did you see from him this year?

Matt Howe: Matt Antonelli has made some good strides since he came to us. We tweaked a couple of things in his swing and he showed the aptitude to make the adjustments. I am happy with his progression. He is driving the ball better and has always had good plate discipline. I think everybody is happy with his progress.

Craig Cooper came in from the start and simply hit. A college kid, what kind of adjustments was he making since he seemed to be pretty polished?

Matt Howe: He came in driving the ball well to the opposite field and we worked with him on pulling the ball a little more with authority and he did a good job with it. He hits the ball well to all fields. He has had a great, solid first half season.

The ball never seemed to fall right for Tom King on the season. When I saw him it seemed like he hit the ball hard but it was at fielders. Also, the strikeouts have to be a concern.

Matt Howe: Tommie King – he has had some tough luck this year. I feel like he has hit the ball much better than his numbers show. He has hit the ball hard all year but has had some tough luck hitting it right at guys, line drives, and it has been a rollercoaster. He has shown some power with 19 doubles, second in the league, so he can drive the ball in the gaps. He is a guy that can put the bat on the ball a lot. He has a pretty good idea of the strike zone. We have worked on his aggressiveness – he is a little over aggressive. He shows a lot of promise.

Luke Cannon didn't have a great season out there but has some power in his game. What can you share about his season and how was he able to make adjustments?

Matt Howe: Luke Cannon has a lot of sock in his bat. His weakness has been he chases out of the zone early and gets himself into a hole early in the count. He has shown the ability to drive the ball to left as well as right. He has been working on the adjustments and it has been kind of a tough go because he wasn't playing everyday. We got him in there as much as we could to get him working on those things.

How can you streamline that power he has while cutting down on his strikeouts?

Matt Howe: It is just a matter of getting at bats – game situation stuff where he can see live pitching and get a better idea of his strike zone. The more pitches he sees the better he is going to be with his discipline at the plate and get a good idea of what the pitchers are trying to do when they elevate the fastball and throw the breaking ball in the dirt so he can stay disciplined and get into better hitting counts and use his power once he gets into 2-0, 3-1 counts where he can do some damage.

Minor league notebook:

As first reported on, Portland Beavers manager Craig Colbert will be hired by San Diego Padres manager Bud Black, leaving a vacancy in Portland. Lake Elsinore Storm manager Rick Renteria is the odds on favorite to replace Colbert with the Beavers. It is unclear who will take over managerial duties in Lake Elsinore.

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