Kyle Blanks and Chase Headley talk power

Some prospects get the dreaded "hit for more power" label on them, having to answer questions about their power potential and why it hasn't arrived yet. First baseman Kyle Blanks and third baseman Chase Headley fall into this category and each was happy to answer in turn.

Blanks batted .292 over 86 games last season for the Fort Wayne Wizards before an infection in his leg cut short his season. He collected 20 doubles, 10 homers and 52 RBIs and is looking to find his swing early this spring to continue his assault in the California League, his likely landing spot.

How important is this early hitter camp for you to develop the timing going into the season?

Kyle Blanks: I think it's huge just because you get to come out before everybody else. Get that many more reps. That's what it's all about, just getting more reps and you get to see more.

At your height, is it tough to keep the mechanics of your swing together and consistent?

Kyle Blanks: I don't think so. It takes just as much work as everybody else. Just perfect what you know and what works for you.

You have a pretty level swing for someone your size – has there been a desire to add more lift to generate more home runs and is hitting more long balls something on the agenda for this year?

Kyle Blanks: Always – power numbers obviously are what I'm here for. As it comes I think it will develop. I don't really want to change too much, start making a bad habit here or there. Just, as it comes, I think it will develop.

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If there was one concern with Chase Headley it would revolve around power and his ability to hit for it as a third baseman. He took steps this off-season, putting on weight in an effort to add some pop to his bat but he does not want to sacrifice average after hitting .291 over 129 games in the California League. He does, however, hope to add to his 12 homers and 33 doubles from a year ago in the Texas League with San Antonio.

One of the things you mentioned you wanted to do was add some weight this off-season. Did you accomplish the goal?

Chase Headley: Yeah, absolutely. I gained about 15 pounds.

How do you keep it on during the season?

Chase Headley: Just eating right, trying to eat a lot and getting in the weight room a little bit more that I had. Just being a little bit smarter with some of the extra work that I did last year in the middle of summer. I lost some weight there. Also, I'm just better put-together. I did a lot of work in the off-season to try to put that weight on. Hopefully it'll stay a little bit better this year.

Coming to this early hitting camp, is the goal to find your swing with the added weight?

Chase Headley: Yeah, it's just to come out here and get some swings. Get a little bit of a head start coming down here in the spring so you're not really building it all through the spring. Hopefully, you get it going a little bit earlier and have some success down here and feel good going into camp rather than getting out of here and trying to find it early in the season. It's just nice to come down here and be able to work out in a loose environment. Kind of have a good time but still get back in the swing of things.

Power and its link to you - does that put more pressure on you to hit some homers as you head to Double-A this year?

Chase Headley: I think that's something that I definitely would like to, in the end, accomplish. It's not something that I go into the year saying ‘You know, I gotta hit home runs.' Because when you do that then you don't hit a lot of home runs. Hopefully the work I put in, the extra weight, the work I put on my swing will lead to more home runs. But it's not something that you can really go out there looking to try to do or you're going to have a bad season.

You had some struggles as a right-handed hitter last year but swung the bat extremely well as a left-handed hitter. Does it ever come to a point where you let one side go and become a full-time lefty or righty?

Chase Headley: You know, if that comes down the road, it comes down the road. Right now, I spent a lot of time this off-season trying to get it back to where I want it. Because in the past I've been a pretty good right-handed hitter compared to left-handed hitters. I know it's in there, just couldn't find it last year. So hopefully I got it somewhere close to where the left-handed swing was. If it comes down the road where they ask me to stop, that would be something. But I'm not going to give it up until they make me.

Some people have called you the heir to the third base throne here because there aren't many third-base prospects. But now with the acquisition of Kevin Kouzmanoff, does that affect your outlook at all?

Chase Headley: Absolutely not. Kevin's a great player and I wish him all the best. I want to get to the big leagues. If I make it here that's great. If I make it somewhere else that's great, too. I met Kevin. I spoke with him. He's a great guy. I wish him all the best. I'm still a long way away from the big leagues. I've got to take care of myself and get myself into the position where I'm ready to go. When I'm ready to go to the big leagues and then there's somebody in front of me, then you start to think about what you've got to do. But I'm still a ways away and I'm not really even thinking about that. I'm just trying to get to the point where I am going to be ready for the big leagues.


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