Padres Prospect Interview: Drew Macias

San Antonio, TX: Throughout his years in the Padres' organization, there has been little doubt that Drew Macias, 24, is one of the best, if not the best, defensive outfielder in the Padres' system. Macias' long quick strides have been able to take away many doubles and triples. He is a pitcher's best friend - and most of the staff on whatever team he is playing for will be sure to let you know.

His bat, well that has always been a question.

It's not that he hasn't hit, it's just never been that well. A career .268/.339/.375 hitter in four years with the Padres, he hasn't hit with the power or gotten on base enough to convince people that he has an offensive game for the major leagues.

The past two years, Macias has striven to improve his offense, first by working on his body to add nearly 20 pounds to his 6-foot-3 frame to get his weight around the 190-pound range. Second, he has improved his strike zone judgment, becoming more selective at the plate, which has resulted in getting on base more, where he will run. There has also been a spike in his power numbers, which in April resulted in a line of .265/. 370/. 506.

Macias has established himself as a dangerous hitter usable all over the batting order of the Missions lineup and is also a threat on the base paths, stealing a team leading four bases, but also being caught three times.

What is the biggest difference between how you started this year in San Antonio compared to last year in Mobile?

Drew Macias: I don't think there is a big difference right now. I'm not hitting as well as I would like.

You got off to a very good start in Mobile last year.

Drew Macias: True, but I've hit the ball hard this year and I feel better…and if I have "o-fer" games, I'm much more relaxed and have more confidence in my abilities. I just keep saying this is baseball and things will come around.

It's good to get the bad stuff out of the way now and tear it up the rest of the year [laughs].

We've always talked about your defense, but as far as offense goes we were never sure if you were trying to be more of a top of the order hitter, who runs and draws walks, or working on hitting more in the lower part with power. It seems this year you have been running a little more and drawing more walks, but also your power numbers are up. So which is it?

Drew Macias: Yeah, I mean that is a huge part of the game, getting on and having guys drive me in. I have decent speed, I'm not the fastest guy, but if I get good jumps I'll be able to steal a few bags here and there, but I've also been trying to hit the ball hard.

I'm always trying to bring and add things to my game. It really doesn't matter to me where I hit in the order just as long as I improve every day. I'm not a big "I" guy.

Obviously your on-base percentage is a little low, not really where you would want it. How have you been working to increase it?

Drew Macias: The other night I had three walks, so I was happy with that. I'm not one of those who swings and misses a lot. If I swing the bat I think I'm coordinated enough to put the ball in play. It may not be the best thing, but good things can happen when you make contact. I'm going up there trying to hit.

Is it in a way a negative, you have the ability to put the bat on a balls that are coming at you, but if you didn't do you think you might be more selective?

Drew Macias: Oh yeah, walking is great it's a plus, but I like to swing the bat, especially early in the count. The walks will come.

How does the pitching in the Texas League compare to that in the Southern League?

Drew Macias: This year I'm seeing a lot more off-speed pitches in fastball counts. While in the Southern League it was almost predictable that you were going to see a fastball 2-0, 2-1. Here you see much more changes and breaking pitches.

Last question, after having a year's experience in Double-A, do you think it's true the biggest jump in the minors is from High-A to Double-A?

Drew Macias: It's tougher because the pitchers are better, they have more confidence in their secondary pitches. But you know every year of baseball, just seems like another little step and the players are a little better. So to me it's not a huge difference.

To me I'm still playing high school baseball, the pitchers are throwing and I'm trying to hit it.

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