Padres Prospect Interview: Brad Chalk

A back injury may have caused some teams to avoid Brad Chalk but the San Diego Padres would not be swayed. While he would need some time to heal, the Friars saw a career .360 hitter during his Clemson career.

Could you please talk about being drafted by the Padres? Did they show interest in you before the draft, and how are you feeling now to have already signed?

Brad Chalk: Obviously, I was excited when they drafted me. Now that I have already signed, it's a relief, to go ahead and take care of my back, and get out there and play as soon as possible.

While at Clemson, you received the Tiger Baseball Award, given to you for your outstanding leadership on the team. What did you for the team, to earn you this distinction?

Brad Chalk: Going out there, playing one-hundred percent everyday, you know. It was voted on by my teammates, so its just being a leader by example.

You missed 19 games due to a back injury your senior season. Did the Padres, or other teams, express any concerns regarding your injury before the draft?

Brad Chalk: Oh yeah, no doubt, no doubt. It rubbed a lot of teams off, and the Padres, they knew about it ahead of time. And they knew that once I signed, I would have to take a few weeks to rehab the injury because its one of those injuries that once it heals, you can play with it. You have to really take proper care of it.

And how's rehab been for you so far?

Brad Chalk: It's gone great. Maxy's the rehab coordinator and Herb have done a great job in the training room of showing me the right things to go. And scheduling me the right thing to do everyday, whether it be hitting or throwing, or a little bit of both.

Your coach at Clemson, Jack Leggett referred to you as "the premier centerfielder in the country". To this he credits your "outstanding arm, great feet, and great abilities in the outfield to track the ball down". What does this mean for you, to know that he has so much confidence in you as a player?

Brad Chalk: It means a lot honestly, he's seen a lot of great outfielders in his time. And to be up there with some of the best he has ever seen is an honor. But, it means nothing unless I got out there and show that I can do it.

From what your coach said about you, we know a little bit about you as a hitter and a fielder. But could you give us your perspective on your game, at the plate and in the field?

Brad Chalk: Yeah, I would call myself a scrappy player all around. You wouldn't look at me and say that this guy has unbelievable standout tools. But I come to play everyday, and try to get good and quality at bats. I never like to waste an at bat. And defensively, I'm pretty sound, where I like to look ahead and know the situation really well.

With a career batting average of .356 at Clemson, you really dominated the leadoff role in your time there. What did you do to prepare yourself as a leadoff hitter?

Brad Chalk: I usually just took the right approach everyday. And work on seeing what type of pitcher it was, you know. If it was a strike thrower, of a person with a high ratio. I just made a game plan and stuck with it with that pitcher. The key was just batting with two strikes in the leadoff role. And then as the game went on I would have to adjust to hitting different spots in the order when I came up that inning.

When dissecting your game, do you feel there is an area you would call a weakness or something in your game that needs a little improvement?

Brad Chalk: Oh definitely, trying to be more aggressive in hitters counts, and drive the ball. And actually Lefever has been out here in Arizona, and he has been working on getting a load in my stance. That's one thing we have been working on is trying to get a rhythm in my swing. It's helped a lot so far.

Who do you compare to at the major league level so we can give fans an idea of what your game resembles.

Brad Chalk: Yeah, I guess I feel I'm a Scott Podsednik type, a guy that can get on base and run a little bit. He's just a solid, solid player.

What is your best baseball moment? What sticks out for you?

Brad Chalk: Well, getting drafted was obviously one of the best feeling because you are getting a chance to play for one of the best teams in the major leagues, and getting an opportunity to make it the major leagues, is obviously one of them. And then playing for Team USA for a couple years, with some of the best players, like guys who are in the big leagues now like Homer Bailey, Billy Butler, and guys like that. I actually played with Matt Bush for a couple of those years.

Who was your favorite team and favorite player growing up?

Brad Chalk: Oh yeah, well I enjoyed watching Lenny Dykstra growing up when he was with the Phillies in the early 1990s. Of course I loved watching Griffey when he was with the Mariners. I didn't really have a favorite team, and I was just a fan of the game growing up. I lived near Atlanta growing up, and so watching the 1995 World Series was pretty exciting.

Do you have any idea of the Padres farm system? Where do you think you fit in their system?

Brad Chalk: No, right now I'm just working on getting back to full strength. I'll probably be in Arizona for a while until I get these kinks out and my timing down. After that, I guess we'll take if from there.

Now that you are set to start your professional career in baseball, what do you look forward to the most?

Brad Chalk: Just getting out there and playing to be honest with you. It's been a while since I've played and got to grind it out. I didn't really grind, and I'm looking forward to that feeling where you come home and don't want to get out of bed because you are so tired.

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