Padres Prospect Interview: Chad Huffman

After beginning the season in Lake Elsinore, skipping a level along the way, Chad Huffman was promoted to Double-A San Antonio recently. And general managar Kevin Towers recently hailed him as being part of the future in San Diego.

What was the off-season goal for you coming into this year after getting a taste of professional baseball last season?

Chad Huffman: Pretty much to get stronger. This year was the first time I had months to get ready and get stronger and in shape. That was my goal – to get stronger and be the best athlete I could be.

Do you have a different approach now that you are in Double-A after having success in Lake Elsinore?

Chad Huffman: It was pretty much the same thing – trying to stay up the middle. I want to swing at my pitch and not swing at bad pitches and take myself out of an at bat.

Is it tough to find a balance between being aggressive and waiting for your pitch to hit?

Chad Huffman: Like Grady (Fuson) always talks about – and our hitting coaches – being patiently aggressive. Just concentrate and focus on one pitch and if it is where you want to hit it and when you get it capitalize on it – if it is the first pitch or the last pitch.

Do you feel like you are still rounding out your game defensively in the outfield?

Chad Huffman: Still getting reads off the bat. You can't ever get enough reads off the bat. The ball is always tailing to the right or tailing to the left so the more reps I can get the better.

What are your expectations now that you have crossed into Double-A baseball?

Chad Huffman: Just go there and be the best I can be and day in and day out working hard to better myself.

Did you find you had a weakness in your swing since we noticed early in the year that you changed your stance around a little bit – seemingly to get on the inside pitch.

Chad Huffman: Baseball is one of those games, for me at least, it depends on what day it is. For one week I will be having getting to the inside pitch and I will be hitting the outside pitch real well. The next week I will struggle with the outside pitch and hit the inside pitch real well. For me, it depends on what week it is and what I am feeling like.

So what is the adjustment process like for you? Do you make adjustments on the fly or is it simpler than that?

Chad Huffman: I make adjustments or go back to the basics and get on a tee. When I am struggling with the outside pitch I get on a tee and work on hitting balls away and vice versa with the inside pitch.

And have you made adjustments since the beginning of the year?

Chad Huffman: Not major adjustments. When I was in Instructs they kind of stood me up a little more. I kind of took a balance, kept my old swing a little bit. I kept the things I learned in Instructs that I liked and stuff I didn't like I got rid of. It was a good balance.

How difficult is it to find that comfort level when you make changes, especially since your comfort is so important to hitting the ball well?

Chad Huffman: No question – hitting you have to be comfortable. You can't hit if you are uncomfortable. Whatever feels right you should probably go with and work on the stuff until it feels right in the cages.

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