Padres Prospect Interview: Clint Naylor

Strength – that was Clint Naylor's motto going into the off-season. He needed more of it to improve at hitting and throwing runners out. He turned 19 on August 3 and still has a ways to go but the signs have been encouraging.

What was the off-season like? One of the big knocks against you was you were a little bit light and needed to get stronger. So, what did you do?

Clint Naylor: I went home and went into the gym everyday. I got bigger and stronger. I put on 20 pounds. I did what I could in the gym – and ate everyday. My parents were not too happy about the food bill.

How does it feel today with a few games under your belt?

Clint Naylor: It feels a lot stronger. I can get the bat through the zone a lot quicker, which generates more bat speed. Those singles that you hit turn into doubles and the ones you line out hit into the gaps.

It is amazing what 20 pounds can do. You can see the difference in your own swing.

The other thing is you always had the plate discipline. Do you get a little more aggressive just because you feel good?

Clint Naylor: I think so. Last year I had pretty good walk ratio but I think I missed a lot of pitches that I should have hit hard. Hopefully this year that is totally different. I get my pitch and bam.

I am much more confident in the box. I will get my pitch and go after it.

At the same time, you can't sacrifice your defense.

Clint Naylor: Not at all. Catching is number one for me. That is my main priority. Bigger and stronger just helps with the stick. If I keep my defense going well and pick up the hitting…

Did you also see a difference in your arm and throwing out runners?

Clint Naylor: I found it got stronger as well and a little more consistent. You build up the arm strength playing that first season as well and the second year we can go right after it, which is helpful.

Last year you got a chance to work with a lot of the Latin kids. How difficult was it for you as a first year catcher to get your point across?

Clint Naylor: It was a little bit difficult to start the year because not many of them spoke English. You were a little tentative because you were not sure what to say. Once we formed teams we were all ok. They are such good guys and we all want to do well.

What do you look for the rest of the season in Arizona?

Clint Naylor: I just want to have a good year. My goal is to get out of here next year, if not the end of this year. I want a good defensive year and hopefully the stick will come around.

How do you keep the weight on in the sweltering heat of the desert?

Clint Naylor: That is going to be tough. Last year was a real struggle being down in the heat. I have been through it once so hopefully I will have the advantage of knowing how to keep the weight. I hope to be able to.

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