Padres Prospect Interview: Chase Headley

San Antonio, TX-- There isn't much more to write about Missions' third baseman Chase Headley, 23, that hasn't already been written. Headley was the Texas League Player of the Year, leading the league in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage at .330/.437/.580.

He had a good year.

Headley had 63 extra base hits, 20 of which were home runs. He hit more home runs this year in San Antonio than he did previously in Eugene, Fort Wayne and Lake Elsinore combined.

In mid-June he was briefly called up to the Padres and although he didn't set the world on fire with a .176 batting average, he didn't look lost either. The Padres thought he played better than his numbers indicated and believe he will become a solid big league player.

With a quality third baseman ahead of him, Kevin Kouzmanoff, and one behind him in Lake Elsinore Storm third baseman David Freese, it's unclear how San Diego is going to sort this out.

But from the Padres' point of view, it's a nice problem to have.

First of all it must be great news to be named Texas League Player of the Year.

Chase Headley: It's exciting anytime you're Player of the Year in a league that you are in – it's great. What really makes it special is when you are in a league like the Texas League with some really good players. I've been in the big leagues already, but this is really big as well. I'm proud to represent the Padres and the Missions.

Speaking of the big leagues how did it go for you and what did you take back to San Antonio to help you get back?

Chase Headley: It's something that I've been waiting my entire life for and to get that opportunity was really special and at the same time it's not enough. I want to be back there as soon as possible, and I'm going to do everything possible to get back there. I learned a lot being up there, mainly the subtle things, how they go about their business, how to watch film, things that you really don't see in the minors. Probably the most important thing I learned was that I can play there. I feel I can go up there right now and compete. I might not light the world on fire, but I can play there.

The Padres said that one of the more impressive things you did when you were with the Padres was to see a lot of pitches and not change your approach. There must have been a big temptation to try to swing at the first thing you saw.

Chase Headley: I know what has made me successful and it's not coming out of my shoes on every pitch. The more pitches I see the better that I can adjust to the pitcher. So going up there I tried to have the same approach that I have here, that I took there. It's just something that I've always done.

One of the things that have been written about you before the season is that you are a nice player but you didn't really put up the big power numbers. I know in the past you spoke about how much a better weight-training program has helped, but were there other factors that helped you increase your power?

Chase Headley: Absolutely. One of the big things of course was getting stronger but it's also about learning what pitches you can and can't drive. If you're swinging at pitches that you can't drive it doesn't matter how strong you are, it's not going anywhere. This year I worked on being more selective on pitches that I can not only hit, but drive and do damage when we have guys that are in scoring position. On the negative side it's probably one of the reasons why I've also struck out more this season than ever before.

Looking at the strikeout stats, you haven't had that bad a season.

Chase Headley: No, I know but it's still more than I'm used to. Right now that is something that I was willing to trade for more power, but hopefully in the future I can do both.

Defensively, what have you improved upon this year at third base?

Chase Headley: Nothing really major, but I think I've improved my consistency there. Just the consistency day in and day out of making the routine plays. The flashy plays just kind of happen, you don't really practice them. To play in the big leagues, you have to be consistent.

Last question I have to ask you, you see Kevin Kouzmanoff playing well at third base has there been any talk of moving you or him to a different position?

Chase Headley: I haven't had any direct conversations about changing position and really don't have any control over it. I just think it's one of those things that are going to take its course. Don't get me wrong I would love to play in San Diego, but I really want to play in the big leagues too. I'm just going to keep on working as hard as I can and if it's with San Diego, it's with San Diego.


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