Crespo on AZL Padres hitters

Manny Crespo saw a lot of the young talent in the San Diego Padres system as the hitting coach for the Arizona Rookie League Padres. Names like Yefri Carvajal, Brad Chalk, Drew Cumberland, Edgar Garzon, and Robert Perry saw time with Crespo – as did a disappointment in Felix Carrasco.

Yefri Carvajal had a very good year for you. How has he grown from last year to this year?

Manny Crespo: Carvajal is a great talent. As far as his patience – you can't take away that he is a free-swinger. That is what we want. We want him to get good pitches and hit them. We don't want him to sit up there and just being taking. We don't want to take his aggressive side away but at the same time he learned that he can hit with two strikes. He doesn't have to hit the first pitch he sees.

He didn't get a shot to play last year because he was hurt. This year, with the constant talking about the approach he understood a little bit more. The biggest thing with Carvajal is just staying on him and reemphasize that he is good enough and has the ability to go out there and be patient and get a pitch he can hit.

He learned a lot this year but he still has a long way to go.

You had Brad Chalk for a small sample of games. What were your impressions of him?

Manny Crespo: He is a gamer. He goes out there to play. He is a good presence because he is a light guy – he is not intense, he is light-hearted and keeps the game fun.

He is going to put the ball in play and the boy can run. If he keeps the ball down he is definitely going to score some runs.

He is going to be a pretty good centerfielder. He covers some ground out there. He has the potential.

He has more pop than people think he does. He has more pop than he thinks he does. Once he starts getting the feel of the wooden bat he is going to start to pull some balls instead of just spraying it the other way. He will turn on stuff. He has a quick bat. He likes putting the ball in play and running.

As he gets stronger, things will change for him.

Drew Cumberland seemed to be as advertised. What made this young man have so much success so early in his career?

Manny Crespo: Determination. He is a real competitor. He wants to go out there every at bat and do well. He is not happy going 2-for-4. He wants to get a hit every at bat.

He is another guy that will have to learn the strike zone and understand it is not hitting a pitch that he can hit but being patient enough to get a better pitch to hit. He has the bat speed and has to stay behind the ball. He has a tendency to pull the ball – high school stuff. You are not fast enough to do that to everybody. Hit the ball the other way.

He is aggressive and he pays attention. He really tries to learn and puts it into play. That is a good thing. When he hears something he goes out there and uses it. He has some good talent.

Edgar Garzon improved his plate discipline a lot this year and had a great year. I can't imagine a more improved player.

Manny Crespo: That is for sure. By far the most improved player as far as the organization is concerned. I really didn't get to see him play last year.

When these guys got an idea of the hitting plan and understood what it took to be consistent, especially for these young guys, Edgar was able to grasp that this year and really understood that.

As you get deeper in talent and see more pitches, you are able to see the same pitch again instead of trying to hit anything that you see. It really worked out for me, and he was definitely our most improved hitter down here. It showed. He battled every at bat. That is what you want in your hitters. You don't want them to give it away.

Robert Perry came in with guns blazing. What impressed you about him in the short time he was there?

Manny Crespo: One thing I told all the guys is, ‘We as an organization have a hitting philosophy and hitting plan, but I am not trying to change anybody into robots.' When Robert got there I told him, ‘I am going to check you out and see how you are doing and if you are doing well you won't hear too much from me. I am not going to try and fix anything if it aint broke.'

That is what it was. With the aluminum (bat) you have better contact more often and that is something he learned.

Down here, there was no competition for him. He would have tore up this league had they left him down here.

The pop – he might be a little guy but if you give him a pitch he can sit on it. He can get the bat head out there. They played him like a little slap hitter and he put some body into it.

He has a good short stroke, a good approach to the game, and that is why he wasn't with us long.

Felix Carrasco was a little more patient this year but seemed to lose some of his power ability. What happened?

Manny Crespo: Felix last year was switch-hitting but they mainly wanted him to hit left-handed. When you do both sides it can take a toll, especially when you are facing left-handers for the first time.

Overall, seeing different pitches from the other side of the plate and the approach might have changed. He definitely had a lot of people trying to work with him, especially since he had to deal with facing pitchers from that side of the plate. Trying to give him a better approach.

I think with the variations of all the coaching might have hindered him and made his confidence sink. He did so well last year and this year did not do so well.

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