Padres Draft Interview: James Darnell

James Darnell was an RBI machine at South Carolina and he parlayed that success into being selected in the second-round of the MLB Draft by the San Diego Padres. His goal – reach the big leagues as quickly as possible with World Series rings dancing in his head.

A second team All-SEC selection, Darnell hit .306 on the year with 19 HR and 81 RBI. His RBI total is the fourth highest in a single-season by a Gamecock player. He started all 63 games this year at third base for the Gamecocks.

Darnell also led the conference in RBI in SEC games with 40 RBI in 30 conference contests. He twice tied the USC single-game record for home runs with three in a 13-7 win vs. Kentucky on March 29 and in a 13-1 win at the College of Charleston on March 18.

Talk to us about being selected by the San Diego Padres and the feeling you had after being taken.

James Darnell: I am really excited to be drafted by the Padres. I followed them for a long time and have a lot of respect for San Diego and the Padres. This is a real honor for me to be drafted by them.

Did you get a chance to talk to Wynn Pelzer already for some inside information?

James Darnell: I haven't. I tried to get in touch with him but have not just yet. That is one of the things I thought about because he already is playing for them.

Talk a little bit about your game and the strength of your game and what, if anything, are the weaknesses.

James Darnell: I am a five-tool player and I bring a lot to the table. I think I have a lot of power and am a good third baseman and I think the skill from playing in the SEC is something that is great to bring to the table because there are a lot of great players and a lot of players drafted high from the SEC. Playing in that kind of competition is a great experience.

One of the things that was mentioned to me by the Padres was versatility with you. You played third base and saw some time at other positions as well. Where do you see yourself fitting in at the next level?

James Darnell: As a third baseman. From talking to them, I believe my future is at third base. One of the things they like about me is my athleticism. Even at third base, one of the things that is good to have is athleticism and previous experience at other positions.

When I played high school ball in California, I was a shortstop and I made the adjustment over to third base during college. Just to have athleticism and be able to learn that spot and make plays is a good thing to have.

Have they told you about where they expect you to go?

James Darnell: I am not sure yet.

Is the idea to get on the field as quickly as possible?

James Darnell: I am just excited to be drafted by them. I am sure all that stuff will work out in the near future. I am just excited to be drafted by the San Diego Padres.

What are your own expectations and do you set your own timetable for how you see things proceeding?

James Darnell: The goal is to get to the big leagues and help the team win as soon as possible and that is what I want to do. I want to make sure I can use all my skills and abilities to help the Padres to get to the World Series. That is the main goal.

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