Padres Draft Interview: Sawyer Carroll

Sawyer Carroll made the smartest decision of his life when he returned to school for his senior season. Controlling the strike zone prior to the season, he added power to his game – hitting 16 more homers than he had the previous campaign. That earned him a selection by the Padres in round three.

What was the overall feeling after being selected by the San Diego Padres?

Sawyer Carroll: I feel pretty good. I was obviously excited. I am glad to know where I was going to go and am eager to get started.

Last year you got drafted in the middle rounds of the draft and decided to come back for your senior year, which can be a risky proposition. What made you come back?

Sawyer Carroll: I liked it a lot at the University of Kentucky. I just felt it was the right situation for me. I still had room to grow and college still had something to offer me. For a lot of people, that is not the case, but I really enjoyed my time at the University of Kentucky and it really didn't feel like the right time for me to go out. I came back and obviously don't regret the decision. I had a great time and a great year.

You go from three home runs to 19 home runs this past year. Can you talk about the changes you made to your approach during that time.

Sawyer Carroll: I think it all started last summer. I changed my approach a little bit – not much – but a little bit to try and hit more fly balls and maybe pull some more balls that I wouldn't have in the past. I did a good job in the weight room and got a little bit stronger and I think it all worked out for me.

Was that focusing on the inside pitches and trying to turn on those?

Sawyer Carroll: Yea – inside fastballs and trying to turn on those. Vulnerable breaking balls and changeups out over the plate that I could pull with some authority too.

When I spoke with the Padres, one of the things they mentioned about you was your versatility and the ability for you to play at multiple positions. Do you view that as a benefit to your future?

Sawyer Carroll: I think it can help me a lot. My ability to play multiple positions will benefit me throughout my career to get in and stay in the lineup. It gives the manager some versatility to get some guys days off and let me move around. The bottom line is as long as I am in the lineup somewhere everyday, I don't care where, I am just going to go out there and play defense as well as I can and hopefully put up good quality at-bats.

You go from first base to outfield and what they say is you have a pretty good arm. It is kind of interesting that you were at first to begin with since the arm isn't a tool that is used a lot at first base.

Sawyer Carroll: It was kind of a weird deal how I ended up at first. I went to junior college and played shortstop pretty much my whole life. I pitched and at junior college played all over the place. I probably would have went and played third or an outfielder at a lot of schools. I decided to go to UK and that is where I fit in for my team last year. We had some other quality infielders and outfielders so I played everyday at first base.

This year, a kid named Brian Spear – who was our second baseman the year before – moved over to play first base and it made a ripple affect throughout the whole rest of our infield and made us way better defensively. I made the move out to the outfield and really enjoyed it out there.

What is it about the game of baseball you love so much?

Sawyer Carroll: I like to hit. It has always been one of my favorite things to do.

Is there a player in the major leagues you kind of emulate and realize you kind of play like?

Sawyer Carroll: I have been compared hitting-wise to Todd Helton throughout my career. One of my favorite players – and the versatility you were talking about – is Mark DeRosa. He hits right-handed and I hit left-handed. If anyone at the plate – Todd Helton. I don't really know.

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