September Call-Ups: Drew Macias

WASHINTON DC: Centerfielder Drew Macias, 25, has always been considered one of the Padres' top defensive outfielders both for his range and arm. What has held him back has been an inconsistent plate performance where he really wasn't a power hitter, which is difficult when you came into baseball at 6-foot-3 weighing 175-pounds and was too impatient to hit at the top of the order.

This year, despite having a good second half in San Antonio in 2007 where he hit .283/.374/.391, the Padres elected to go with Will Venable in center at Triple-A and sent Macias back to the Missions to play every day.

After a tough first month, he responded with the best season of his career, hitting .288/.393/.423 and setting career highs in extra base hits (42) and stolen bases (18-for-24). This season, he finished second on the Missions in hits, extra-base hits, second in home runs, tied for second in RBI's and played one of the best centerfields in the Texas League.

The biggest improvement in his game was his strike zone discipline, posting a very good BB/K ratio of 83/81, leading the Texas League in walks and finishing in the top ten in on-base-percentage.

With six years in the minor leagues, the Padres will need to keep Drew on the forty-man roster if they want to retain him, but after the improvement and numbers that he has put up this season it seems to be a lock.

He has an outside chance to make the big team out of spring training, and if that doesn't happen, he will be the centerfielder in Portland next year and probably the first outfielder to be called up.

First, the season didn't start off so well for you going back to Double-A.

Drew Macias: Yeah it was my third time going to Double-A, but after awhile I began to see going back to work with TK [Terry Kennedy] the hitting coach and revamping my swing really helped me. I became more patient and saw balls better and became more consistent at the plate. I was really trying to hit line drives and stay out of that San Antonio wind.

Last year when you went up to Portland you put up some solid numbers and you were a much better hitter when you came back to San Antonio. Was that kind of a turning point for you as a hitter, which led to your success this year?

Drew Macias: I have a new stance in the box and am much more balanced. I've become more of a "handsy" hitter. Balls seem to jump off the bat better now, which is good considering what a tough place the Texas League is to hit. I worked really hard on keeping balls out of the air because it will kill you in our park.

A lot of people don't realize what a tough park that is to hit in. If you look at Chad Huffman's home-road splits, especially, he hit much better on the road.

Drew Macias: And that is what I did last year. My numbers at home were terrible [.227/.337/.338 at home, .271/.371/.452 on the road]. This year was much more even split [.288/.396/.394 at home, .287/.390/.448 on the road.

Isn't it a better park for lefties than righties?

Drew Macias: No, it's the other way around isn't it?

(Sean Kazmar who happens to be next to Drew weighs in)

Sean Kazmar: Well the wind blows in from right field, so it's probably a little tougher for lefties when you square one up.

You mentioned that Terry Kennedy helped you out quite a bit, can you go into a little more detail?

Drew Macias: I just worked with TK and [Tony] Muser [Padres roving hitting instructor], and they worked on getting me off of my toes and not leaning over the plate where I couldn't do anything with the inside pitch. They got me sitting back on my heels a little more and keeping my body straight and parallel to the plate, which helped me see everything better. I think I've been getting better every year and mainly it just helped me become more relaxed.

You also seem like you are having an easier time keeping on weight. I can remember when I saw you at Mobile you had put on a lot of muscle in the first month but had a hard time keeping it on.

Drew Macias: I'm getting better at keeping on weight, but it is tough in the heat. I came in around 200 all year, which is really good for me. I had some luck with that and really don't know how I did it with all the running and sweating that we did out there.

How about defensively? How much does the wind affect your routes in center?

Drew Macias: In the games when we play at home it really doesn't affect me, but it's when we go on the road and play at someplace like Springfield where the ball keeps carrying compared to where it stops in San Antonio you can run into a few walls.

You came up last year for a brief time and got in a game, which I'm sure was a big thrill. This year you seem more relaxed and actually have done some damage with your bat hitting a couple of home runs. Does it seem a little easier with some of the butterflies out?

Drew Macias: Yeah especially playing with so many guys that I have played with throughout my career. They are going through the same things as I am; all the emotions and excitement so it makes it a little easier. I've been having a blast compared to last year where it seemed so quick. I almost feel like it didn't happen this year I get to savor it a little more.

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