Padres Prospect Interview: Jeudy Valdez

Seen as a prospect with immense potential, Jeudy Valdez has suffered through the growing pains that come with realizing that talent.

The infielder swings at pitches outside the zone, is really hard on himself and carries frustration from at-bat to at-bat.

At 19, Valdez spent the entire year in the Northwest League – playing against competition that was three to five years older than him. He handled himself well, despite an average that ended at .227 for the season. With 17 extra base hits, he showed he has power potential.

There were times when he shined, hitting a bases clearing triple one July evening after giving away two at-bats. Finding that consistency is the key. At his age, however, the Padres believe he will continue to make significant strides.

You changed your stance from last year. Are you comfortable now?

Jeudy Valdez: Yes, I like the open stance a little more, I like it better.

How is it helping you hitting wise?

Jeudy Valdez: Good. I am more consistent with the strike zone. I can hit the ball with more contact.

Now, you're playing some second base as well as shortstop. Talk about the differences between the two.

Jeudy Valdez: Second base is kind of easier. I am more relaxed. I've got to be more aggressive. At shortstop you get more ground balls than at second base.

But is it tougher because shortstop is your natural position?

Jeudy Valdez: I have played all of my life at shortstop. Now, playing second base is a little bit different.

At the plate, what's the biggest thing you want to work on to help your game?

Jeudy Valdez: Not to hit everything to the middle; got to get everything away, try to help us. (Denis, I'm not sure about this response, I may have heard it incorrectly. Listened to it maybe 10 times and just wasn't sure!)

Last year, you got a little bit tired at the end of the year. How did you change your off season habits?

Jeudy Valdez: Yes, because I've been working hard. I worked harder this year so that can't happen again.

Was that with getting bigger weight training, or was it running and doing cardio work?

Jeudy Valdez: Everything. I worked out hard.

So, what's going to be a successful rest of the year for Valdez?

Jeudy Valdez: To have a good season, have a good end. I am just trying to get good pitches to hit so I can get more walks.

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