Padres Prospect Interview: Bobby Verbick

Bobby Verbick underwent considerable changes to his swing during the course of the year. The ideal situation has nothing to do with hitting .350 in Eugene but to have sustainable success at the higher levels. Now, Verbick has to trust the changes he has undergone.

There has been some changes in your swing and kind of going from just getting a little bit more load, getting a little bit more quicker to the ball. You've obviously seen the results in through the year. Is it a comfortable thing?

Bobby Verbick: Well, not right now it's not, and I don't even do it right every time. I'm still working on just getting in the right place and it's more than just getting to the right place, getting in there and getting my foot down and keeping my hands in the right place, so it's a couple -- several different things that I'm trying to focus on at one thought, one time, so still kind of shaky on it. When I do do it right, I'm getting good results, so it's good for me to see that if I keep at it, this will work, so that's good. But, yeah, it's just one of those things: I take a few good swings there in BP in a row and then I think I got it and then I don't do it the next swing, I'm like I'm not there yet, but it's coming around.

Is that a frustration? Because obviously we talked earlier about just some struggles going on and when you don't see those immediate dividends, you know it makes it tough to continue doing it.

Bobby Verbick: Right. Well, the pitching's pretty good right now. It's not the best time to be working on a different swing, so I think that's the big challenge is just the competition that we're facing. Pretty much need to have your swing down when you're facing it, so right now with not feeling 100% comfortable with it, you're going to expect a little bit of struggle with it.

Is it easy to let go when you get in that box and just go to work; see ball, hit ball?

Bobby Verbick: Yeah, that's what we've done for several years. Basically, Riddoch told me, "Work on this and think about it during BP, but once you're up there, just focus on just seeing it and hitting it. Don't worry about getting back or getting your hands here, getting your foot down at this time, just when you're in the box and the game, just see the ball and hit the ball."

What's it like working under manager Greg Riddoch? He's a guy who is highly psychological, thinks about the mental side of the game.

Bobby Verbick: Right, it's good. He gets you prepared at every stage that you need to be there. It's just one of those things: just be a sponge and soak in everything ‘cause he's got a ton of knowledge. Really fortunate to be in rookie league and having him as a manager.

He's also introduced journals for everybody. Is that something you're used to?

Bobby Verbick: No. Actually, I haven't started doing that yet. In college I'd just show up and play every day and then leave it at the field and come back the next day. You can see, now that we've already faced guys we've faced a few times, you can start to see how that would be good to have some mental notes that you've written down to just have a little advantage the next time you see someone.

What's the strength of your game if you look at it as a whole?

Bobby Verbick: I would say my swinging ability. I had Tommy John 2 years, or 3 years ago. My arm's not as strong as it used to be. It's not bad, it's just not the strongest part of my game. So, I'd have to say at the plate.

When you look, is there a guy in the major leagues that you kind of idolize and say you know on and off the field this is the guy who kind of you know takes it to a new level?

Bobby Verbick: I was a big fan of Craig Biggio. Growing up a little south of Houston, that's who I've seen play for many years and just as you watched him in between innings throwing the ball around, he was always there to play the game the way it was supposed to be played.

I remember there was always dirt on his uniform; that helmet, it was time to get rid of that thing.

Bobby Verbick: Pine tar on the helmet and dirt on the uniform.

So what's going to be a successful off-season for Bobby Verbick?

Bobby Verbick: Just trusting this new swing I've got and just trying to build confidence in it every day.

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