Tornicasa on Padres hitters in Fort Wayne

Tom Tornicasa was sent back to Low-A Fort Wayne after spending the previous year in Double-A. It is a role he enjoys – teaching young kids like Justin Baum, Felix Carrasco, Yefri Carvajal, Brad Chalk and Robert Perry.

You came from Double-A to Low-A where you get to be a little more hands on. Is that something you enjoy?

Tom Tornicasa: It's fun either way for me. Usually the guys that I had in the past, like a lot of those guys are up now, but Chase (Headley) and Nick (Hundley) and those guys, I actually had them down at the lower levels, too, and I actually kind of moved along with them.

Is it kind of rewarding, too, when you see these guys playing in the majors now?

Tom Tornicasa: Yeah, I kind of enjoy it. It's more enjoyable to watch the game – not that I don't like watching them – but it makes it more interesting knowing that these are some of the guys that you had for a few years. A few of those guys I had for two or three years. Just to see them in the big leagues, it feels good, especially because you know that you put in a lot of long hours with these guys to have them accomplish their goals.

Justin Baum led the team in RBIs and was a gap hitter. Is there more power in his body waiting to be tapped in future years?

Tom Tornicasa: Yeah, I think down the road. I think he'll show a little more power. Because there's guys like Ciofrone who hit like nine home runs there too, or eight home runs. And they're right around the same age. I can see him showing a little more power down the road when he fills out a little bit. And you've got to keep in mind, though, this is really their first full season, so he hit a lot of those home runs earlier, and as the year went on, his home run production went down for the fact that, first full season, and their body starts to wear down because they don't know how to pace themselves.

I would say Felix Carrasco probably fits in to that mold too. After winning the home run derby, he didn't hit for that much power after the All-Star break.

Tom Tornicasa: No, no, he didn't. I mean, what did it end up with, maybe four home runs in the second half? Yeah, it takes its toll on these guys because they're trying to figure it out. Now, for next year, most of these guys will understand what it takes to get through the full season and keep their numbers going in the right direction.

Carrasco showed the power many believed he had but also struck out a lot. Is that a concern?

Tom Tornicasa: It is a little bit, but I think, once again, he probably had more strike outs in the second half than he did in the first and that had a little bit to do with it too. But I do think he's going to have – the power guys usually do have the home run totals that look good, but they also rack up some of the strike outs.

They pitched him a lot tougher than probably they did in the first half just because he had such good power numbers. I think finally at the end, the last little bit he was starting to realize that he just can't swing at everything and hit it out of the park. He's got to get a little better pitch selection.

Yefri Carvajal had a good year but also seemed to swing at a lot of pitches he should lay off. Is pitch selection the ultimate key for him?

Tom Tornicasa: Yeah, no doubt, no doubt. And you know what actually, that pitch that they kept throwing like the breaking ball in the dirt, they fed him a lot of that. And he was biting on a lot of that, and the last couple weeks, he finally showed me that he's finally getting the idea, cause he actually started laying off. He swung at some, but I tell you what, he laid off way more than what he swung at in probably the last two weeks. Really, I thought he made a nice improvement those last two weeks the way he swung the bat than all year.

Brad Chalk is seen as a guy that should be able to turn on some balls. Did that approach hurt him early on and take him away from his previous strengths – which was hitting the ball the other way?

Tom Tornicasa: I don't know if you saw him earlier in the year where he actually jumped up in his swing: he actually had both feet off the ground when he swung the bat, if you can believe that. Because when I first saw it, I couldn't believe it. I was going, ‘Holy cow! What are we going to do with this?'

Seriously, I was going, ‘Wow! I looked at some of the tape early on just to show him and I'll tell you what, I mean, both feet were off the ground and I'm going, ‘How the heck is he doing it?'

But it does show that he has good hand-eye coordination because I don't think I could even put the bat on the ball if I was jumping in a swing. But he really came a long way. I actually was proud of him with all the work he put in and actually learned to pull the ball but he'll understand it a little more.

He was actually a little ticked at himself towards the end of the year, he goes, ‘Man, I can't hit the ball the other way as well as I did before.' I said, ‘Because now you got to make your adjustment on letting the ball travel a little more and getting a little deeper instead of getting a head out all the time on the pitches.'

I think he'll be fine. I think next year he should be in the Cal League, and I would bet that he hits well over .300 there.

Robert Perry is a guy that seems to do everything pretty well. Is he a guy that can also continue to improve?

Tom Tornicasa: I actually think pretty highly of Robert. The first time I saw him was in spring training. He ran real well, I think he ran in the 60, he ran like a 6.5 or a 6.6, which is good speed, and he showed a lot better speed in the outfield than he did towards the end of the year.

He's another guy I think that just kind of wore down with the season, but I actually liked the way he swung the bat, especially when he first came back to us. Like I said, I think he just kind of wore down because his running times were down a little bit and some of the balls, the jumps that the more explosive jumps that he had in the outfield kind of because of the wear and tear of the season kind of slowed him down a little bit. But I actually like his game. I think he's a solid player.

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