Padres Prospect Interview: Anthony Contreras

PEORIA, AZ-- San Diego Padres prospect Anthony Contreras was a shot in the arm to a depleted Fort Wayne team when he was signed in mid-June. He hit .304 across 36 games and manned three different positions. He credits the Padres approach to helping his bat and thrives on the pressure of not knowing where he might be playing on a given night.

You signed with the Padres in June after playing Independent League ball. Do you view this as a second chance after beginning your career in the Giants system?

Anthony Contreras: I got released from the Giants the last day of spring training last year, and I hooked up with the team in Lincoln, Nebraska. Played out there; played shortstop for about two months. I did pretty well and got a call from a scout from the Padres, saying that they wanted to send me to Fort Wayne so I said, ‘hell yeah' because getting back in affiliated ball is what everybody's trying to do in independent ball so I took the chance once I got it.

You hit over .300 in Fort Wayne ­ what kind of hitter do you view yourself as?

Anthony Contreras: Frankly, I just have to get on base. I'm not a big power guy so I have to rely on putting the ball in play, getting my hits when I can, letting the big guys drive me in.

So does that go along with Pitch selections and the padres philosophies? How do you fit into that mold?

Anthony Contreras: Well, yeah, I've been like that my whole life – an aggressive hitter. It's helped me be patient and draw more walks. Buying into the system has helped me tremendously. I'm just kind of excited to see what happens this year when I take that approach. I'll have a couple of months in their organization under my belt, so it'll be nice to see what happens.

You played three different infield positions last year for Fort Wayne. Talk about the challenges of moving between second base, shortstop and third base.

Anthony Contreras: Each position's a little different obviously and you have to be prepared as a utility guy to be put into any spot, and BP and everything and taking ground balls at all three and just being ready. On the other side, I think it's kind of nice. You don't get settled in or too comfortable, you're on your toes the whole time and I like that.

How difficult is it then to be sound at one particular plays? You might be a natural second baseman, now you're going over to third; and you might see it only a couple of times a year, or a month or whatever it is? Is it tough to go ‘now I need my arm strength here'? How are you preparing yourself mentally?

Anthony Contreras: Yeah I guess that's the role that they see me as, so obviously they think I can do it; which puts confidence into myself. I didn't play much third base coming up through the Giants organization or until I got here to The Padres. I got used to it. It wasn't that bad actually.

You were a better hitter off right-handed pitching last season. How can you enjoy the same type of success against left-handers?

Anthony Contreras: Just staying consistent. When things are going well with lefties is when I'm hitting well. It's hard to say. We'll see what happens. I just have to stay consistent.

How much have you matured as a player since being drafted out of San Jose State?

Anthony Contreras: A lot, actually. It's one thing to be drafted. You get excited and you see how everybody acts at the pro level, but the older I got it's almost the better information I received. I know how to prepare myself and get ready for the season so it's like every spring training gets a little bit better.

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