Padres Prospect Interview: Sean Kazmar

Sean Kazmar rose to the challenge in the San Diego Padres sytem last year and ended up with the big club. He is working on making it back this season, adding the versatility of playing the outfield to his growing repertoire.

Talk about the Arizona Fall League experience.

Sean Kazmar: It was definitely a good experience there against that competition. I was glad that I got the opportunity to play there and to actually learn a couple of new positions playing the outfield. It definitely helped me out. To be able to play more positions makes me more valuable as a player in my mind. It was a very good experience for me.

As you mentioned, you played some outfield in the AFL. What were the challenges playing all three outfield spots when you have not seen time there before?

Sean Kazmar: It was definitely a challenge. I knew going in that it was something I was going to have to work hard at. But definitely after a few games, I felt very comfortable in center field. It kind of came almost natural a little bit – playing up the middle all my life. But the corners definitely took a little more time than center field, being used to the middle of the field. But I thought I adjusted really well and I felt like, as a player, it went really well.

So it sounds like playing the corners was initially more difficult. Is it still more difficult after having spent time in all three positions?

Sean Kazmar: No. It was just one of those things where I went in every morning and worked at it. I knew if I worked hard that it would come to me. Like I said, the corners kind of came a little more difficult because of angles – from righties that tail away from you when you're playing right. Just getting used to that and reading ball angles. The best thing for me was getting into games and being able to see live balls in the air.

When you are moving around positions, does it make it tough to hit consistently, as there is so much going through your mind?

Sean Kazmar: No, you try not to let it [affect your hitting]. I could see how it can, maybe in a sense. But hitting is a different aspect of the game, and as much as you work defensively, you've got to work just as much offensively. I felt like I did that, especially having Jim Lefebvre here as our hitting coach. I definitely benefitted from that.

How much easier was it to go up to the majors when you have a guy like Chase Headley, a close friend of yours, up there to help you find your way?

Sean Kazmar: It was definitely really nice. The second I got the call, I called Chase and [Nick] Hundley and I actually stayed with them and was picking their brain because they'd been up there for a few months prior to me getting there. They definitely brought me in and showed me the ropes, and it was definitely nice having guys that I knew up there. I know most of the guys up there just from playing in spring training with them. So they took me in and it was a great opportunity for me and a very fun experience.

What did you learn about yourself during your time with San Diego?

Sean Kazmar: Just getting accustomed to that type of play up there. You know, it's the best of the best. The game could really go quick on you. It took me about a week and I finally came to realize that it's the same game; it might be a little faster, and the players might be a little bigger and stronger and faster, but playing in this system, they definitely get us well prepared for that. I felt very prepared when I got there and I feel like I did well.

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