Padres Prospect Interview: Beamer Weems

Beamer Weems patrols the infield with sure hands, great footwork and a soft release. The San Diego Padres shortstop prospect is now working on his offense and added strength in the offseason is just one component of that turnaround.

You mentioned an area that needed improvement was getting stronger. How did you use the offseason to accomplish that goal and how tough will it be to keep that weight on?

Beamer Weems: Definitely. I worked hard in the weight room and added eight to 10 pounds. I feel much stronger.

It is up to each player to take care of his body. I will be going to the grocery store a couple of times a week to get healthy foods. I am ready to take care of my body this year.

You came out to the early hitter's camp. What were you able to accomplish by coming out early and did it involve mechanical changes?

Beamer Weems: We worked a lot on me staying back and not leaking out over my front side. I worked on that all offseason and worked on it again with more pointers during the early hitters camp. It felt good to get out there early.

You saw action in five games in Double-A San Antonio and hit well. What was the difference between there and Eugene?

Beamer Weems: I think the main difference was the pitchers were more around the strike zone so you didn't feel like you had to chase as much. The concentration level – I should have had it more in Eugene. I think going in every day and getting accustomed to what you are facing is a big deal. I think they were just more around the plate.

Do you feel you were being too aggressive in Eugene and being baited by pitchers who weren't around the strike zone?

Beamer Weems: I think I might have been. I didn't have a great approach there. Greg Riidoch helped me a lot last year and the coaches have continued to help me out. I feel like I have a much better approach this year.

The irony is while you had some struggles in Eugene hitting, you still managed to walk more than you struck out. How important will pitch selection be to your ultimate success?

Beamer Weems: Whenever you walk more than you strikeout, your average is going to go up. Last year was a little weird for me. It didn't help too much. I look at it as a fluke season. If I walk more than I strikeout, or try to, for the rest of my career, I will be better off.

The Padres have praised your defensive ability. What is it that makes you so clean defensively?

Beamer Weems: My whole life I have taken a lot of pride in being the best defensive shortstop. I spent a lot of time on it when I was younger. When pitchers get ground balls – they did their job by making their pitch so it is my job to help them complete the play.

You played some second and third base last year. What are the challenges of moving between those different spots?

Beamer Weems: I never really played those positions before. I had to practice a lot and get reps in practice. From shortstop to second or shortstop to third, I didn't feel like it was a huge difference. Getting more reps got my confidence up and I started to feel pretty good at each spot.

As a switch-hitter, how difficult is it to maintain two swings?

Beamer Weems: I have normally felt more comfortable right-handed, but this year I worked a lot, trying to get it to a point where it doesn't really matter.

I try to mirror them as much as I can but am stronger from the right side so I have to change some stuff. I choke up a little more in certain counts and situations. It is easier if both swings are similar so you don't have to mess with it as much. Nobody is the exact same from both.

Does that open up the possibility that you can mess everything up when you aren't feeling well from one side and make a change and then it starts affecting both sides?

Beamer Weems: That can definitely happen. You can feel great one day and then wish you were facing a lefty instead of a righty. You have to be comfortable being uncomfortable. It is not your choice deciding who is on the mound.

Have you ever considered if you are feeling so good one way to stick with that way regardless of the pitcher you face?

Beamer Weems: I have but I want to be a true switch-hitter. You have to make the adjustments. In the long run, I want to be a switch-hitter so I have to get in there even when I am not comfortable.

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