Padres Prospect Interview: Eric Sogard

San Diego Padres prospect Eric Sogard battles in every at-bat. He has a David Eckstein like approach, working the count, putting the ball and play and taking a walk when pitchers aren't in his zone. It has led to a tremendous amount of success in the last year and a half.

You are an excellent bunter. Is dropping a bunt down a selective thing for you when you see the infield playing back?

Eric Sogard: Definitely. I love dropping it down. I see it as a free hit when the infielder is playing back. I try and get a good pitch I can put anywhere down the line and beat it out. I will definitely take advantage when they play back. Plus, when I do take advantage of it, it makes them move in and gives me a beter opportunity to hit it by them in the next at-bat.

You had 55 extra base hits last season. What is the hitting focus for you when you are seeing the ball so well?

Eric Sogard: Just being comfortable up there and not trying ot do too much – knowing you have other guys in the lineup behind you that will pick you up. That mindset allows me to not put too much pressure on myself and relax up there and have fun.

You had a little bit of streakiness this past season. How do you eliminate those streaks and stay more consistent?

Eric Sogard: When you are going well, teams will kind of figure out what you have been hitting well. I should be able to adjust better, knowing they are going to come after me with something else. Hopefully, that will allow me to see success in every month.

During the month of August, when a lot of other people are tired, you tore the cover off the ball. Why were you able to have so much success so late in the year?

Eric Sogard: I really didn't feel tired at all, which was nice. All you hear about is the long season. I really prepared myself during the offseason, physically. I knew that helped me get through. Knowing you only have a month left, it allowed me to push myself as hard as possible.

Nine of your homers came in the second half. Was there an adjustment you made to get balls that were doubles in the first half to leave the park?

Eric Sogard: I really wasn't trying to do anything different. My mindset was the same – hit the ball hard, gap-to-gap. Maybe that last half I got under a few more and they got out. I am not going to try and change something and hit home runs. Those are going to come on their own.

You drew more walks than strikeouts last year. How important is that statistic to what you are trying to accomplish?

Eric Sogard: That is one of the most important things to me. Working those walks – the walk-to-strikeout ratio is something I try and do every year I play. It is a big part of my game. I take a lot of pride in it.

How much work do you have to do on becoming a better base stealer and what kind of techniques have you picked up since joining the system?

Eric Sogard: Working your jumps and reads everyday. It is something so easy but a lot of guys don't take advantage of it in pre-game, working those jumps every chance, even off the batting practice pitcher.

How do you feel you have come along defensively from the days in Eugene to last season and early in this year?

Eric Sogard: I feel I have come a long way. I know up in Eugene I didn't feel as comfortable as I could have been. Last year, I was more comfortable. There is always room for improvement and I would love to get better in that area.

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