Padres Prospect Interview: Matt Clark

Known for his monstrous home run power, San Diego Padres prospect Matt Clark has worked hard over the last year to become a better all-around hitter.

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?

Matt Clark: It was a head start. Start seeing some pitches early. It's a good environment to get your body ready for the long haul, to start playing games.

People have said that you will look into a mirror to correct flaws in your swing. How does that help you?

Matt Clark: It's just to see where you're at. See where your hands need to be, so if anything needs to be changed, you can notice it right away. Sometimes when you're out on the field and you're trying new things here and there, your body can get out of whack, once you see yourself you can get yourself right back to where you need to be.

We all know about the power in your game but what needs to happen to take your game to the next level?

Matt Clark: I work on a lot of things this offseason. I really started learning how to drive the ball the other way and use my hands and wrists, and shorten my swing up a little bit to the point where it's short to the ball, but long through so you still generate the power. It will help me adjust to the breaking ball and stuff like that. I think it's helped me out this off season and hopefully out here.

How difficult is it as a bigger guy to keep that compact stroke?

Matt Clark: Because we're so big and strong, there's a lot of guys in this organization like that. You kind of have to remember to stay humble. Everybody knows you get the homers. You know you get the homers and sometimes you get greedy and you want to do more than you can with some pitches. But just being able to stay within yourself and just take what the pitcher gives you really helps out.

You worked a lot on your defense last year in Eugene and instructs. In what ways has it improved?

Matt Clark: All facets. It's been a work in progress, but I think that I'm twice the defender I've been. I've only played first base for one year. I've been a third basemen my whole life. So I had to make that adjustment. Getting more comfortable. Getting more live looks, more groundballs, more kicks. I feel like I've done a lot better. I just hope to keep it moving.

You hit very well with runners in scoring position last year. How does your approach change with men on base?

Matt Clark: It's not really a panic for me. It actually makes me concentrate more, and breathe better. I'm actually more relaxed with guys on base. I learned that in LSU, in college, because the pressure is on, you have to drive and run so much, you just have to take a step back, take a long deep breath and really analyze the situation.

You mentioned learning the ins and outs of the wood bat in Eugene last year. Have your mechanics changed as a result of the wood bat?

Matt Clark: I'm definitely a lot more comfortable. I never really took a break this offseason from hitting because I really wanted to work on that so I could just come out here and make a splash; see where I could end up and who I could impress.

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