Padres Prospect Interview: Brad Chalk

How good can Brad Chalk be? The San Diego Padres prospect had a stretch where he was swinging at pitches with both feet off the ground and was still making contact.

You stole 18 straight bases before getting caught in the final game. Were you a little bummed you didn't get that perfect season?

Brad Chalk: I was just trying to get my total up. I should have been swiping a little more than that, but you know it's a learning process and you take what you can get.

During the early part of last year, there was a point where you actually swung with both feet off the ground. How hard was that to believe and did it surprise you that you were even able to make contact?

Brad Chalk: Yeah. I've always been a hands hitter and I get a little antsy at the plate, and that's the thing I'm trying to change as a hitter and I've made strides, but it creeps back in there some times. That's what it's all about – learning how to hit the right way.

The Padres have asked you to work on pulling some balls a little more. Has that progressed?

Brad Chalk: It has progressed. Every day I feel like I'm getting better and I'm always working on something to improve my game.

At the same time, does pulling the ball take away from what you believe to be your strength?

Brad Chalk: Not really, because there's always room to improve. You can always add on to your strengths and make your game even better.

Your pitch selection has always been a positive. Does the approach change at all when you have two strikes?

Brad Chalk: Oh definitely. You widen out the zone, you choke up a little bit and you don't put the fate in the umpire's hands.

You hit .365 with runners in scoring position last year. How does the mentality change in such situations?

Brad Chalk: It's all about mental toughness. You've really got to bear down. With guys on second or third, you've really got to get that run in. Guys get paid a lot of money to do that. That's what separates big leaguers from minor leaguers – they do that more consistently. I still have plenty of things I need to work on, but you've just really got to bear down.

Is there anything in particular you'll be working on this season, or that you were working on during Spring Training?

Brad Chalk: Just becoming a well-rounded hitter. Defensively, there's always new things you can learn in the game. But hitting-wise, just staying back, keeping the base under me, and being more consistent at the plate.

What will be a successful 2009 for Brad Chalk?

Brad Chalk: Win ball games. Contribute in any way possible. If I'm not doing it with the bat, I'll do it with the glove. If I'm not doing it defensively, I'll do it with the bat. That for me is a successful day – just to help the team out in any way possible.

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