Padres Prospect Interview: Adam Zornes

Fort Wayne, IN: The TinCaps pitching staff is very good. Catcher Adam Zornes is a piece of that puzzle – being in sync with the pitching staff is a vital piece. With that in place, he feels like the hitting is starting to take shape.

A few months into the season, are you happy with the way you have been throwing the ball and catching base runners attempting to steal?

Adam Zornes: Well, that was one thing I wanted to improve on this season. I had a setback with my arm – it got tired with some tendonitis so I went on the DL for two and half weeks.

I am healthy now and feel a lot better. I kind of gauge throwing down on whether it was a good throw. That is all I can really do. As long as I am quick and make an accurate throw – than I am happy.

Sometimes, particularly with young pitchers, they will struggle with being quick to the plate. That is one thing we try and stress here but some guys are slow.

The past few weeks, I have had good throws but if you look at my numbers they are not where I want them to be. It is still a work in progress. I am always working to get better at that.

How good is this pitching staff?

Adam Zornes: It is great. It is a lot of fun to catch them. We are used to winning and we have been winning – if we can get five innings out of our starters, than the door is pretty much closed because the bullpen has been so solid.

(Nick) Schumacher has been a really good addition. It was my first time seeing him pitch and he has a lot of good stuff. He can come in and then (Zach) Herr and (Brad) Brach in the eighth and ninth close the door. They have done a great job all season. It is nice in a tight game to know you have that in your back pocket. You don't have to stress out about what is going to come.

Is the mark of a catcher how good your won-loss record is with the pitching staff? When you look at the record – that is a reflection of you and Robert and the way you guys call the game as well.

Adam Zornes: The catcher is always the guy who is behind the scenes while the pitchers get all the credit. That is fine. It is part of the job description. I enjoy getting to know the pitchers and getting to know what their best stuff is.

I really enjoy going out there when we are completely in sync. I put down the fingers and he knows in his head that is what he wants to throw. That gives him even more confidence. When you can be on the same page like that – it definitely helps.

It is nice coming to the park and knowing you are going to win everyday.

Talk about the hitting side. You have had some struggles this year but have turned things around since the All-Star break.

Adam Zornes: I finished up the last two games before the break feeling really good at the plate. There have been times where I didn't get a hit since but felt really good at the plate.

I am working a lot with our hitting coach. My swing is there. It is the right swing. It has taken a while to get into game speed. When you are in the game, you don't want to be thinking about 13 different things in the box. That is where I got into trouble. I was struggling and would try and change something everyday. I was thinking about so many things in the box. Now, I have cleared my head when I go up to hit and just think of hitting the ball.

It is frustrating. I look forward to the next day. If I have a bad outing, I don't have to wait. I can go out the next day and work on it.

Is there a time when you are struggling where you get way to aggressive and think you have to do something with every pitch? ‘If I don't hit this one, I will never get another one.'

Adam Zornes: Absolutely. Things were going like that for a while. You get that one good pitch to hit and you miss it. A lot of times it seems like you are 0-2 every at-bat. The Padres teach the patiently aggressive approach – a lot of times you see guys get into deep counts, getting the one pitch and hitting it.

It seemed like I was in an 0-2 count all the time and battling. That makes you more antsy to get your bat on any pitch because I was striking out so much. I think that came into play.

I am getting back to the basics and trusting my swing and letting it all happen on the field instead of thinking so much.

You have hit left-handed pitchers pretty well.

Adam Zornes: I guess the view is pretty good. They tend to not want to throw their slider or curveball. It is mainly a fastball or changeup.

What do you need to do to take your game to the next level?

Adam Zornes: I feel really comfortable catching, blocking the ball, and feel like my throwing is where it needs to be.

I need to get more consistent at-bats. I have to have quality at-bats day in and day out. The walks will come. The home runs and all that will take care of itself. I need to improve my hitting to become more consistent.

The most important thing is to be a good catcher and work with the pitching staff. If I have a bad at-bat – don't take it back onto the field. Separate those two.

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