Padres Prospect Interview: Jason Hagerty

Eugene, OR: San Diego Padres fifth-round pick Jason Hagerty has appeal because of his switch-hitting bat that promises power. While he is easing back into catching, Hagerty has experience at first base – meaning his bat can stay in the lineup.

Talk about what you see here in the Northwest League as opposed to college.

Jason Hagerty: The biggest thing was offensively you are facing pitchers that were Friday night starters at about every college. It is consistently good. Guys can throw hard and have good secondary stuff.

As a hitter – it is tough adjusting, especially getting thrown the wood bats. That is a little bit different. It takes a while to adjust but is starting to come.

For me, getting back behind the plate was big and getting into catcher's shape. Everyone thinks catchers are fat and slow. Honestly, experiencing catcher and infield – you need to be in a lot better shape to be a catcher. The day-to-day grind takes a lot out of your body. You need to make sure you are in proper shape to stay healthy and perform at your best.

It has to be pretty rare that a catcher is a switch-hitter. You already have so much to worry about and now you bring two different swings into the equation.

Jason Hagerty: It is tough to keep both sides in sync, as well as your catcher. It is something where I knew I was getting into it before I started. I really wanted to do it and it has helped me out a lot.

I like having a lot of things to do with pitchers and hitting. I fel it helps me out a lot and keeps me focued.

For most people, it is hard to mirror those two. Do you feel like you have more power on one side versus the other?

Jason Hagerty: To be honest, I feel like I have the same power from both sides. A lot of guys say you want to be as similar on each side because there is so much going into it and you don't want to forget things. I try and keep is similar for both sides.

It took me a while to get my left-handed swing down. I feel like I am starting to get comfortable with it.

At the same time, you are making adjustments – perhaps to both sides of the plate. I imagine it could be counterproductive.

Jason Hagerty: There are definitely little things they can pick upon that we can't. They can see it from where they are standing and it allows you to make corrections on mistakes you don't know you are making.

Talk about the changing roles for you. You are a catcher but have also played at first base. It adds versatility, yes, but you were also talking about catching and getting that par of your game up to snuff.

Jason Hagerty: We have one first baseman and he needs a breather as well. Being able to play another position – all it can do is help you, especially in the minor leagues. If they need me to play there – so be it. I am fairly comfortable after playing there this season in college.

I got a chance to talk to Blake Tekotte about you during my time in Fort Wayne. What can you tell us about him?

Jason Hagerty: Blake is a great guy. I have known him from high school. We grew up pretty close to each other.

He is a clown. He is one of those out there center fielders. He thinks he is a power hitter – the little man syndrome. He will surprise you with his strength and ability to hit the ball out. He plays a heck of a center field, is a contact hitter and can do damage on the base paths. He has a bright future.

You have been working with several different pitchers. What can you tell us about Chris Fetter?

Jason Hagerty: Chris has a real live fastball. He is tall and comes over top. He has great arm action. The ball gets on you quick. He has a good slider and changeup too. He threw real well for us. With his size, he has a lot of projectibility and a real bright future. He can pitch. He moves in and out and changes speed well.

What are your impressions of Jerry Sullivan?

Jason Hagerty: Jerry hasn't thrown as well as he would have liked after throwing a lot in college. He has great stuff. He has a real live fastball with good two-seam action. He has a really good slider and a changeup he can throw for a strike.

He is a gamer. He has a competitive fire. I know how much he likes to be in the game and win.

The last guy I wanted to ask you about is Matt Jackson given his immense success this year.

Jason Hagerty: He has a fastball, curveball, slider and changeup. He has thrown really well for us. He has that combination where if the slider isn't on in a particular day, his curveball is. If the curveball isn't, the slider is. He has three and four pitches to toy with. He can move it in and out and change speeds.

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