Skube on AZL Padres hitting prospects

Another year, another MVP bat under the watch of hitting coach Bob Skube. The San Diego Padres have had a lot of success in the Arizona Rookie League, sending young talent ahead. The 2009 season was no different.

What was it that stood out for you regarding Arizona Rookie League MVP Cody Decker?

Bob Skube: Well the power. He's got above average power and he has knowledge of hitting. He understands how to set up pitchers and doesn't get set up too much.

Jonathan Alia came in as an undrafted free agent and performed pretty well for you. What did you see out of him?

Bob Skube: Yeah, he did pretty good. He was actually a pretty streaky hitter. But when he got hot, he'd be 3–for-4, 3-for-5 every night and he'd go through some little cold spells but that's what you expect of your power guys.

I wish that he could have hit some more home runs. But he did display some pretty impressive power when he did hit HRs. not as consistently as Decker. But did a very good job.

Then he would go four or five games and not have an RBI and leave 20 guys on and then every time somebody was on, he'd get nine hits in a row. I mean very streaky guy. He has a lot of potential and you've got to understand too that he was making a position change also. He played third for the first time, and as far as I'm concerned, that's the most difficult position to play on the field is third base.

What kind of strides did Jonathan Galvez make as the season progressed?

Bob Skube: Offensively, he really made huge strides. Defensively is still a little immature in the field and does take some of his offensive at-bats on to the defensive end of the game.

But offensively he was stellar for us all year. It was a desire within him. He doesn't like to fail and he really hadn't been too successful up until this year. And worked hard and he's still got some things he needs to do with his swing. But overall he really made some huge improvements.

And hit for some pretty good power. The numbers don't show it but his slugging percentage and hard contacts were way up there.

Cameron Monger came into the system as a raw player that didn't play a whole lot in college but offers up plus speed. How good can he be?

Bob Skube: He's only going to get better. He really did a lot just on his talent alone this year because of the speed. It was almost like we chose to let him be successful and maybe not do things as technically right as we wanted to. And so he's going to Instructs and I believe that after Instructs he'll have a whole different approach to hitting and I really believe that he's going to be a player to watch in the future.

You can't teach speed. He changes the game once he's on base.

Does the same hold true for a guy like Wande Olabisi – another player who did not get a whole lot of time on that Stanford team?

Bob Skube: A real high ceiling. He's an extremely strong kid. He's not as fast as... he's very fast but baseball-wise he's not as fast as he is fast. If you put him on a track field he'd just dominate. But that just comes from experience. He just hasn't played the game enough and hasn't been on base enough to learn how to use his speed. He's a talent. I wish I had him when he was 18, 19.

Jhonaldo Pozo is one of the strongest players around but struggled a lot this year. Does he have a chance to be a sleeper in the system or is there too much to overcome?

Bob Skube: How do I be politically correct in this? You're right, he does have a lot of potential. But being with him everyday shows that, yeah, he worked on some things and he did get better, but for me the way I judge players is their ability to slow the game down and you know you can practice all you want and you can make improvements, but when the bell rings, and you're going to a game and guys are throwing 93, 94, what's your ability to slow the game down to be able to hit that? do you have the talent to slow the game down to be so focused that the 94 mph fastball is now 80 or 70?

That's where I see the guys that I know are going to play in the big leagues, especially when they're 18, 19 yrs old they have that ability to slow the game down. It doesn't matter if the guy is throwing 94 or 70. They have the ability to focus and slow the game down.

And I'd much rather have a player like that than a big strong kid that has all this talent and all this strength and all these up sides but mentally can't slow the game down. Because nobody can play this game at 94 mph. I don't care who you are. Barry Bonds can't play at this speed, Pujols can't play at this speed. But if you have the ability... but if you have less talent but have the ability to slow the game down, you can play this game for a long time.

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