Padres Prospect Interview: Everett Williams

San Diego Padres prospect Everett Williams signed late but made an immediate impression with his terrific bat speed. Now, he is looking to build upon the foundation to bring the fundamental part of his game in line with his talent.

Did you always have a feeling you were going to sign as the deadline arrived? I know when we spoke on the day you were drafted, you were disappointed in where you were picked.

Everett Williams: I was expecting to get drafted higher. I was fine with the decision. I was ready to sign regardless. I just love baseball. It was all good.

You go out to Arizona to begin your professional career. What was the first taste of pro ball like?

Everett Williams: The first game I didn't do so well. I hadn't played all summer. I bounced back and hit the AZL league pretty well. And I was able to continue that through instructs.

You also played in Eugene, which is a little different since there are crowds there. Was there a difference between the Arizona Rookie League and the Northwest League?

Everett Williams: The Northwest League felt more like baseball. You have the big crowd, people are rooting you on. It just felt better playing there. There was more motivation to play out there.

You went out to instructs. Was there something specific you worked on out there?

Everett Williams: I worked on trying to prevent my hands from wrapping around my head when I am hitting. Bob Skube helped me out a lot with that. I have been pretty successful in cutting that down.

Is that almost a timing thing so you aren't late on pitches you know you can handle?

Everett Williams: It is. That was the problem before but it is all good now. I am shorter to the ball and seeing better results.

Was it nice to continue your playing and improving after not getting a whole lot of playing time this summer – just to go out to instructs and continue the baseball season?

Everett Williams: I was loving it. Like I said, I don't regret choosing the Padres over UT (University of Texas). I love playing.

What will the offseason be like and how does it change for you now that you can focus on improving for spring training?

Everett Williams: My offseason will consist of a lot of working out. I will work out at the UT, doing a lot of hitting, and will probably work out at my high school as well.

Talk a little bit about your outfield work. When we first spoke, you mentioned being someone who takes pride in your defense. What needs to happen to continue the improvement process out there?

Everett Williams: One thing I was working on – everything was fine as far as the speed and being able to track balls, but the only thing was learning how to take my eye off the ball when I am going back on a baseball. That helped out a lot during the Instructional League and allowed me to get to balls in the gaps.

When I spoke with manager Jose Flores he said that he could see the talent level and you also showed a lot of personality early on. What does that mean?

Everett Williams: There is no point in being shy. You are going to be around these guys everyday. Just be yourself and don't change anything.

Was there any disappointments for you in the limited action during this first year?

Everett Williams: I wish I would have played more. I wish I had been here with everyone else. I was behind everyone so I didn't get to play as much but it is fine.

Do you feel there are times when you are so amped up to prove yourself that you are swinging for the fences when you simply need to relax and put an easy swing on the ball?

Everett Williams: There were times. In my first couple of at-bats in my first couple of games, I was tense. I was trying to hti the scoreboard. I decided to relax and focus on getting one hit and the rest will come. Taking it easy helped tremendously.

Is pitch selection going to important moving forward?

Everett Williams: Most definitely. That will be very important, along with staying short to the ball. When you see a pitch outside of the zone, I need to take it. At the same time, you can't let the good ones go. You have to weed through all the nasty junk that pitchers have and find that pitch you can hit.

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