Lezcano on Storm hitting prospects

Lake Elsinore Storm manager Carlos Lezcano is a stickler for discpline within the San Diego Padres farm system. He wants to see the progress of each player through the year. We caught up with him to discuss the hitting prospects.

What were your impressions of the year that Felix Carrasco had?

Carlos Lezcano: I thought he was going to do better offensively, he did improve defensively, with his glove, but offensively I was expecting more out of him and I think he was too. The power numbers were not there and the offensive wasn't there this year.

Yefri Carvajal struggled offensively with you and was sent down to Fort Wayne. Was it a disappointing year in your eyes?

Carlos Lezcano: Yes, Yefri's a young kid. Kind of the same thing for him too. He just didn't pan out here in his offense.

You had Sawyer Carroll during his three league tour this year. What were your thoughts on Sawyer?

Carlos Lezcano: To me he is a baseball player. He came in here and had like 40-some RBI in 30-some games. He's a good RBI guy, number three hitter for me. He's a good outfielder, an average runner, looks to me like a Will Clark body. To me he's a good prospect. He should play in the big leagues some day if he keeps going the way he's going. I like the way he plays.

Brad Chalk is a guy that has made steady progress through the last two years. Oen of the big things has been turning on the inside fastball. Did you like what you saw out of Brad?

Carlos Lezcano: He was very durable. He played almost 130-some games. He played center, played left. He's got speed. He can bunt very well.

He just needs to work on keeping the ball out of the air and on his mechanics. His back foot leaves the ground when he swings at the ball.

He just needs to hit the ball more on the ground, which would be more important than pulling the ball right now. Then with his speed he can get a little more hits.

Is Matt Clark going to have trouble at the higher levels because of his height and how long his swing can become?

Carlos Lezcano: It depends on how well he makes the adjustments. As he goes up, he likes to hit a little close to the plate, and they're going to pound him inside. He's another guy with a lot of RBI, with home run power. The bat is going to carry him. It just depends on how well he makes adjustments.

What impressed you about James Darnell this year?

Carlos Lezcano: His hitting mainly, nice body. He has outstanding power. He's a competitor. Offensively, he did a very good job for us, getting on base, average; pretty much the whole package.

On third base he did improve from the last time I saw him. We'll go from there on his defense, but his defense did get better. My only concern is whether he can play third base at the higher levels, but he did better and we'll see how much it progresses in the coming years.

How do you compare him to a guy like Logan Forsythe who was with you earlier in the year?

Carlos Lezcano: Logan reminds me of a young Matt  Williams, that body type guy. He's got a nice swing. Defensively, he's more developed than Darnell. I think he could play third base in the big leagues someday. He's another baseball player, he's got a quick bat.

He needs to be a little more aggressive on the play, especially with men in scoring positions. He misses a lot of pitches sometimes with his pent-uppedness, but he's durable and he's a quiet leader, plays a good third base. He hit third for me while he was here, he did an outstanding job.

Were you surprised by the progress of Luis Martinez at the plate and defensively?

Carlos Lezcano: He was outstanding. He led the organization in percentage of throwing people out in second base, runners. He's durable. He's like a little bull right there. He blocks well, he throws well in the 1.8s (seconds). I got him timed at 1.85, 1.87, 1.89s to second base, which is very good.

With the batting, he hit .300. He stayed within himself. He hit a lot of balls up the middle and to right-center. I was very pleased.

I think he will be a backup catcher in the big leagues. He receives well, blocks well and throws well. If his hitting can come around, if he can hit .250, he is a Big League player.

Danny Payne had an inconsistent year. He had some good months and bad months. What does he need to do?

Carlos Lezcano: He's a kid with a lot of tools. He can run, he can throw. He's a good center fielder.

The question mark that would be on him is the bat. On cutting down his swing, he can have trouble with a pitch middle, away. If he figures he's hitting out – when I did my report, it graded very high because of his tools, but it is all going to depend on the adjustments on his swings. On his hitting. If he makes those adjustments and figures out the hitting part, we've got a big league player there also.

Beamer Weems had a very good year but struggled down the stretch. Was that him getting tired?

Carlos Lezcano: Yes, I think it was his first full year. I don't think he's played this long in his life. I think he was getting a little tired in the end and that was the main reason for the decline on his bat.

There is no questioning his glove. He made the postseason All-Star at shortstop mainly because of his defense. He can really play short.

Lance Zawadzki who you saw early in the year really seemed to see the ball well during his time with you.

Carlos Lezcano: He didn't stay here long enough, he could have stayed longer (laughing). He's got very good tools, this kid has power from both sides. He's very athletic. He moves well. He played a pretty good shortstop for us. He did a pretty good job at shortstop in Double-A. He can always go back to second base, I think his best position might be a power guy on second base. He's got some tools, and he can hit with power from both sides.

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