Franchuk on San Antonio prospects

Is Luis Durango ready for primetime? Is Logan Forsythe too passive? What was the story with Cedric Hunter? Was Kellen Kulbacki hurt early on as well? Has Lance Zawadzki turned the corner? Hitting coach Orv Franchuk provided the answers on these San Diego Padres prospects.

Luis Durango – here is a guy that for the last several years has had his doubters yet he continues to produce. I wonder if he gets himself into trouble because he has such good bat control and swings at balls out of the zone and get himself out.

Orv Franchuk: Luis is very gifted speed wise. He can do a lot of things. His defense, because he runs so well and he's gifted in that part of his game, he has a tendency to not work very hard at a defense. He could be better with his routes, and he could be better with getting jumps and knowing the hitters and he wasn't real good with doing that.

Then his at-bat plan, I had to remind him a lot, especially his left-handed swing is not as good as his right-handed swing. He's a natural right-handed hitter, a much better hitter right-handed. Left-handed, I had him bunt most, I reminded him of butting the ball on a daily basis because his swing is okay, it wasn't a swing that was going to hit .300, so he could probably bunt .300 in the Big Leagues.

He's always got a smile on his face. He's a good kid.

He's not real team oriented and players a lot of times aren't like that because they've had to fight and scratch and steal their way growing up. They never had anything and they were poor. So being team guys, they're not used to, as long as they get their two hits or three hits, they think that everything's good, and if the team loses, they don't understand that. He got a lot better with that. It will be interesting to see where his career goes because he definitely has the tools to be pretty successful.

Logan Forsythe was with you for 60-70 games. He is someone who has been too passive at times. Did you see that as well?

Orv Franchuk: Yes, I did, and I kind of mentioned it to different people. We talked about it. I guess I would rather see that because I think he can go to the aggressive side. I've seen him go to the aggressive side and be aggressive too.

We've talked about it a lot. The good thing about it is he has such a good swing, and he has so much confidence with two strikes that he'll take that tough pitch in the corner early in the count as opposed to guys that don't have good two-strike approaches. They're afraid to get the two strikes and as a result they're not very selective early in the count and they get themselves out early.

He's another guy, competitor, plays hard, knows how to play the game. He hasn't been in professional ball very long, and he's moving right along. I think this guy's going to be a big leaguer not too long down the road.

Cedric Hunter turned it down the stretch. What changed for him to finally allow him to see success?

Orv Franchuk: It was a continual thing with him from day one till the end. Just a difficult kind of guy to reach in that, it wasn't the trust thing, he trusted me and everything. His father was probably his biggest fan and his biggest coach growing up, and he trusted a lot of the things that his dad did with him with his swing. So there was a little bit of that barrier.

He turned it on, you're right, the last three or four weeks, he hit the ball as hard and a low as anybody we had in our club. So that was nice to end that way and he's going to take that into the fall league and hopefully succeed there as well.

Defensively, probably one of the better outfielders that I've spent time with baseball all the years that I've been involved. Great routes, knew the hitters, threw guys out at the plate; just a really good outfielder. Whether or not he plays center field in the big leagues, I don't know, but to me that's his best position. He can play all three spots, but I think his best position is center field.

I am going to test your memory a little and talk about Kellen Kulbacki. You had him for two months and the power wasn't there at all. I don't know if the shoulder ailment was still bothering him.

Orv Franchuk: You're right on that, I'm not sure if he was lazy or he was hurt. I think he was hurt. His whole day had to be more structured for me. Some days he'd get to the park early and did his little routine, and some days he wouldn't get there till five minutes before stretch. Priorities weren't real good. Again, when you're hurt, all that stuff is affected by that.

I can't give you a real good evaluation other than when he takes batting practice he can put on a show. The way the ball comes of his bat is real special. He runs good enough, he throws good enough; he's got all the tools.

The only question that I would have right now is whether it was the injury that affected his everyday work ethic or was it just that's who he is. I don't know that and I can't tell you that.

Lance Zawadzki has always had the tools but has never seemed to put all of the pieces together. What did you see out of Lance this year?

Orv Franchuk: I see, like you just said, a "tools guy" that really has a chance to be a special. He could be an over evaluator; he's pretty hard on himself.

I think his swing from the right side is better than it is from the left side. He flies off the ball and his lower half takes over from the left side. We worked on that. There were days when he was really good, and there were days when his effort level gets real high and his lower half kicks over and he flies off the ball.

He's got a plus arm, he's got above average speed. He's a switch-hitter with power. Another guy that if he didn't get to the big leagues, I'll be surprised. He needs to get better with not being to hard on himself and realizing that he's going to make some outs. He got better with that, though. He wasn't so hard on himself toward the end. We spent a lot of time talking about that. He expects to hit every time he goes to the plate.

Eric Sogard is always the guy with the plan. He has an idea of what he wants to do with every pitch and every at-bat and is very good at executing it.

Orv Franchuk: You got it. Everything you said is true. Another guys that's prepared, not only his baseball, but his whole routine. Every day when he get to the park, his whole life is very, when he wakes up in the morning from the time he goes to bed, he's got a little bit of a routine and he's got a schedule and he eats well and he works out and he eats protein and all that stuff. He's just a guy that's on a mission, it's almost like, ‘I'm going to do this and I'm going to do it the right way and I'm going to get there.' That's where he's at.

Defensively, he needs to work on his agility a little bit. His range could be a little bit better. I think that a good agility program in the off-season, which he's going to do, that would really help him. I would be surprised if he didn't make the Triple-A club this year.

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