Padres Prospect Interview: Griffin Benedict

In 2009, the San Diego Padres selected catcher Griffin Benedict in the 16th-round out of Georgia Southern. The left-handed hitting Benedict, the son of former Atlanta Braves catcher Bruce Benedict, was a four-year starter for the Eagles, hitting .412/.532/.679 in his final season.

In his first season with the Padres, Benedict split time between the plate and left field in Eugene with a brief call-up to the Fort Wayne TinCaps to fill in for the injured Adam Zornes. As with most players coming off of a full college season, his numbers weren't great at .259/.348/.345 with the Emeralds and .286/.375/.286 in 23 plate appearances with Fort Wayne.

This year should be a much better indication of what he is capable of doing. The organization likes his swing and the potential defense he brings behind the plate.

Last year in Eugene and Fort Wayne, you were back and forth between the outfield and catcher. Where did they playing you this spring?

Griffin Benedict: I've just been behind the plate. I think last year it was a way for me to get some more at-bats which I was happy to take. I think I belong behind the plate, and that is where I was all spring training.

I can tell that you look pretty happy being behind the plate. You put a pretty positive spin on being in the outfield last year.

Griffin Benedict: Well, my first love is catching, but anytime you can get your way into the lineup, you have to do it. I was happy that they gave me a shot in the outfield, but I'm just more comfortable behind the plate.

Going into your first full year do you think its going to be an easier year because you will have a better idea of what to expect?

Griffin Benedict: Coming to the Instructional League helped me with Spring Training too; knowing what to really expect. I've been enjoying myself and really getting a lot of work in.

Last summer when we spoke, you were really upset with your swing, how has that been coming along? Are you happy now?

Griffin Benedict: No, we still have some work to do, but I've made some improvements since last year.

What is the biggest problem that you see with your swing without getting too technical for us laymen?

Griffin Benedict: In laymen's terms, just staying on the ball longer. Keeping my barrel in the strike zone as long as I can. It's a constant struggle, but I feel that I got a little bit better at it all the time.

Put you on the spot. I know that you can see improvement from all the pitchers but has anyone really stood out? You caught Michael Watt today and he looked pretty good.

Griffin Benedict: Watt has looked good and Jerry Sullivan has come in and thrown strikes. Right now, everyone is looking pretty good and doing what the coaches ask, throw strikes and pitch to contact.

Watt pitched well but he doesn't seem like a fun guy to catch. About everything he throws is low and hard with quite a few pitches ending up in the dirt.

Griffin Benedict: Yeah, the life of a catcher. [laughs]. He's a serious guy on the field, and when he's on, he's fun to catch, but its always a challenge.

What is the biggest thing that you are going to try to improve upon in Fort Wayne this season?

Griffin Benedict: Just really getting to learn the staff on the team and keep working on becoming a better catcher. You have to take care of your body and try to get better everyday.

Anywhere they put me I will be excited to play.

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