Padres Prospect Interview: Brad Chalk

San Diego Padres prospect Brad Chalk is fighting for playing time. Despite a quality 2009, he still has some stuff to work on in terms of consistency and being more aggressive.

How you've matured as a baseball player since coming into the system.

Brad Chalk: I just started working and figuring out what it took for me to get ready for games. When you start playing every day; my work ethic hasn't changed much. I still try to keep a routine before a game. I'm not fortunate to have the basic hitting fundamentals that a lot of these guys have. It's still a work in progress for me, or so it seems. I actually have to put in a lot of extra work than a lot of these guys. I just have to keep doing it to keep at this level.

One coach had mentioned you might never incorporate the lower half. Is that true? Is that a fair assessment? Is that the goal?

Brad Chalk: I think it'll get there. Sometimes, it's there. It's just consistency. That's just what it takes.

Can you talk a little bit about the improvements you have made in base running and how you continue to get better at that and bunting.

Brad Chalk: I always pride myself on base running and bunting. I've always been a pretty good bunter. It's just another way to get on base, another tool that I can use if I'm not hitting. I can help out the team in that way. It'll keep me in the lineup. That's always a plus for me. I'm still working on a couple of those push spots. Dave Roberts is helping us out. I'm learning some new things, a lot of new things.

How is that aggressive style going to play into your game this year? What can you take advantage of? We know you can steal basis. You have to steal more, I think.

Brad Chalk: Yeah, exactly. I'm not satisfied. I got a little too picky last year, when I should have ran. I'm trying to push the envelope this year and really see what my boundaries are. It's a big year for me, as a player. I'm just ready to see how it unfolds.

You've been a guy who kind of waves the bat as the pitch is thrown. Have you ever thought about keeping that stationary? It seems like it could be a different swing almost every time, depending on where the bat is, you know?

Brad Chalk: I've heard. Actually, Torni (Fort Wayne hitting coach Tom Tornicasa) mentioned that to me, plenty of times. I've done that before. I've toyed with it. It's almost instinct. I work on it, but I just do it. It's almost like I'm trying to figure out where the bat head is at. I'm wiggling it, like, ‘Oh, there it is.' Maybe I'll try that out. Maybe I need to start. I try out a lot of stuff. I'm not afraid to try stuff, especially when we were in spring training.

How much do you throw away? How much do you keep?

Brad Chalk: I probably filter. It's hard to say, because I hear a lot of stuff. Like, just keeping my hands back. For a while, I thought my hands were back, but now I can see.

Does that video validate those kinds of questions?

Brad Chalk: Oh yeah. You can learn a lot from videos. I'll see myself. I did come off the ground, there. I did get my lower half through.

What about the ball away? Sometimes you're almost coming off that ball away.

Brad Chalk: Exactly. I just have to keep my hands inside the ball. I got so pull-conscious there for a while that I was looking for that ball in the middle-in, because they were pounding me there for so long. Then, I started hitting the balls, and they started going away. It's like a cat and mouse game. Yeah, I need to be more consistent at the higher levels. I'm going to have to shorten that up and really stay inside the ball.

Is the key to success for you to keep the ball out of the air?

Brad Chalk: Definitely. That's a battle every day. That's just one of those things. In the games, I try to stay on top. It just comes. Right now, my timing is a little off, of course. The pitchers are ahead of the hitters. There's no excuse for me to be hitting those balls up in the air. Especially, if I end up in San Antonio, the ballparks don't play like in Cali where I can hit those gappers. I still like to drive those balls. At the same time, I have to know that for me to make it to the major leagues, it's going to be as an on-base guy.

You mentioned working out in the off season. What was the goal?

Brad Chalk: Right at 190, I tell you.

Is that good enough? Do you need to continue that process? What does "getting stronger" really mean?

Brad Chalk: I think it's just the emphasis. I started using my legs. I started squatting again, ever since my back was injured. It's a huge plus for me to get my legs into it. That's pretty much where that weight is coming in. Once I started squatting again, it just came back like that. Upper body strength. I'm becoming more physical as I get older. It's a far stretch from that 170 I used to weigh.

We all know you have a lot of great teammates and this does not take away from anyone you don't mention. If you could have one hitter hitting behind you in the lineup all season to offer protection, who would it be and why?

Brad Chalk: Logan Forsythe. He's one of the best hitters in the organization. He handles the bat to all fields. I'm seeing fastballs flying all over the place.

The way I look like it, they're not trying to get me on base. They're going after me. They're not walking me. That's automatic for me.

Who is the one pitcher you are glad you have as a teammate and why?

Brad Chalk: Right now, Simon Castro. From what I saw. I don't know if you were at that game this spring. Six up, six down. Didn't even sniff a ball. Didn't even foul a ball up, I don't think. Just a slider. It's unfair. The guys had no idea it was coming or what to do with it.

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