Padres Prospect Interview: Beamer Weems

San Diego Padres prospect Beamer Weems is so fluid defensively that many think he can play in the majors today. The bat has been the primary question, although he went a long way towards assuaging concerns last season. While he got off to a slow start, he is looking to build upon that in 2010 by keeping the additional weight and strength on.

It seems like you hit a little bit of a wall last year with the Storm during the month of August. Was that the rigors of your first full season?

Beamer Weems: Yes, definitely. Everyone was saying how long it was going to be, but I guess you never know until you do it. I tried to get it out of my head that it was that long, but I lost a lot of weight – I lost about 15 pounds. I think I might have neglected a little bit of working out that I should have done. Going through the first full season, I learned a lot of stuff and will be ready for it.

How do you maintain that weight. It seems really tough considering that you aren't necessarily eating the way you want to, the schedule is brutal, the heat gets to you.

Beamer Weems: When it is hot everyday, you also lose your appetite. The last thing you want to do after the game when it is 11 o'clock is eat. You just want to go to sleep. You don't want to make a protein shake or a sandwich. It is always a good thing to get calories in you, and you need to be disciplined.

Over the last year, I have learned a lot. I will be ready for this year.

What was the offseason like – another chance to add more weight and muscle to the frame?

Beamer Weems: I gained about 12 pounds so I got back into the 180s and I want to stay there all year. I lived in Waco and got to work out and do a lot of stuff there. I lifted with a couple of guys that are doing the same stuff I am doing. I feel like I am a lot stronger.

What is the comfort level you want to be at with your weight?

Beamer Weems: I think 185 to 190 is a good playing weight. If I do dip down, I want to keep my strength. I think it was in August where I lost the weight. If I do lose weight, I want to keep my strength. I don't want to be lighter and weaker.

There has been a lot of talk about this Petco Park, small ball mentality. How does that fit into your game?

Beamer Weems: I am not a power hitter so that is fine with me. I know I need to do all the small things, move the runner, hit-and-run, those kinds of things. It seems like it would be a great fit for me. It is what I have been trying to do the last couple of years – what they are preaching to do the little things right. If I do all that, I think it will be a good fit.

Last year, your plate patience improved dramatically. What were the changes and how do you shrink your own zone?

Beamer Weems: I talked a lot with the hitting coaches and even in college since I felt like I was getting myself out a whole lot on 2-0 pitches just because it was 2-0 and being too aggressive and trying to do too much with a low, outside pitch. You are just throwing at-bats away that way. Now, I am not worried about getting two strikes on me and not getting myself out early in the count by seeing more pitches. When you do that, they are going to make a mistake. You are not chasing early in the count and screwing yourself the rest of the at-bat.

There has been a little bit of a change in the philosophy here to be aggressive at 0-0 if you see a good pitch rather than necessarily seeing more pitches. How do you balance the two – aggression versus patience?

Beamer Weems: That is a tough one. You have to be really disciplined up there. They say to get a good pitch early on, but if the pitch isn't what you are looking for and is still a strike, you don't have to swing. They are saying don't miss the pitch right down the middle or middle-in – something you can do damage with. I don't think it is going to change much for me. I am not a big power hitter so it wont change too much.

Last year, when you were tired and losing some weight, were you too aggressive to compensate?

Beamer Weems: Definitely. When you are losing weight and strength, you are going to try and swing harder. When you try and swing harder and overcompensate, you are never doing anything good for yourself. That is another reason I want to keep the weight on and the strength.

You hit .300 with runners in scoring position last year. Is there a change in the philosophy when you see guys on base?

Beamer Weems: You always want to drive people in. I guess I was a little bit more locked in in those situations, which I guess is good, but I want to be locked in all the time. You always want to drive runs in, but I need to get on base so people can drive me in.

Former player development director Grady Fuson said you were a ‘surprise' last year. When you hear that, it is almost a double-edged sword.

Beamer Weems: I know I can hit. People keep saying, ‘if he hits.' I know I am going to hit. I need to figure some stuff out and work on some of the small things. It is not a question in my mind. I know I am going to hit. It is a compliment also like you said. They haven't seen me enough I guess. We have great hitting coaches too, and I am going to continue to work hard everyday. I know I will be fine.

Is keeping the ball out of the air one of your personal mantras?

Beamer Weems: Definitely, whenever I hit the ball into the air, especially if it is in the infield, it is not doing anyone any good. I would much rather hit the ball on the ground a few more times this year.

Do you feel like you have to maintain two swings as a switch-hitter?

Beamer Weems: It is tough. Sometimes you feel better one way. My swings are a little bit different. I try to be consistent both ways; it is tough being a switch-hitter. I just have to continue to work at it.

What are your 2010 goals?

Beamer Weems: I guess staying strong throughout the whole season and not trying to get carried away with trying to do too much. Do all the small things right and have a lot of fun.

You do some interesting things in infield practice. You try and make things harder than they actually are. I have seen you pick balls between your legs when you could have just put the glove down. What does that do for you?

Beamer Weems: It relaxes me. A lot of people think I am showing off, but it relaxes me and keeps me smooth. I have taken so many ground balls that I like to have fun out there. You see a lot of the Latin players having fun out there and we sometimes shy away from having fun – but I like having fun with the guys out there. I don't do it all the time but will mix it up. Baseball is too much fun not to enjoy it.

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?

Beamer Weems: I don't know about one – I would have to go with Sawyer Carroll, Matt Clark and Logan Forsythe. They all have a really good clue about what they are doing. I have learned so much from them each. They would allow me to definitely get some good pitches to hit.

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

Beamer Weems: Wynn Pelzer is pretty tough. I played with a lot of good pitchers but Pelzer – he gets a little bit wild sometimes and have seen him hit a few people, but when he is on it is pretty impressive.

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