Padres' Prospect Interview: Beamer Weems

San Antonio, TX: Shortstop Beamer Weems was drafted by the San Diego Padres in the eighth-round of the 2008 draft out of Baylor University. Weems, a native of Virginia Beach, Virginia, is considered one of the better defensive players in the organization with unbelievable hand-eye coordination and stronger arm than recognized.

He grew up in a baseball family as his father was a two-time All-ACC player at Clemson who later played in the Houston Astros organization and was an assistant baseball coach at Old Dominion University.

Until August of last year, the switch-hitting Weems was having his best year at the plate, hitting .283/.438/.392 on August 4 until the length of the season wore him down, as he hit just .134 for the rest of the month.

This year in San Antonio some hamstring problems caused him to miss the first three weeks of the season and he has been off to a slow start at the plate since returning, eventually returning to the disabled list again.

How did you get the nickname Beamer?

Beamer Weems: My Dad's name is Billy and they used to call him "Weamer" when he was growing up. My Mom kind of came up with the nickname by putting together "Billy" and "Weamer" together and came up with "Beamer".

You played college ball at Baylor but you actually grew up in the Virginia Beach area. How did you end up at Baylor?

Beamer Weems: When I was a sophomore in high school, I went to a tournament in Atlanta and the Baylor coach was there and he offered me a visit and I fell in love with it.

Being from Virginia Beach they have some pretty famous players that have come out of that area, the Uptons, Ryan Zimmerman, David Wright and Mark Reynolds. Did you play against any of those guys?

Beamer Weems: I played against and with many of them - the Uptons, Mark Reynolds, Ryan Zimmerman - in either high school games or in travel leagues.

Must have really made you improve playing against that quality of competition.

Beamer Weems: Sure, it was a great learning experience watching how they play and go about their business.

Last year, the knock on you was that you were always a great defensive player but no one was sure about the bat. Until the last month of the season, you were really putting up some numbers. What was the big difference which allowed you to perform?

Beamer Weems: As a switch-hitter I've always kind of struggled with trying to get my swing right, especially with the wood bats. I worked a lot with the hitting coach at Lake Elsinore and kind of came up with a good approach on both sides of the plate, not just one.

As a switch-hitter you see two different approaches. One, are the guys that try to be exactly the same on both sides and the other is really two different hitters. Which camp do you fall into?

Beamer Weems: Its kind of difficult to be the same from both sides and I'm kind of different from one side to the next. The key is to figure out an approach that works for you on each side. I'm a little stronger on the right than left side. A big part of it also is pitch selection and knowing the pitcher you are going against to have a plan.

Since you are a natural right-hand hitter when did you start switch-hitting? Second, guys like you always tend to struggle more on the right than the left because you see so many right-handed pitchers?

Beamer Weems: That is true, but this year we have been seeing a lot of lefties. This year the Texas League seems like it has a lot of them. Growing up, I faced about 70 to 80 percent right-handers.

I started to mess around with switch-hitting when I was 13 or 14.

Did you ever get frustrated and feel like giving it up?

Beamer Weems: There were a few times but you just have to stick it out. The organization likes me doing it and I'm going to figure it out. It has taken me a little longer than I would like, but I'll get there.

I've been doing this for awhile and never looked forward to seeing someone take infield as much as you do. At first, I thought it was a bit of hot-dogging when I saw you take balls between your legs and some of the other stuff but that is really just the way you get yourself into the game it seems.

I still don't know how you are so fluid.

Beamer Weems: [laughs] Thanks, I appreciate that. Its not showing off but I've just taken so many ground balls out there I try to find things to keep my concentration going out there. I try to be as smooth as possible because its going to help you in the games. I do it with a few ground balls because it just helps to get me in the groove before the games.

Everything looks so fluid. Your throws are always on the run. One of the guys who watches you quite a bit pointed out that you have a much better arm than you show when you set your feet which isn't often, because you get rid of the ball so quickly.

Beamer Weems: I really never throw it a hundred percent unless I have too because you want to save your arm in a long season. If I can get it over there quickly the first baseman has more time to react in case I am inaccurate.

What is the biggest thing you need to do to improve upon defensively?

Beamer Weems: Just making the routine plays defensively. Don't take any ground balls for granted. The pitcher did his job, now its up to me do mine.

Don't get too lackadaisical and concentrate.

You play 140 games out there. Is it difficult to mentally stay in the game because you can't take any plays off out there.

Beamer Weems: The first year, it was more of a challenge, especially the first year coming out of college. In college it was a few games a week, here its every day. A couple years under my belt now I think I'm getting a little better at it.

Who is the most underrated player on the team?

Beamer Weems: I guess I would have to go with Andy Parrino, who has really played to his potential. He came up as a fill-in and has really done the job.

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