Padres Prospect Draft Interview: Chris Bisson

Chris Bisson (pronounced Bee-sown) already has friends in the San Diego Padres system. He knows Sawyer Carroll as a Kentucy almuns as well as fellow draftees B.J. Guinn and Rico Noel who he played with in summer ball. He hopes the transition will help him, as will his Cape Cod experience with the wood bat.

Chris, Congratulations on being taken by the Padres in the fourth round. Talk to me a little bit about what you were feeling at the time of the selection.

Chris Bisson: A crazy feeling in going from not being a big prospect out of high school and having perhaps a backward step when I first came into college. I show up and it was a tough freshman year. But in two years, in my sophomore and junior seasons, I turned it all around. To be drafted now, especially in the fourth round, it is just surreal. I am still soaking it in.

Are you familiar with Sawyer Carroll? Did you get a chance to talk to him?

Chris Bisson: Yes. I talked to him. He talked to me. He has gone through the organization and certain clubs I might be going to. We talked about the new ballpark in Eugene and the coaching staff. We started talking a little bit last night.

Now how nice is that to have a little comfort zone to go into an organization where you know somebody?

Chris Bisson: It is funny because this summer I played with Rico Noel and B.J. Guinn and that is already a good start right there. If we managed to end up on the same team, that would be pretty interesting.

You talked a little bit about struggling that freshman year and then turning things on. What happened and what changed in your mental approach?

Chris Bisson: It is just one of those things where you either give up or you keep grinding and find a way to be successful. During my freshman year, I definitely understood the things I have to work on and the new level of competition. Now it is pretty much the same thing where I am in the minor leagues and I plan on taking the same approach. I am going to look at all my flaws and try to improve on everything.

Is there a particular weakness that you feel is in your game. You have eliminated a lot of them, but do you still feel there is something missing?

Chris Bisson: Every baseball player has to know who he is, what his job is, and where he fits in the order. I am a leadoff hitter, a 1-2 or 8-9 player. I am the guy that gets on and steals bases for the other guys to hit me in - the 3-4 guys that hit RBI. With me you may not get 30 homers a year. I do have some pop in my bat, but I understand that my game is more line drives and ground balls to get on base for the "big boys" to hit me in.

You stole 32 bases last year. You come into an organization that is really stressing to push the pace. That works to your advantage, does it not?

Chris Bisson: I am just trying to do my best to bring every tool that I have to the table. I will try my best to make sure that they see my skill sets. Hopefully they see that and they use it for the full potential.

How is your bunting? That is big these days and not a lot of people are real great at it.

Chris Bisson: I am a good generic lead-off hitter. I am fast and I get on the bases. I use the short game a little bit to bring the infield in and that goes to my advantage especially when I hit ground balls. If they are in, they have less range and often that can work to your advantage.

What is your best moment in baseball so far and why?

Chris Bisson: I believe the 10th game of the year, as a sophomore in college. I was brand new to the game and I had not played any college baseball. We were down two runs in the ninth inning to Eastern Kentucky when I hit a walk off homerun. It was an absolute homer, a "no doubter". It was a surreal feeling to get that "party at the plate", because I had never gotten to do that before. That was a lot of fun.

The only other one would be getting drafted. I never in my wildest dreams imagined getting drafted. Even when I was in high school, I just believed I would go to school around here and get a University of Carlton degree and stay at home and study. But I keep getting those little slip ins, those little chances. Getting drafted by the Padres is surreal to me.

One thing I heard when I talked to the Padres was that you had great "makeup". What does that mean?

Chris Bisson: I am the type of guy that for a lot of scouts it may be hard to see. I am not 6-foot-5 with tremendous power. I am the scrappy little guy that loves to play the game. I show it every time I play a game. You can see that I love the game and when I am out there, there really are not many problems for me. I just love being aggressive and I believe that is what many people notice when they come out and see me play the game. It is exciting to watch.

You walked nearly as many times as you struck out this past season. How important is that pitch selection to your overall game?

Chris Bisson: Absolutely essential. As a leadoff hitter you have to learn the difference between being patient and being aggressive. If you give me a walk, I am standing on third within the next eight pitches. To me that's big. Having a 1-1 ratio with strikeouts and walks, that is one of the things that you look for in a leadoff hitter and to me it is very important.

What do you think your teammates would say about the way you play?

Chris Bisson: My teammates would say that they love playing with me. They would say I am really hard worker and a scrappy player. I like earning respect from everybody I play with. Even though I am not the best player in the entire world, I am going to go out there and give my heart out just so every player knows I am backing them up and I am playing for them. I want to earn respect from everybody and the friendships that come out of it are great. That is why I play baseball in the first place. That is probably the most important thing to me.

Who would you compare your game at the Major League level so Padres fans can get an idea of what your game is really like?

Chris Bisson: I am a Rafeal Furcal, Scott Podesednick type of player.

Those are good players. What about hockey?

Chris Bisson: I played when I was a little kid, and that was about that. I started playing basketball, volleyball, and baseball all year round. I like mixing it up. I am not your typical Canadian.

What are you looking forward to as you head into professional baseball here?

Chris Bisson: The experience. All I have ever wanted is to get drafted. I have been wondering and hoping for that my entire life. I know that is the first stepping stone to being a professional baseball player. Now that it is there, I am soaking it all in right now. I can't wait to get out there and play

We have talked a lot about your offense today, tell me a little bit about your defense where do your strengths lie defensively?

Chris Bisson: My strengths are that I range out, I dive, I keep the ball in front of me. I love turning double plays - absolutely love it. Every time someone is one first base, I just hope the ball is hit to me or another infielder just so we can turn it because that is one of my favourite things to do defensively.

If a guy is leaning on first base too much I am going to make sure that the catcher knows that I am asking for a back pick at first base. I always try to pick out little things. Sometimes if a batter is struggling with a certain pitch and I can tell because I am a hitter, I will take a time out and go to the mound. I just love playing baseball and I love paying attention to everything. It is fun for me.

What was the Cape Cod experience like and how much will that help you going back to the wood bat?

Chris Bisson: I played with a wood bat in high school. Even though we didn't have a high school baseball team, we had a travel team and we used wood. So I have been using wood since I was a little kid. Playing this summer in the Cape Cod league was unbelievable. I heard stories about just the prospects go to the Cape, but I was lucky to get on a team and to showcase my skills. The whole summer all I did was just run, run, run – steal bases. I was really excited I got to do that and I did really well at it. I am excited to go back to that trend in baseball.

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