Padres Prospect Interview: Paul Bingham

San Diego Padres prospect Paul Bingham was a hitting machine in college, earning a 20th-round selection in this year's draft. When you hit .463, everything seemingly went right. Can he be productive as a professional?

Paul Bingham, talk to me about being selected by the San Diego Padres – you go in the 20th-round – what was the feeling like?

Paul Bingham: The feeling was amazing. It was honestly probably the greatest day of my life. I have been waiting and dreaming for this day since I was five years old, and it actually came true. It goes to show what a little hard work can do. I got all the help I could possibly get from my parents, my coaches, and everybody around me being so supportive.

How exactly do you hit .463? I did not do that in Little League.

Paul Bingham: I got off to a really good start. I was pretty consistent all season. I got off to a good start and maintained that. I honestly did not have one lapse of focus all season. I wanted to win. I was excited to come to the ballpark everyday. That is the only reason I believe that I hit .460. I believe that is what you need to do everyday. I believe everyone has the potential to do so but you have to show up to the ballpark everyday, be focused, and do the hard work. That is all it came down to.

What was it like working under Coach Ditch. He has coached a number of Major Leaguers, Kevin Youkilis, Chase Headley among others.

Paul Bingham: It was an honor to be coached by him. I was in his first recruiting class. I know he is probably as thrilled as I am. It was awesome and a pleasure to be tutored by him and under him because he is such a great coach, a great guy, and a true team leader. It was an honor.

Talk a little bit about your game, offensively. What is it about?

Paul Bingham: My game offensively is "get on base" and do my job every at bat. If there is a guy on third base, hit the ball to the right side. Do my every day job. If I need a walk then I get a walk. If I need to steal a base then I steal a base. That is what I do. I do not try to do too much. I do what I need to do and I believe that is what made me such a successful player, in my mind.

You stole 45 bases this past year. Talk a little a bit about that aggressiveness, especially as you come into an organization that really preaches "pushing the pace".

Paul Bingham: Stealing 45 bases, that was hard work. I received a lot of help this summer in the Cape Cod League and working with Coach Roberts. I am excited to take it to the next level. I want to help the Padres organization and I know they are trying to focus on a lot of speed. I want to take it to the next level and help them win as many games as possible and go all the way with it.

Do you feel like with your ability to run the bags, you need to improve in your bunting?

Paul Bingham: Definitely. I was obviously not called upon to bunt a lot this year by hitting in the three hole. That is an area I will definitely focus on during the season and during practices. I will be called upon to do that many times, I guarantee you, and that will be one of my main focuses this season and in the off-season to come.

I have to imagine it is also looking for the base hit.

Paul Bingham: I will be working on that as well, i.e., drag bunting. I did a fair amount of that last year in the Cape Cod league, practicing bunting, sacrifice bunting, bunting for a hit. That is going to come back and be a big focus area for me.

You had more walks than strikeouts this past year. How important is that pitch selection to the overall ability of your game?

Paul Bingham: I have been very selective in the past four years in college. I have always had a decent eye for the strike zone. I wasn't such a power hitter and that helps. I am more of a contact hitter. With my speed, I have to get on base more. I believe I should walk more. Honestly, my batting average meant nothing to me. It was all about on-base percentage and getting on base because the team could use my speed. So that is what I did.

At 6'3" you still have some room to grow and mature. Do you feel that there is untapped power in there as well.

Paul Bingham: Yes. Every single year, my power numbers have skyrocketed. In my legs and core area, I have tons of room for improvement. This is the first year I lifted legs that much. I still think I have a ton of room to build my strength in that area and develop my explosion and power.

Talk a little bit about your defense at shortstop. Are you happy with the way it went this past season?

Paul Bingham: I am not happy with it. I am never going to be totally happy with it until I am fielding .1000. There is obviously work to do. I think I did an all right job. There is always improvement that anyone can make in their fielding. That will be another focus area I will try to attack.

Has there been anyone in the Major Leagues that people say you remind them of, or that you yourself feel it a little bit.

Paul Bingham: No, actually I have not been compared to anyone. I am sure in the near future, I will be as I get to wherever I am going and they check me out a little bit more. As of right now, no scouts have ever said anything.

Growing up in Pennsylvania, who was your favorite team?

Paul Bingham: Phillies.

Favorite player.

Paul Bingham: Darren Daulton. Now days, Chase Utlety is my favorite player.

What would your teammates say about you as a baseball player and the way you play on the field?

Paul Bingham: I hope they would say that I am always focused, always hardworking, the first one in the weight room and the last one out. I work my butt off. I hope that is what they think of me. I hope they can come out and say I was hardworking and a great guy to be around.

If someone says to you that you have great "makeup" what does it mean?

Paul Bingham: When someone says that to me, I think they are trying to say I am that kind of guy. I am a hard worker. I am literally the guy that is always in the weight room, busting my butt, taking extra BP, taking extra ground balls at practice. I never missed a practice, never missed a game. I was the only player to start every game and play every inning. I would hope my teammates would say I am a "gamer".

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