Padres Prospect Interview: Chris Bisson

Eugene, OR: Chris Bisson was drafted in the fourth-round of the 2010 draft by the San Diego Padres out of the University of Kentucky. The native of Ottawa, Ontario profiles as the quintessential lead-off man; good speed, base stealing ability and the ability to hit the ball into the gaps.

He caught most of the scouts attention with a very good summer in the Cape Cod League, where he led the league with 36 stolen bases in 36 games and posted a .385 on-base percentage.

Bisson, who will turn 21 on August 14, profiles more as a second baseman than a shortstop, but he has the ability to play all infield positions.

The first thing that I ask all Canadians is that something like 75-percent of all you guys hit left-handed but only 10 percent of you throw left-handed. Does that have something to do with growing up playing hockey?

Chris Bisson: To me, it was pretty much just picking up a bat and swinging it. I was playing some street hockey and baseball and just kind of picked a side; but yeah that is a pretty cool stat on Canadians, and I think it is related somewhat to hockey.

How did you end up being hooked on baseball growing up in Canada?

Chris Bisson: My high school didn't offer it. They didn't have enough money for it, but I always liked the game growing up and playing it in Little League. It hooked me on keeping my friends that were outside my school district and it was the same way in high school, and I just really grew to love it.

I was sad my senior year in high school because I didn't think I was going to be able to keep on playing it and I got this offer out of nowhere. I had made this provincial team, which is kind of like all state here, and the University of Kentucky saw me and I was able to get a spot.

For someone from Canada to get drafted, it's pretty tough, so when I went to Kentucky I thought this is going to be my last four years of playing ball. Then I got drafted after my junior year and thought this is awesome, I get to keep on playing.

It seems like you have always had the odds stacked against you. No high school team which is very tough. I'm sure you started pretty far down on the depth chart at UK so actually being a fourth round pick of the team is a pretty good position for you.

Chris Bisson: Being Canadian and not having a real high profile you really have to put yourself out there. Come to the park, play hard, be a good teammate and don't create drama.

I love baseball so much that I want to make everyone enjoy themselves as much as I am. I really try to make that extra effort, which I think is hustling all the time.

You were picked in the fourth round so you must have has some scouts coming around, especially after you put up good numbers in the Cape Cod League. Did that change your approach at all going into your junior year?

Chris Bisson: My work ethic is always going to be a hundred percent in whatever I do; whether its on the field, off the field, in-season or off-season. There were some more scouts around but it was for me about trying to get our team to the post-season.

We always hear you guys talk about "work ethic", could you give us an idea of what that means; especially in the off-season.

Chris Bisson: To me, it's about keeping things consistent and getting a routine; because that is what you are going to do in the season. It's about being in the best shape before the season so you can keep progressing. I try to take a lot of ground balls with my friends so the arm is good. Swing the bat, to keep my swing consistent. Also I like watching baseball games in the winter on tape which help to keep me into the game.

How have you adjusted to the wooden bats?

Chris Bisson: The team that I played with in high school, we used wood, and in the summer, I always played with wood because in Canada that is what the summer league teams use.

Any reason why they are wood?

Chris Bisson: I don't know, it's just the way things have always been up there. All of summer league games in Ontario were with wood.

Other than that, I played on the Cape and it wasn't that big adjustment. Playing in front of all these people in Eugene is fun.

How was playing on the Cape?

Chris Bisson: It was awesome. Our coach, Mike Roberts, asked me how many stolen bases that I had the previous year and when I said 13, he said,"but you are fast" and I said that I thought I was.

Then he said, "well I'm just going to let you go" and I really had a good year stealing 36 in 36 games and really loved that aspect of the game of get on and be aggressive.

It seems that is what the Padres have been preaching this year but also stealing bases seems to be about much more than raw speed, but more about quickness and reading the pitcher. Could you explain that a little more?

Chris Bisson: Absolutely. The other night I was watching the opposing pitcher and he was a one count, then head tilt and go to the plate. The only time he threw over was before the head tilt.

He also had some similar moves when a runner was on second. If you can watch and pick up that extra time its what is going to make the difference. Some guys are blazing fast and get caught while other guys are not and steal the base.

When you can combine smarts and speed you can do some damage, which is where I am trying to get too.

The Padres have always placed high value on on-base percentage. Has that been part of your game of seeing a lot of pitches?

Chris Bisson: Definitely. I've always been a leadoff hitter and seeing a lot of pitches is almost mandatory. If you get a first pitch fastball down the middle, put a good swing on it. But for a singles, walks and stolen base guy like myself I really want to try to make the pitcher work. If I can see him three times and make throw 15 pitches then that is huge and will really add up.

I'm still going to be aggressive. If I have four at-bats and the first four pitches are all down the middle then I'm putting a good swing on it. However, if it's marginal, then I'm going to wait and see what else comes later in the count.

What is the biggest thing you are going to work on this year in Eugene?

Chris Bisson: Have fun. The last thing I want to do is put pressure on myself with numerical goals. I'm twenty years old, playing in a great park and city. We are on artificial turf so I'm never going to get a bad bounce so I'm just going to soak it all in and enjoy it.

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