FORT WAYNE, Ind.— Last year Jack Suwinski was one of the players that Padres’ fans waited to see if he would sign early with the club and forgo his commitment to play baseball at Indiana University.
The Padres pushed the young left-handed outfielder and pushed him to the Midwest League, where he is four years younger than the players he is playing and competing against.
He has struggled in the first half with a .206/.307/.324, but has shown some flashes of things are starting to come around.
“Jack can do some things, he’s a good defensive player, sneaky fast on the bases and has a good eye for the strike zone,” said TinCaps’ manager Anthony Contreras.
“The goal now is to get him to put the ball in play a little more. If he can get his barrel on the ball a little more he’s going to be better able to take advantage of the talent that he has.”
“By keeping his stroke short and and up the middle, things are going to start falling.”
When I spoke to you in Spring Training you were excited about coming out to the Midwest League. You are only 18 and about four years younger than most of the guys you are competing against.
What has been your biggest adjustment?
Jack Suwinski: The age difference is pretty big but at the same time it doesn’t affect me. I’ve been playing with and against different ages all of my life and had to compete at those levels.
One thing people don’t realize is just how much baseball is played at the high school level. In addition to playing 35 to 40 games for your high school you also had pretty extensive Fall and Summer schedule. Could you talk about that a little?
Jack Suwinski: Between all of the baseball that I played, it’s kind of three different seasons and close to 100 games. Now it’s all one big schedule, but it did help me get used to preparing for playing every day.
I was playing four, five and even six times a week sometimes.
Did it help you with your preparation in learning how to work on things before a game and then go out and play?
Jack Suwinski: It’s just part of the game and it’s how you make adjustments. Any good player will tell you that you have to constantly be looking for ways to get better; which is making adjustments. It helps you to get better and keep climbing the ladder.
It’s always been what I’ve tried to do.
You have posted a good on-base percentage but at the same time you would like to see a higher batting average as well. How do you balance between being patient and being aggressive?
Jack Suwinski: [laughs] That is a tough question. When i first got out here I was seeing the ball really well, and I’m still seeing the ball really well. I’m becoming more aggressive as I become better at understanding where I want the ball and having a better idea of what the pitcher is trying to do.
The big adjustment is being aggressive when I get the pitch I want early in the count and doing something with it.
In the Spring you were talking about a big part of what you wanted to accomplish this season was to become more disciplined at the plate in waiting for the right pitch. You wanted to get the ball in a certain spot so you could drive it.
Is that still your mentality?
Jack Suwinski: Definitely. I think that is why i am able to see the ball so well. When you narrow the zone to your zone, and not the strike zone it helps you to understand when to take a pitch and when to look to drive something early in the count.
With two strikes do you widen the zone?
Jack Suwinski: I will widen it some and choke up a bit. I want to get my foot down a little earlier and maybe widen out some with my stance.
You have been playing a lot of center with Buddy Reed on the disabled list. Do you feel comfortable out there? [Editor’s note: When the interview was conducted in late May, when Jack was seeing more time in center with Buddy Reed on the disabled list.]
Jack Suwinski: Yes, I played a lot of center growing up although I didn’t get that many reps out there this spring. Really, I’m pretty comfortable at all three outfield positions.
If you can run, isn’t center the easiest outfield position to play because you get the best view of the ball?
Jack Suwinski: I know the angles and backspin when you play the corners can get you, but in a way I can see that.
There are some videos on YouTube of you pitching. Do you miss pitching at all?
Jack Suwinski: No, not at all.
I’ve never met one position player that talks about missing pitching?
Jack Suwinski: No, and I don’t think you are going to find many either.
Jack Suwinski Pitching