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Sunday, June 26, 2016

San Diego Padres Prospect Auston Bousfield Talks Baseball

The San Diego Padres have struggled to find their identity in recent seasons, finishing above .500 just three times in the last decade, entering the 2016 season. They last appeared in the playoffs in 2006 and don’t look like they will break that streak this year. However, if some of their young talent pans out, there may be a very bright future ahead. One of the young players who may play a role in the turnaround is speedy outfielder Auston Bousfield.

The right-handed batter followed a standout high school career in Florida with three outstanding seasons at the University of Mississippi. This led to his selection in the fifth round of the 2014 draft.

Primarily a centerfielder, Bousfield started out his professional career strongly. He hit .301 with 12 stolen bases in 45 games in 2014 (playing in short season), and a combined .268 with 23 stolen bases in 121 2015 games (playing at high Single-A and Double-A). He is off to a slow start this year, repeating Double-A. In 66 games, he is hitting just .167 with three home runs, 14 RBIs and eight stolen bases. While he has struck out 71 times, the 29 walks he has drawn shows that he is able to take a pitch. He has been particularly cold of late, going just 9-80 with 33 strikeouts in the month of June.

Although his struggles are alarming, it’s important to remember that he is a young player who is still refining his game and figuring out what does and doesn’t work in relation to his game. Continuing to play and to work with the coaches within the San Diego organization should give him a good chance to get back on track.

The 22-year-old Bousfield is considered a strong defensive player but isn’t known for his power, with nine long balls to his credit thus far in his career. Since San Diego plays in a park known for its expansive outfield, that will actually play up to his strengths.
This past offseason, Bousfield agreed to answer some questions about his career. Keep reading for more about this young player who may be an important piece to the future of the Padres.

Auston Bousfield Interview

Who was your favorite team and player when you were growing up, and why?: My favorite team growing up was the Atlanta Braves, and naturally my favorite player was Chipper Jones. They used to play on TBS every night when I was a kid so I would always come home and watch them play.

How did you decide to attend Ole Miss?: A couple of my buddies that I played summer ball with on the Orlando Scorpions had committed there before me and so when they offered to take me on a visit I accepted and fell in love instantly.

If you did not start a career as a professional ballplayer, what job field do you think you would have entered?: That’s actually a very good question.  I'm not sure what field I would have gotten into. It’s always been all about baseball for me so if I had to guess id say somewhere still around the game.

How did you first find out that the Padres were interested in you, and what was your draft experience like?: I first found out that the Padres were interested in me when they drafted me. I had met with them once in the fall for pre-draft meetings but I never got the vibe that they were very interested, so when I got the call from them on draft day I was just as surprised as any. I was actually in the elevator on my way down to the bus during our super regional in Louisiana-Lafayette when my college roommate called me and told me that I had just been drafted. He was the first to let me know.

What has been your favorite moment thus far from your professional career?: I don't have one moment that I can put my finger on at this point of my career. I have been surprised about all the great guys and friendships that I have developed already however.

Who has been your most influential coach or manager?: My high school summer ball coach Matt Gerber had a major influence on me as not only a player but also as a man. I have spent countless hours working with him on my craft, and in turn I feel like that has taught me a lot about myself and also about life.

What is the extent of your knowledge of baseball history?: I have always been a big baseball guy. I never really played any other sports competitively, so I would have to say that my knowledge of the game is pretty high. I watch a lot and like to learn about all the great players that have played before me.

What are your goals for 2016?: My goal for 2016 is to really just play to the best of my ability day in and day out. Not to get caught up in the results but to have fun and learn as much as I can.  

You can check me out on Facebook or follow me on Twitter @historianandrew

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