MadFriars' Off-Season: Connor Powers

When you are 23 and told that you are not breaking camp with the low-A club and get to look forward to an unforeseeable future of fun filled days at the spring training complex; its pretty easy to start wondering if baseball is going to work out for you.

But Connor Powers was determined to make the best of a bad situation. Coming off a tough debut with the Eugene Emeralds in 2010 where the former Mississippi State star hit .191, he retooled his swing, making it shorter and quicker through the zone.

When his chance came in early June he was ready and after a bit of a slow start he utterly destroyed the Midwest League hitting .338/.422/.538 and helping to propel the TinCaps into the playoffs.

We caught up with Connors before he was about to fly out to Peoria from his hometown in Chicago to find out how the off-season went for him. At 6-2, 225 lbs. Powers, a twenty-first round draft pick by the Padres in 2010, has played both first and third base in college and as a professional.

Before we get into last season and your plans for this year, tell us a little about DeadRedHitting.com.

Connor Powers: I knew quite a few people that were always asking me things about hitting so I started to look around on YouTube. I found some good things but also thought that I might have a few things to add.

Right now the site is just at the beginning stages and its something that I enjoy doing.

[Editor's note: It is a fun site and you can watch a pretty interesting video on how Connor breaks up the monotony of few too many times of hitting off of the tee.] You had a huge season last year after a disappointing debut in 2010. What did you work on in the off-season?

Connor Powers: Last year a big part of my success was just getting more athletic and I tried to stay on that path. Right now I'm around 222 lbs. with a lower body fat. If I can become more athletic I think I can become a more versatile and valuable player. I can play more positions and be better at them.

I was living around Starkville at Mississippi State so I had full access to the baseball facilities. A guy who really helped me with the athletic part was Jack Cascio at TwicetheSpeed.com.

Powers played both first and third for Fort Wayne in 2011.

Take us through some of your off-season workouts - both for baseball and trying to get in better shape.

Connor Powers: I took a few weeks off after Instructs then really started to get after it; especially the lifting and fitness parts. In January I was working more with fast-twitch muscles and for the baseball stuff I was fortunate to have some coaches throw me BP.

You have to be in a much different mindset than you were last year coming to spring training after the numbers you put up?

Connor Powers: You always want to be more comfortable because that enables you to perform better but at the same time in professional baseball you also have to be on your toes. The game is very much about what have you done for me now; there is always someone in front of you and in back.

What did the Padres give you in the off-season to work on?

Connor Powers: Our strength coach Dan Morrison gave us a base workout to do and then I added some supplementary stuff onto it. The big difference about being in the pros as opposed to college is that you need to constantly evaluate yourself on how to get better, what do I need to do to improve.

If you don't, you aren't going to be around for long.

When I was in extended last year a coach told me the difference between a college coach and a pro coach. If a college coach tells you to do something, its not really an option, you do it.

Powers hit .379/.488/.696 at his last year at MSU.

A pro coach makes suggestions but at the end of the day its on you to incorporate it, your choice. Then again, you are also responsible for your performance and your career.

Obviously the numbers you put up last year .338 with power you are always going to take. What was the biggest thing you learned last year that you believe will help give you success going forward?

Connor Powers: Mainly just how to go about playing pro ball, not getting to high and not getting too low. The season is just so long and if you start getting into a bit of a mental funk its going to stay with you a long time.

How do you deal with going 0-5 and say having three strikeouts? Connor Powers: Its always easier to play the next day if your team wins. I would much rather punch out four times and have us win.

As strange as it may sound, personally its a new day and a new opportunity. If you don't see it that way you are going to have a tough season.

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