Padres Prospect Scouting Report: Drew Macias

Padres Prospect Scouting Report: Drew Macias

The Padres were seeking strong defense in the middle of the field, thinking that a centerfielder with some range and sure hands would help their pitching staff. What they didn't expect was that same player to hit so well. Yet, Drew Macias provided all of that and more.

Known for his solid defense more than his bat, Drew Macias came into the year with a purpose. He wanted to prove he could hit as well as field.

After hitting .251 with Idaho Falls last year, the thinking was that he would be slightly overwhelmed at the dish.

A hot start paved the way for a solid season for Macias. He began the year with hits in 19 of his first 24 games, including nine multi-hit contests to give him a .360 batting average. His numbers declined to a more manageable .280-.300 for most of the year before a late season tailspin ended his year at .266. But all in all, the year was a success for a player that many thought would hover at .230.

"He was a pleasant surprise," Padres' Director of Player Development Tye Waller said. "He has always played a solid outfield for us. When we sent him there, it was to hopefully solidify the outfield – hoping that he could hit .240 and he would have a great year."

Macias ended up being 31st in the Midwest League in hitting among those who qualified with 300 or more at bats. That is pretty good for a league that many consider to be a pitcher's league.

He is the type of hitter that prides himself on not striking out a lot and he averaged one strikeout every other game to back it up.

"We like the way this guy plays the game," added Waller. "He is a very aggressive player."

While he is aggressive, he is still not averse to taking a walk. His 49 walks on the year gave him an on base percentage of .370.

His aggression did get him in a little trouble on the basepaths. He thieved 16 bases but was caught 14 times. He has the speed but has yet to harness how to effectively use it.

The biggest adjustment for Macias was the long season. He played in 62 games in 2003 and doubled that total to 129 while with the Wizards this year. The 100-game plateau is a tough one to pass and Macias would be the first to agree. He was hitting .290 at the end of July and .288 when he played in his 100th game of the season. It was then that the mental and physical strain weighed down heavily on the centerfielder.

"The last three weeks he only had about four or five hits," Wizards' broadcaster Terry Byrom relayed. "I think the season ended for him at a good time because I think frustration had set in. And when frustration sets in your confidence is shot, you go up to the plate and swing at the first pitch and there is a lot that goes wrong.

"Drew just needed it to come to an end. He can go into spring training next year and understand his body more and understand more about the everyday ground. He had over 500 plate appearances!"

"He exceeded our expectations and I think he got tired at the end," Waller concurred. "The way he was playing all year was pretty consistent. He has to feel good about himself and the year he had. That first full year is a challenge for anybody, especially for a young guy like Drew. He will continue to improve going into next year as well."

Macias was as good as advertised in the field and his showing at the plate has the Padres excited. He is a hard worker who puts in the extra work and the dividends are beginning to pay off. If he can continue to hit .324 with runners in scoring position as he did last year than the future looks awfully bright for the man once seen as a defensive specialist.

Denis Savage can be reached at denis@sandiegosports.net

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