MadFriars Q & A: Paul McAnulty

McAnulty has found the power stroke

So much for keeping one in the can. MadFriars talked to Padres outfield prospect Paul McAnulty on the 16th of May, the day after he had hit just his second home run of 2005 and questions had begun circulating about his power potential. Since then McAnulty has turned it on. He has hit in eight of the nine games since the interview, collected three more home runs and added two doubles.

MadFriars:  Your power output is down this year, does that have more to do with the league, or you?

Paul McAnulty:   I've never really been a home run guy, I've always been a gap guy, a line drive hitter with home run potential, getting on base for guys behind me.  I've seen a lot of lefties, it seems like I'm getting three at bats a night against lefties, so I'm not too worried about it.  

MadFriars:  How big has the Hi-A to double-A jump been?

Paul McAnulty:    It's a pretty big jump, but any level is a big jump, especially early in the season.  Some of these pitchers I've only seen once, a lot of guys are staying away from me, making me go the other way, and it's been a little bit of an adjustment, but by the next time I see these guys I'll be fine.

MadFriars:  You're hitting .367 with Runners In Scoring Position, why?

Paul McAnulty:  That's the money, that's where the money is, so you tend to bear down.  I haven't had that many opportunities to drive guys in, but when I get the chance, that's what my job is, to bring ‘em in.  When you're a three, four or five spot hitter, that's what your job is, it doesn't matter if you hit a home run or a single, you've got to bring the guys ahead of you in.

MadFriars:  You've been almost exclusively in the outfield, with only one game at first, how's that been?

Paul McAnulty:    It's going pretty well, I've made some good plays, thrown a couple people out at the dish, I'm catching the routine balls.  I had a bad day where I made an error or two, and that's going to happen, but I'm working hard.  I'm ready to play out there everyday, some of my decisions have been bad, but I'm here to learn, and I'm doing that, that's why I'm here.  Everybody thinks I've been playing out here for years, and I guess that's a good sign, but I'm still ready to backup Greg Sain at first, and I'm getting better every day in the outfield.

MadFriars:  Did they let you know that you were going to be in the outfield going into the offseason?

Paul McAnulty:   I really had no clue what was going on, my focus was getting better at both positions, I wanted them to know I could play either position, played well at both in spring training, and then got to Mobile and started playing the outfield almost all the time.

MadFriars:  Is there less pressure to put up big power numbers now that you're away from first base?

Paul McAnulty:   Not really, I guess there could be on a lot of teams, but for me I think the numbers might have been a little inflated because the ball flies in the Cal League.  I feel I need to get on base at least twice a game, when there's runners in scoring position, I've got to drive those in.  I've only got six or seven extra base hits, but people don't see I'm not getting pitches to hit.  I get two to three at bats a night off lefties, my average is in the high .290s, and I feel like I'm doing a pretty good job.  As I get more at bats, and see more pitches, I'll get more pitches to drive, and I'll do that.

Like I said, I'm taking this whole year as a learning experience, I'm learning to hit left handed pitching a lot more, go to the opposite field against them.  I've got to hurt them when they make mistakes, if a guy hangs a curve, I've got to hit it.  When I got my first homer of the year it was on a curve ball a lefty hung.  It seems like everyone puts their lefties in Double-A, these guys have a lot better stuff, better control, they can throw a curve for a strike, and it takes some adjusting.

MadFriars:  Did you use that same workout routine that showed so much success coming into last season?

Paul McAnulty:    Yes, but it was a little like one season started immediately after the last.  I played a long season last year, didn't get done until late November and then I came into spring this year a little heavier, I came in 228 pounds, now I'm down to 205, still getting back into the swing of things, but it's still early.  

MadFriars:  Did you use the offseason more for offense, or defense?

Paul McAnulty:   I tried to put it all into one thing, because I had to cram stuff into a month.  I didn't get a chance to hit as much outside because of there was so much rain in Southern California.  I'm still trying to learn, I've only been pro for two and a half years, and I'm making great progress.  I'm not pressing, all I can worry about is what I can do today to help my team today.  When we're in Montgomery, I'm worried about what I can do to help us beat Montgomery, because I can't help the Padres win right now, so I can't worry about the next level.  I'm playing well, helping my team, and waiting for (Padres Manager Bruce) Bochy to open that door and say come on in.  When they do that, then I'll start worrying about helping the Padres win games.

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