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Batter of the Year: Eugene

Batter of the Year: Eugene

The Northwest League is the initial exposure to professional baseball for nearly all of the Padres' high draft prospects. Occasionally, a player such as Xavier Nady or Cesar Carrillo will start off in Lake Elsinore, or a player will go to Fort Wayne more out of an organizational need, but Eugene is where the college stars learn just how much different the professional game is from any baseball that they have played before.

The biggest initial adjustment to pro ball is for the position players. The wooden bats, as compared to aluminum, demand a much higher degree of skill, giving the players a much smaller sweet spot to hit with and making it more difficult to make solid contact. Combine that with the pitchers whom are much better and the grind of playing everyday, well, things become interesting. The biggest...

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