Q+A: Boston OF prospect Pete Hissey

Pete Hissey was drafted in the fourth round of the 2008 draft and hails from Pennsylvania. Hissey, 19, spent his second professional baseball season with mid-A Greenville. SoxProspects notes Hissey as a speedy centerfielder with an advanced approach at the plate  with current below-average power that has the potential to improve. In 369 at-bats for the Drive, Hissey hit .279/.356/.347. He currently ranks 34th on the SoxProspects chart, an impressive ranking for a 19-year old (ranks seventh among under-20 prospects).

Hissey - Courtesy

Hissey - Courtesy

You completed your first full professional season recently. How do you feel you handled it both on and off the field? Was it more difficult than you imagined?

I learned a lot as the year progressed, and found out how to take care of my body, balance my eating, and manage the ups and downs of the season. I stayed positive through the tough times and felt like my attitude helped me to turn things around.

Has anything the Sox coaching staff said particularly resonated with you or are you still the same player you were in high school?

I am a different player then I was in high school simply because I’ve adapted to the competition. My swing is shorter, I have better plate discipline and I understand what I can and cannot do. I will have to continue to adapt to the level of play because it will only get faster in the higher levels.

What have the Red Sox asked you to work on this offseason?

They asked me to come to spring training ready to compete for a spot. That’s what they tell everyone to do, so it is a matter of me doing my work in the off season and being ready come spring training.

What is your offseason schedule? Are you working out on a daily basis and taking batting practice?

This offseason I have concentrated on working out hard and trying to become a more physical player. I understand that it is a process, but the more my body matures, the more positives I bring to the field.

My offseason workouts range from 4-6 days a week and I have just recently started hitting. I do not want to start too early because I get so many swings during the year I need to come to spring training ready, not tired.

Do you feel as if you showed what your overall game can be capable of in 2009? What type of player do you envision yourself becoming?

Toward the second half of the year, I believe I showed what type of player I can become. But I still do not know what I will be in a couple years. It depends on how my body matures. So as I get stronger, I will start to see more of the type of player I can be.

What was the difference between the first and second half of the year?

The first half was a constant struggle. My swing was long so I had trouble getting to the inside pitch. I rarely pulled a fastball. In the second half, I shortened up my swing and focused on my two strike approach. I started to concentrate on the barrel hitting the ball and nothing else. That thought process along with my middle of the field approach helped me to turn things around.

How did you learn to become the hitter you became? You have a great handle on the strike zone for your age.

I have always concentrated on hitting good pitches. In little league, my dad would always stress importance of pitch selection. I never wanted to get myself out. Now, if the pitcher makes a good pitch, I tip my cap to him, but otherwise, I try to swing at the pith I am looking for.

It’s been said that you need to develop your power as you rise up the levels. Do you see where these people (scouts, etc.) are coming from? Do you feel this is needed?

I understand that I need to develop power but I also understand that it is a process and I need to be patient. As my body begins to mature, I will have the ability to hit the ball out of park. And as I begin to work the count in my favor more often, I will get more pitches to drive.

To become a more physical player, I am eating a lot healthier and being more focused in the gym. Diet and exercise are the two most important aspects of putting on weight so I need to concentrate on both of them to achieve my goal.

I always like to ask this of players as who they name can be pretty interesting. Out of the players you have played with so far, who has impressed you the most and why?

The player who has impressed me the most has been Anthony Rizzo. Defensively, he’s a solid player and makes a lot of plays look routine. At the plate, his swing is short and he hits for power and average.

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