Padres’ Homer Bush Jr. is building consistency every day

Credit: MLB

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Credit: TinCaps

In speaking to San Diego Padres prospect Homer Bush Jr., it is evident that he is on the verge of something special. 

The San Diego Padres farm system is starting to really produce talent.

Dozens of players on other major league rosters are enjoying productive careers. Chris Kemp, A.J. Preller, and the rest of the minor league staff are doing well in preparing young players for the rigors of playing baseball at the highest level.

Most of the major league talent that the Padres drafted is playing elsewhere now. Preller’s objective was to fill holes at the major league level with multiple young players via trade. For the most part, the Padres have done well in these types of deals. The goal now seems to be to hoard selective players for the future. There are superstars committed to long-term deals. Now, it is time for the prospects to pay dividends.

Currently, there are several prospects who seem poised to be the next Jackson Merrill.

At the major league level, Merrill is showing that he belongs and possesses the intangibles to be a productive player for a long time. For the Padres, starting a homegrown player every day is a beautiful thing. The majority of the roster is not made up of players who were originally selected by the franchise.

If you are searching for another everyday young player capable of reaching his ultimate goal, then look no further than Homer Bush Jr.

Credit: MLB

The man with a golden smile and incredible athleticism is only starting to find his stride in the game. Bush is a late bloomer. The game of baseball did not come easy to the 22-year-old. He admittedly struggled early in his collegiate career and barely played (six at-bats) his freshman year at Grand Canyon University. It was a mental rollercoaster for this young outfielder.

At this point in a young player’s career, they usually pack it up and look for another path in life. Not Homer Bush Jr. ” I always had an unwavering belief that I’d play pro ball. Even when I was unsuccessful in high school and early in college,” Bush explained. It was time for self-reflection.

His game improved, and more importantly, his preparation increased. In his Sophomore year, the outfielder played in 42 games, scoring 35 runs, stealing 21 bases, and putting up a .316 batting average. His Junior year was even better as Bush posted a .978 OPS and stole 25 bases while hitting .370.  With his baseball skills polished, Bush was selected by the San Diego Padres with a 4th-round pick in the 2023 MLB Draft.

Homer Bush Jr. became the second person in his immediate family to be drafted by the San Diego Padres. His dad, Homer Bush, was drafted in the 7th round in 1991. It was a special time for the family, as the young Bush recalls to EVT. “It was pretty surreal; it almost seemed fake to get drafted by the same team as my dad,” Bush said.

The Padres were eyeing Bush for a while. A.J. Preller loves athletes. “It was extra special because, throughout the draft process and my college career, I had the longest-lasting and closest relationship with the Padres. But wasn’t sure if getting picked by them would come to fruition. It did, and it felt a little destined,” Bush admits. The Padres got their man, and they could not be happier.

Early in the 2024 season, Homer Bush struggled at Fort Wayne with the TinCaps. The outfielder put up a .546 OPS in April when the weather in Indiana and the surrounding States was very cold. The Midwest League traditionally gets little offense in the early season.

As May rolled around, Bush put up a .769 OPS and scored 16 runs in 25 games while stealing 16 bases. In June, he slugged his first two homers of the season, but driving the ball out of the ballpark is not his game. The 6-foot-2, right-handed batter is capable of power, and it will likely come in time, but his main focus is putting the ball in play and scoring runs.

This season, Bush’s plate discipline improved with the TinCaps. He’s walked 22 times in 209 at-bats, resulting in a respectable .364 OBP. When asked if Bush was consciously making an effort to swing at pitches in the zone, his answer was specific and calculated. “It’s funny I feel like it’s come with being more prepared to hit and swing the bat. While going through the season, I’ve gone through stretches where I feel like I’m trying to “see” the ball, which in turn makes me late and makes swing decisions worse. The more prepared I am to hit and the more on time I am, the longer I’m able to see the ball,” Bush explains.

There is no doubt that this young player is aware of himself and his approach. His father has been instrumental in helping the younger Bush prepare for the low points in the game. “He was huge (in my development). I mention it a lot, but growing up, he helped me prepare a ton for the mental side, which to this day is a reason why I have been able to deal with the ups and downs better than the average baseball player,” Bush Jr explains about his dad.
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His dad echoes those beliefs about the future for this young player. “Junior is never too big for the game or its challenges,” the elder Bush explained to EVT. His dad also talked about the low points in the game and how his son is prepared to get through those inevitable times. “He is prepared to handle the high points and, more importantly, the low points of the game,” Bush Sr. said. Having a mental edge can take you far in the game as you battle through the maddening marathon of a baseball season.

The speed element of Home Bush Jr.’s game is evident. He is blessed with 70-grade speed, and some say it could be close to 75-grade and beyond. In Fort Wayne, Bush currently has 31 stolen bases in 62 games played.

At the age of 13, Junior went to see Willie Pile in Southlake, Texas, for speed training. The former NFL player changed Homer Bush Jr.’s life, as his athleticism and explosive movements improved dramatically. Understanding your body and its movements is excellent, as that kind of self-awareness will only improve one’s skill level. Junior learned that at an early age, and he continues to progress in the area. “I’ve started to move more efficiently, which has just come with repetition and understanding how my body works specifically,” Bush Jr. said informatively.

The swing is coming along, as Bush Jr. is limiting the strikeouts. He knows his skill level and what he is capable of in the game. When asked what he needs to do to improve, his answer was simple. “I think the biggest thing is continuing to stay on the trajectory I’m on now and focusing on process/preparation as much as possible,” Bush Jr. said. ‘It’s unbelievably easy to overcomplicate things, which is one of the things I learned after this first offseason. I know I have the capacity to do everything at an elite level; it’s just about continuing to build consistency at this point.”

1 thought on “Padres’ Homer Bush Jr. is building consistency every day

  1. I can vouch for Homer Bush Jr. seeing him play for the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox in the Cape Cod Baseball League two summers ago. He excelled in every facet of the game. His speed was top notch. His fielding was flawless. We on the YD Red Sox Board of Directors only hope for the best for Homie and hoping to see him playing in the big show soon.

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