Results tagged ‘ Daytona Cubs ’
By Jake Seiner
Interviewing for game stories can be a fun process. The thousands of players and coaches spread across the Minor Leagues supply a never-ending chain of unique perspectives on the national pastime. The game story isn’t always the best place for block quotes and expanded thoughts, so once a week, I’m hoping to come here with a look back at some of the more interesting conversations I stumble upon with Minor League players and coaches. Here’s a look back at some quotes from the past week that I hope you’ll find of interest.
Red Sox prospect Bryce Brentz on changes he’s made in his approach this year: (Brentz mashes walk-off no-doubter)
“I’ve always been a guy who is a free swinger, and I have some strikeouts, but the one thing me and [hitting coach] Dave Joppie are working on is controlling the body. Sometimes, I end up lunging or being too, I guess, erratic in the box and go all out and get the ball. I need to slow things down with my hands and timing. That’s been really helpful. I can see pitches better and longer. I’m seeing some good results. Baseball’s a funny game — you go through stretches where you’re doing everything right and the hits won’t fall for you. I’m sticking with the routine Joppie and I established, slowing things down, especially with my lower half. I’m evenly distributed and in a good hitting position, and it’s paying off as of late.
“The things me and Joppie have been working on have been paying off very quickly. Paying good dividends. Usually, you make a small adjustment, and it takes a while to get used to. I made a very small adjustment, but it’s been helping me out as far as being able to stay back and see pitches better and not lunge and get too aggressive. That’s been my Achilles’ heel, being over-aggressive.
“It really starts with the hands. I’ve been really moving them a lot, moving the bat back and forth and sometimes I’ll get stuck with them, then I have to go and regenerate my hands to get back where I need to be. My shoulders will get rotated and it’ll throw off a lot of things.
“I’m not saying my swing is perfect now, but I’m slowing things down with my hands, keeping even and just getting a circular flow going. That’s slowing down my whole body and putting me in the position I need to be in.”
Daytona manager Dave Keller on Chicago Cubs’ Dustin Geiger’s leg kick: (Soler, Geiger tee off for D-Cubs)
“He’s continuing to make adjustments, and that’s nice to see. Any time a guy has a leg kick, timing becomes a huge factor that you have to stay on top of. You have to stay soft and low and be very, very relaxed because the pitchers — they go to the plate at different times and their moves are all different and everything else that can mess up your timing, which is probably the most important thing about hitting.
“He’s found a way to slow himself down, more than anything. He’s slowing his mind down and slowing his mechanics down and when you can do that, the ball looks slower, and I think that’s what he’s going through right now. He’s getting good pitches to hit and using the whole field.”
Keller on Cubs’ Jorge Soler learning English:
“Well, what ends up happening with foreign players over here is that as soon as they start learning the language, they find out the American players, the English-speaking players, they can’t wait to communicate with them. We take communication for granted sometimes. We have all different kinds of crazy things in the world now, technology that we use to communicate, and we often communicate worse. With all the texting and email and everything else, sometimes it just boils back down to talking and using the same language.
“He’s learning English, and the American players are helping him. Everybody understands you can’t be embarrassed to say something that doesn’t sound like it should. That’s something a lot of Latin players go through. From his standpoint, he’s still learning, and that’s helped him open up as a person.
“He’s getting there. I know during Spring Training a month and half ago, he had no idea when I’d start talking to him. … During Spring Training, he didn’t understand much English, so I tried to talk to him slow in English. He knows I speak Spanish. All the Latin kids know I’m bilingual, so it’s easy for them to speak Spanish with me when they want, but that doesn’t help them. I tried to talk slow, and that’s how you learn. Sometimes, he’ll say, ‘Oh, oh, too fast.’”
“He’s warming up to the whole atmosphere well. It’s really nice to see.”
Yankees’ Nik Turley on what he learned squaring off against rehabbing Jason Heyward: (Turley changes things up, gets win)
“Don’t groove in a fastball first pitch of an at-bat. The first at-bat, I got him with a fastball, struck him out looking. The next at-bat, he hit the RBI double off me. He got me, but at least I got him, too.”
Arizona’s Keon Broxton on drills he’s used to improve his swing/approach: (Broxton burning with two home runs)
“I’ll put a tee right in front of the plate and focus on hitting the ball up the middle. Then I’ll put a higher tee right behind my hands. It puts me in a good hitting position to swing down through the ball. When I try to do too much, I use a lot of my body with my swing and I fly open with my shoulders and drop my back shoulder. So keeping that back tee high by my hands, it makes me go down toward the ball. If I try to get big and use my body, I’ll hit it with the bat.
“That definitely helps me a lot. In batting practice, I don’t necessarily try to pull the ball. I stay middle to right-center. I keep my shoulders in and try to work down on the ball. I don’t try to hit bombs in BP. I’ll get pull happy and keep dropping my back shoulder and try to lift everything. I’ll do some soft toss with my coach. He’ll put two balls in one hand and he’ll soft toss one that’s hard then one that’s softer, and that gets me to where I have to stay in a good hitting position and wait for the ball to come to me.”
“I’ve made tremendous progress just by doing that every day. I’m learning how to stay in a strong hitting position and waiting on the ball and learning how to use my hands and body and work down on the ball. It’s helped with my pitch recognition and helped me with my power and my strikeouts.”
Pirates’ Stetson Allie on fighting the urge to abandon his approach: (Bucs’ Allie slugs two more home runs)
“I think the biggest for me is staying with the approach. I got away from it for a while, got power hungry and was pulling off really bad. If I stay with the same thing, I can see the breaking pitches and changeups better. It just works out that way. The adjustments pitchers were making, they were coming in a little bit, but I was chasing breaking balls also. When I get my foot down and time up, I can hit the breaking ball to left field and the fastball to right field. I’m not getting away from that.”
Starlin Castro spent just two seasons with full-season Minor League affiliates and didn’t register his first 100-game campaign until he became a Cub for good late in 2010.
Here is a gallery of then-prospect Castro in 2009 and ’10 wearing a variety of uniforms, including those of Class A Advanced Daytona and Double-A Tennessee. Click on any picture to begin the slideshow. For all past editions of Prospect Flashback, head here.
Editor’s note: Lost and Found is an offseason series in which one underrated prospect from each of the 30 MLB clubs will be discussed in a short, snappy post. This edition features a prospect who was traded on Tuesday.
Lost: Josue Marcelo Carreno (you will more often see him referred to as Marcelo Carreno) signed out of his native Venezuela at 16. He registered sub-3.00 ERAs in Venezuelan Summer League play in 2008 and 2009 before recording 4.00-plus ERAs his first two seasons stateside.
2010: 4.76 ERA and a 59-to-33 K-to-BB ratio in 64 1/3 IP spanning 14 GS at Class A Short-Season Connecticut
2011: 4.55 ERA and a 115-to-41 K-to-BB ratio in 124 2/3 IP spanning 24 G at Class A West Michigan
Found: Carreno, who sports a fastball-curveball-changeup mix, returned to the same level and accomplished two things: He walked 13 fewer batters in 14 2/3 more innings. While that may not sound like a lot, it is for a hurler like him who must pitch to contact to get outs.
2012: 3.23 ERA and a 119-to-28 K-to-BB ratio in 139 1/3 IP spanning 27 GS at Class A West Michigan
So Carreno was lost, now he is found. Now, about the
Tigers’ Cubs’ returns: Word on the street is that Carreno tops out as a No. 3 starter and bottoms out as a middle reliever. Either way, Chicago is getting a future Major League pitcher. Given that we’re talking about a 21-year-old who has yet to pitch at the Class A Advanced level, however, I would stretch the space between his ceiling and his floor a bit more. Look for the righty to begin 2013 at Daytona, in the Florida State League.