Results tagged ‘ Mike Bell ’
Stryker Trahan won’t return my phone calls.
That was my first thought when I was reporting my ninth and penultimate MiLB.com Prospctive column last month. A friendly D-backs media relations rep had given me a cell number for Trahan — the 26th pick in the 2012 Draft — and told me to give him a ring. I gave him two over the next week and, while not in a rush, was reminded of Pat Jordan, one of the better (and crankier) sportswriters, and his amusing 2008 Slate article, “Josh Becket Won’t Return My Phone Calls.” I think I made this connection because of the first-year catcher’s quick highlight. This video made the rounds, and Trahan was immediately seen (by me and others) as the type of gritty, gutty athlete that is all baseball, all the time and has little time (or interest) in discussing his exploits with reporters.
Well, I was wrong. I don’t know or remember why Beckett dodged Jordan, but Trahan just turned out to be too busy tearing up the Rookie-level Arizona League. (Due to new Draft rules, specifically, moving the signing deadline a month forward to mid-July, Trahan played 49 games this summer). And when he did take time out of his day to speak to me, he was more than helpful, sharing a couple of tidbits about his defensive improvements behind home plate: “Before now, I haven’t had too much instruction. And there they’re tuning up everything from my swing to throw-downs and blocking the plate. As a catcher, they’ve taught me to have a more athletic stance behind home plate, keeping my feet wider apart.”
Offensively, some AZL numbers worth mentioning: .895 OPS, 40-to-48 BB-to-K ratio, 8 SBs in 9 ATT.
Defensively, 11 errors in 40 games behind home plate.
To get the opinion of the front office in Arizona, I checked in with D-backs player development director Mike Bell — and he picked up on the first ring.
Blog: What sticks out to you regarding Trahan’s first season?
Bell: His numbers were very good for an 18-year-old. That’s what stuck out to me.
Blog: How much did he pick up defensively?
Bell: He improved his receiving, throwing and blocking. He’s from a small town in Louisiana, and I can guarantee you he wasn’t seeing the types of arms that he did [in the Arizona League]. For a guy who hadn’t done much catching, he was pretty raw when we got him.
Blog: Who was working with him?
Bell: It’s a credit to Carlos Hernandez and Bill Plummer, our catching coordinators, and to him for putting in the work. He went from having a very difficult time just getting through a game [to improving].
Blog: And he showed you plenty with his bat, right?
Bell: His bat is well advanced. He can go to [Class A Advanced] Visalia and [Double-A] Mobile next year and hit right away, but we have to patient with his defense and let it catch up to his bat so that when he gets to the big leagues, he sticks in the big leagues.