The numbers aren’t that good..not the team’s stats…nor the individual hitting nor pitching.
That was to be expected for the Padres in phase one of what will be a 3-year rebuilding plan.
But there’s still lots of games to be played, and the slumping stats are stunning. Tuesday night was just another night of struggles. Shutout. 14-more strikeouts, bringing their lead total to (723) and we are not even at the half way mark of the campaign.
Wil Myers, highest paid player on the lowest payroll team in the game, hitting just (.201) since May 17th, with 47-strikeouts in his last 114-at bats. Yes an occasional home run, but lots of K’s too.
Hunter Renfroe, going thru a steep learning curve, hitting just (.179) in June, with strikeouts part of his DNA.
Franchy Cordero, despite a flashy hit here or there, in an (0-23) slump. His fellow rookie teammate, Alan Cordoba, who was in Class A ball at this time last year, (2-24). That’s a combined (2-for-47) from your left and center fielders. Ouch.
Who better to ask for a blunt assessment of what young players go thru, than a guy who went thru lots of that, Tony Gwynn Junior, the son of the Padres icon.
Some pretty candid comments, from a hitter who had good seasons and bad years too.
CORDOBA…He has no experience to lean on. This is all new to him.
CORDERO..Info on scouting reports, what guys cannot handle, travel quickly around baseball.
RENFROE..Still learning the strike zone…takes time and that only comes from seeing pitchers and pitches everyday….needs to get educated and not be guessing.
GRIND…These young players are going to hit a wall in late July, and when they get to August 31st it will dawn on them, there’s still a month more to play. They will be fatigued.
OFF DAYS…You crave them because it allows you to regenerate, if things are going bad. But if you are hot, you hate to lose the edge.
STRIKE ZONE…It’s easy to say, see the ball, hit the ball, but you are dealing with pitchers who can put it where they want. In hitting, are your mechanics tuned in? Do you feel you are in the launch position? Are you in rhythm? Knowing the count, knowing the pitcher, knowing the scouting report.
SLUMPS…When you are in the hole, you are thinking all the time. Where are my hands?Where is my shoulder? Where do I begin my swing? You’re doing everything but hitting the ball because you are worried about everything.
VIDEOS…Some players do a lot, but you have to be worried about mental overload….Look at video with your hitting coach…he can spot things you cannot.
HOT STREAK….When you are in the zone, you can close your eyes and visualize the four quadrants, and where you will hit the ball when it enters the different zones. It’s the most amazing feeling to be locked in.
HITTING COACHES….The biggest intangible is they have to be psychiatrist. They need to use a different language for each of the different players this deal with. Some players cope with adversity better than others. Some handled criticism better than others. They are positive most of the time but need to be tough love too.
FLAWS…Players have to feel the flaw in the swing before they can correct it, and that’s where another set of eyes can come into play.
HITTIING CAGE…Be careful of mental fatigue. Extra hitting does not help if you do not know what you are supposed to be working on.
STRATEGY…The shift impacts hitter’s psyche. The shift forces you to change your approach to hitting. It makes you change your natural swing. Not a lot of players have learned to ‘go the other way’ in hitting against the shift. It’s the hardest thing in baseball.
ELEVATED SWING….Everyone is caught up right now in launch angles, to the detriment. Pitchers have responded by now throwing high and hard, getting you to swing up in the zone. If you are trying to launch all the time, you cannot get to high hard ones. Batters spend too much time now on launching. A-plus-B = C, a home run. You need the A, mechanics, B-recoginizing the pitch, to get to C.
CULTURE…Clubhouses are very different now. We have so many Latin players with different languages. Clubs are doing a great job guiding young players from Latin America. Veterans need to take them under their wing. I played in Venezuela, and felt like a fish out of water. Imagine what it’s like here for 14 of the 25-who do not speak English.
MINOR LEAGUES…When you get sent down, it’s probably because you are not producing. Harder on older players because families are involved. As you got older, you are more prepared for the business of baseball. You know to expect the unexpected too.
When you are sent out, go figure it out, refine it, lock in, and you’ll get called up. Don’t worry about the callup, worry about what they told you to work on. Attack the problem, get your ABs in and just go play.
Tony Gwynn learned under one of the best pure hitters in the game (#19). Interesting to listen to Hitting 101.
Myers-Renfroe-Cordero-Cordova still have lots to learn and still a half season plus to get back on track.