Author Archive

Adam Ottavino on his Three-in-One Slider

This past Sunday, I wrote about how Adam Ottavino is studying Garrett Richards‘ pitch usage in hopes of improving his performance against left-handed hitters. Not included in the article were details about his signature pitch, which is actually three pitches in one. The Colorado Rockies reliever throws his slider from two arm angles and with two different grips. As a result, the shape varies, as does the velocity, from 80 to 87 mph. Ottavino explained this to me – and touched on related subjects – last week in Phoenix.


Adam Ottavino on release points: “I was recently looking at my release point charts on Brooks Baseball – all four years of data they have on me – and it’s interesting to see that the data is consistent with the mechanical adjustments I’ve made. You can see when I’ve moved over on the rubber. It’s interesting to look at how I’ve evolved over the last three years, and how the things I tried to do, I actually did do.

“On both axis, my release point was the most consistent in 2013, which is actually the year I had the most success. Last year it was a little less consistent, but that’s partially because I was changing my arm angle slightly on breaking balls. I was doing that intentionally to affect some sort of different view from the hitter’s perspective.”

On his slider variations: “I throw sliders multiple ways. They all read the same – they read as sliders on PITCHf/x — but they are three different pitches. There’s more of an up-and-down, more of a slurve, and one with more of a straight lateral break. I do that with two different grips. As a pitcher who throws such a high percentage of breaking balls (47.3% in 2014), I don’t want to make them all exactly the same, Even if the hitter reads slider out of my hand, he can’t be totally sure where it will end up.” Read the rest of this entry »

Sunday Notes: Middlebrooks in SD, Ottavino’s New Case Study, LaTroy at 42, more from AZ

Will Middlebrooks is between a rock and a hard place when it comes to explaining his unfulfilled potential in Boston. The 26-year-old third baseman is hesitant to blame injuries – no one wants to be seen as an excuse-maker — but there’s no denying his familiarity with the trainer’s table. Wrist, finger, leg, back – he’s been on the disabled list four times in three years, and on numerous occasions has played hurt.

Middlebrooks is a Padre now, having come to San Diego in exchange for Ryan Hanigan this past December. He’s also – at least for the moment – unencumbered by malady. I asked if injuries were the root cause of his uneven performances in a Red Sox uniform.

“No, of course not,” responded Middlebrooks. “That hasn’t been the only thing. There’s a big learning curve when you’re a young player. You’re learning pitching. There are guys adjusting to you and figuring out your weaknesses. It’s that cat-and-mouse game we always talk about.”

It’s hard for a cat to catch a mouse when he’s hobbled, and Middlebrooks has a plodding .695 OPS in 232 big-league games. He has the potential to do much more, particularly in the slugging department. Prior to his 2014 power outage – just two dingers — he had 32 home runs in 660 at bats. A mechanical adjustment may help him invigorate his long-ball stroke. Read the rest of this entry »

Sunday Notes: Meredith Memories, Street Hates FIP, Cactus Dispatches

Cla Meredith‘s MLB debut was inauspicious. Actually, it was an abomination. Called up to Boston less than a year after being drafted out of Virginia Commonwealth University, Meredith came out of the Fenway Park bullpen in the seventh inning of a tie game. The Seattle Mariners had one on and two out.

He walked Randy Winn. Then he walked Adrian Beltre. The third batter he faced, Richie Sexson, hit a fly ball to right field.

“When the ball left the bat, I took a few steps toward the dugout,” remembers Meredith, who threw the fateful pitch on May 8, 2005. “I thought I was out of the jam, but the ball just kept drifting and drifting, and pushing and pushing, and doink, it went right off the foul pole.”

Grand slam. The fact that it was a wind-blown fly ball that traveled little more than 320 feet was of scant consolation to the shell-shocked rookie.

“I wanted to dig a hole and climb in, man,” Meredith told me. “I felt overwhelmed. The weird part was, on any other day, with the weather different, and in any other ballpark, it’s a can of sh__ in Trot Nixon‘s glove. If that ball is caught, it probably changes my career.” Read the rest of this entry »

Sunday Notes: Valentine on Hamilton, Acta & Keri on the Expos, Leathersich, more

Ellis Valentine knows what Josh Hamilton is going through. Valentine battled substance abuse during his playing days, in the 1970s and 1980s, and now works as a certified drug counselor. Hamilton – assuming the reports are true – recently suffered a relapse in his own struggles with addiction.

Valentine has been clean for nearly three decades, and he’s been helping others fight their demons for nearly as long. He’s offered to help the troubled Angels’ slugger, but Hamilton’s handlers have kept him at arm’s length.

“People come to me all the time and ask, ‘Why don’t you work with Josh Hamilton?’ Valentine told me. “I say, ‘I’d love to try — I have tried — but I can’t get close to him.’ I have a lot of compassion for Josh, but the people surrounding him don’t want me around.”

Valentine works out of Dallas and tried reaching out to Hamilton multiple times when the outfielder played for the Texas Rangers. Repeatedly rebuffed, Valentine actually wrote a letter to himself, in 2010, chronicling his failed attempts to lend assistance.

If Hamilton were to allow Valentine the opportunity, he’d receive some tough love. The erstwhile Expo – he represented Montreal in the 1977 All-Star game — was passionate when offering an opinion on what Hamilton has to do. The advice was shaped by personal experience as well as clinical training.

“Somewhere along the line, Josh Hamilton has to grow up,” said Valentine. “I was 31 years old before I filled out my first tax form. I was making hundreds of thousands of dollars, but I had attorneys, my agent – I had all these people to do things for me, so I was allowed to just go out and get high and be in la-la land. Read the rest of this entry »

Sunday Notes: Thorn on Game Changes, Salaries Redux, Moya on Mashing, more

In the opinion of some, baseball is broken. Not irreparably, but it’s become borderline boring and badly in need of an infusion of offense. Pace is a problem. Games last beyond the bedtimes of millions of young fans, many of whom have short attention spans.

There are myriad issues, and they can’t be ignored simply because certain indicators suggest the sport is thriving. What, if anything, to do about them? In the opinion of John Thorn, the official historian of Major League Baseball, there are no obvious answers.

“It’s conflated,” Thorn told me a few days ago. “It’s tangled. People have a vague unease that things aren’t right — not the way the ought to be – and somebody ought to do something. The problem is, there’s no magic bullet.”

But based on historical precedent, an arsenal of options exists. For instance, following the 1968 season – aka “The Year of the Pitcher” – the mound was lowered by five inches. The measure had the desired effect: In 1969, OPS jumped from .639 to .689 and runs-per-game shot up from 6.84 to 8.14. (In 2014, OPS was .700 and runs-per-game 8.13).

It’s important to note that the game-altering move was necessitated by another game-altering move. Read the rest of this entry »

Sunday Notes: Coaching Salaries on the Farm, Bullpen Scatalogy, Cards STEP, more

It’s become well-known that minor league players earn meager salaries. Little attention has been paid to the earnings of the instructors responsible for their development. They’re not getting rich either.

Salaries at the big league level are fairly generous. Some managers make seven figures. Hitting and pitching coaches are paid anywhere from $150,000 to $350,000, with a select few earning far more. Bench coaches earn between $150,000-$250,000. Third base coaches are around $130,000-$140,000. First base coaches are in the $100,000-$110,000 range. Bullpen coaches bring home roughly $90,000.

It’s a different story down on the farm.

Minor league coaches get paychecks year round – unlike minor league players — but that doesn’t mean the majority can afford to spend their winters on the golf course. One baseball lifer I talked to said he managed in the minors for over a decade and never made more than $42,000 a year. He worked camps and substitute taught in the off-season to help make ends meet. Others manage winter ball in Mexico or Venezuela to earn extra money.

Not everybody I spoke to would get specific with salaries, but a front office type told me his club pays minor league coaches and managers a minimum of $35,000. Another put that number at $30,000. Multiple sources estimated the high end to be in the $150,000-$175,00 range, with long-time managers and coordinators typically at the top of the pay scale.

Player development staff salaries vary by organization. One contact cited the Marlins as a team that pays poorly, and the Braves as one of the more generous. Qualifying that he doesn’t know the exact difference in dollars – he’s with another club – he said, “That’s why Miami has a lot of turnover and Atlanta doesn’t.” Read the rest of this entry »

Sunday Notes: Badenhop & Perez, Weinstein on Framing, Cowart, Renda, more

Burke Badenhop signed with the Reds yesterday, and he’ll bring more than a sinker with him to Cincinnati. The 32-year-old (as of today) righty will arrive with a sabermetric suitcase stuffed with theories and thoughts.

Badenhop has an economics degree and a track record of pitching well in a variety of relief roles. Usage and value were on his mind the last time we spoke.

“I’ve been thinking about something you might term bullpen clustering,” said Badenhop. “With the randomness of a baseball season, there is going to be an ebb and a flow to the wins a team ends up with, and what those wins look like. How you use your bullpen is going to vary by how close the game is.

“Say you’re a reliever and pitch in 12 games in a month. In those 12, are you throwing five games out of seven in the beginning, and then not pitching for a week? A long winning streak is good, but it can also be taxing if all the games are close and you are using the same high leverage guys on a nightly basis. A blowout or a complete game can be huge.”

Badenhop made a career-high 70 appearances last year and threw 70-and-two-thirds innings. I asked how hard it would be to take on an even heavier workload. Read the rest of this entry »

Sunday Notes: Sappington’s R.O.I., Marlins Mania, R.I.P. Monbo, more

If you’re a Rays fan, you want Mark Sappington to make the team this year. If you’re a member of the Tampa Bay media, you really want Mark Sappington to make the team. Trust me on this one.

A 24-year-old right-hander from Peculiar, Missouri (yep), Sappington is 6-foot-5, throws 100 mph, and supplies quips at a mile a minute. Think Justin Masterson, smiling, sans a sinker.

The Rays acquired the happy-go-lucky hurler from the Angels in November – in the middle of the Arizona Fall League season – for Cesar Ramos. Going strictly by the numbers, it was a curious deal. A fifth-round pick in 2012 out of Rockhurst University, Sappington was 4-11, 6.04 this year between high-A Inland Empire and Double-A Arkansas.

I asked Sappington why the Rays were interested.

“Shoot, you got me,” responded the big righty. “I did kind of find my groove after moving into the bullpen, where I was able to harness all of my energy into one inning. I get pretty amped up on the mound. I get in the zone. I get in the Z.”

His mid-season move to the pen resulted in more mid-90s velocity readings. There were a few 98s and 99s, and Sappington told me he hit 100 in the AFL. Command is his biggest issue. He said it’s a matter of “getting through the baseball,” and when his timing is down he can throw the ball where he wants to. When it’s not, “That’s when there’s a little craziness.”

Mike Foltynewicz told me this summer that his control improves when he dials down from 100 to 94-95. Mentioning that to Sappington elicited admiration. Read the rest of this entry »

Steve Cishek on Steve Cishek: The Making of a Marlin

Steve Cishek learned to throw a slider in 2009. Three years later, the side-winding Miami Marlins righty learned how to throw it more effectively against left-handed hitters. He has since emerged as one of the best closers in baseball.

Cishek – as Eno Sarris wrote in December – has a reverse platoon split, despite an arm angle that suggests otherwise. Eno’s article addressed the reasons why, but didn’t cover Cishek’s thought process and back story. In order to find out how the 28-year-old turned into into what he is today – a pitcher with a 13.25 K/9 and .209 BAA vs LHH in 2014 — I went directly to the source.


Steve Cishek on his evolution as a pitcher: “What’s changed since I got called up is I throw my slider to two different locations. That’s kind of my big thing. I can backdoor a slider, whereas before I was just one side of the plate. Prior to 2012, I was in to lefties and away to righties with my slider.

“For me, it’s a different feel throwing a slider from arm side to glove side. I knew what my slider did, I just couldn’t understand how to command it to that side of the plate. Once I started figuring it out, it became a matter of muscle memory. Now it’s just a spot thing. If I start it here, it will end up here. Read the rest of this entry »

Sunday Notes: Adam Everett on D, Norris’ Notoriety, Boggs & Beer, more

Per the second edition of The Fielding Bible, “From 2003 through 2007, Everett was the best shortstop in the game. It wasn’t even close.”

Adam Everett, who played from 2001-2011, mostly with the Astros, was awarded no traditional Gold Gloves during his career. Omar Vizquel and Jimmy Rollins were two of the reasons. Everett’s pop-gun bat was another, but that’s a topic for another day.

He’s aware of his analytics-based accolades. In 2012, Everett was a special assistant in Cleveland, and he’s spent the past two seasons as the infield coordinator – and briefly the bench coach – in Houston. His reading and comprehension levels go well beyond “The Error of My Ways: A Dinosaur’s Guide to Defense.”

“The Fielding Bible kind of revolutionized things,” Everett told me earlier this week. “For a lot of teams, it became, ‘How much (measurable) value does this guy bring beyond an offensive standpoint?’ It put defense on the map a little more.”

Quantifying defensive value is one thing. Playing defense is another. Everett credits former Astros coach Doug Mansolino – “He’s the guy who got me over the hump” – for much of his development. He also acknowledged former managers Jimy Williams – “a tremendous infield teacher” – and Phil Garner. Each gave him free rein to position himself on the field. Read the rest of this entry »

Sunday Notes: Spiritual Hamburger, New Boog, Banny in Boston, Clint Frazier, more

Professional baseball has been a strange road for 27-year-old Mark Hamburger. In 2011, four years after the Minnesota Twins signed him as a non-drafted free agent, Hamburger pitched in five games for the Texas Rangers. Since that time he’s meandered through the minors with multiple organizations and played a season of indie ball with his hometown team – the St. Paul Saints. Twice he’s run afoul of organized baseball’s recreational-drug policy.

Hamburger is older and wiser than he once was, and every bit as unique as he’s always been. Currently in his second stint with his original organization – he went 4-4, 3.79 with Triple-A Rochester last year – the righty is anything but ordinary.

When I talked to him a few days ago, the 6′ 4” Hamburger had just returned home from a yoga class. A former girlfriend introduced him to the ascetic discipline seven years ago, and he’s been stretching his body – and mind – ever since.

“Yoga has made me more flexible, and more enduring to the weird throwing form that is pitching,” Hamburger told me. “It’s also helped me spiritually and mentally. Yoga doesn’t focus on the next move or the previous move, but on that moment. That’s what you have to do in baseball, especially as a pitcher.”

Breath control is an important facet of yoga, and one of Hamburger’s “Three B’s of pitching.” Balance and break point are the others, but breathing is what helps him calm down and stay loose.

“I let out my air before every pitch,” said Hamburger. “That’s because I want to have the exact same delivery every time. When you have a little bit of air in your lungs, or a lot of air in your lungs, it becomes a different pitch. If you have no air in your lungs – you’re going off that last pocket – it’s the same every time.”

As for staying loose, the engaging hurler stresses that it helps a pitcher not get hurt. In his words, “You can’t break Gumby” and “When you’re whippy and snappy there is less tension in your arm.” Read the rest of this entry »

Sunday Notes: Archer’s Innings, Boston’s Backstops, much more

Chris Archer‘s attitude toward stats is a mix of new-school and old-school. The 26-year-old righty realizes pitcher Wins and ERA are influenced by things he can’t control. The number he cares most about, from a personal perspective, is innings pitched.

Archer threw 194-and-two-third innings for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2014. He did so effectively, fashioning a 3.33 ERA and a nearly identical 3.39 FIP over 32 starts. Pitching in his second full season, his W-L record was 10-9.

He fell short of his goal, albeit just barely.

“The one goal I had this year was to pitch 200 innings,” Archer told me. “If you’re pitching into the seventh pretty much every time, that’s the number you reach. For me, elite starters pitch 200 innings because, A: They’re making every start, and B: They’re keeping their team in every game. The manager’s not going to leave you out there if you’re not throwing well.”

The hard-throwing right-hander wasn’t pulled early very often last year. He went at least six innings 23 times, and on just three occasions fewer than five. He surrendered four or more earned runs only eight times.

Archer pitched better than his 10-9 record. In 14 of his 32 starts, he got either a loss or a no-decision while allowing three or fewer earned runs. No teardrops were shed – at least not for selfish reasons. Read the rest of this entry »

Evan Meek: Guitar Hero

A lot of professional baseball players – especially pitchers – play the guitar. Evan Meek is among the best of them. The 31-year-old right-handed reliever takes music nearly as seriously as he does pitching. He’s been playing for two decades and composes his own songs.

Meek, who has a 3.63 ERA over 179 career outings, broke into the big leagues with the Pirates in 2008 and spent this past season with the Orioles. He will always be known for giving up Derek Jeter‘s storybook final hit at Yankee Stadium, and he just might write some guitar hits if he chooses to pursue a second career.


Meek on his pitch repertoire: “I throw a four-seam fastball, but most all of my fastballs cut, so it’s really a cutter. I also throw a slider and a split change-up.

“My usage kind of varies over the course of a year. It’s pretty rare you have success with all three pitches when you’re relieving in short outings. One day the slider shows up and the split doesn’t, or maybe the split shows up and the slider or fastball doesn’t. Not all days are the same.”

On his guitar repertoire: “A lot of what I play depends on my mood. What’s my vibe that day? I use the word ‘vibe’ a lot because it kind of translates to the music I like to play. If I got a lot of sleep and am energetic, I might play something more upbeat. If I’m tired, I might play something slower.

“I’ve played in bands, mostly rock. There have been acoustic sets, basically getting a group of guys together to play. The stuff I do now is mostly with a travel guitar. I do a lot of hotel-room playing. Sometimes I’ll go down to a lobby, or somewhere quiet, to play.”

On pitching and playing: “There are definitely similarities between the two. When you play in a band, there’s a plan – there’s a set – and a way you go about doing things. On the mound it’s the same thing. Read the rest of this entry »

Sunday Notes: Players as Fans, High School or College, Andruw Jones, more

Joe Smith had a favorite team growing up. As is the case for most players, his allegiances changed when he began playing professional baseball. Smith was drafted by the Mets and has gone on to play for the Indians and now the Angels.

According to the side-arming reliever, the change in rooting interests goes beyond the company name on the paychecks being cashed. The logo on your laundry matters, but it’s not the only thing.

“You’re no longer an outsider looking in, so you become more a fan of the game,” said Smith.” You become a fan of people in the game. You get to know guys and find out who is a good person as well as a good player. Instead of being a Cubs fan, like I was when I was younger, now I’m more like, ‘What’s a cool ballpark to go to?’ and ‘Who am I excited to watch play in this series?’

Sometimes the players you’re excited to see play end up beating you. Smith has good career numbers – a 2.78 ERA over 515 relief outings – but like every pitcher, he knows what it feels like to be humbled. That doesn’t mean he can’t appreciate greatness. Read the rest of this entry »

FanGraphs Q&A and Sunday Notes: The Best Quotes of 2014

In 2014, I had the pleasure of interviewing hundreds of people within baseball. Many of their words were shared via the FanGraphs Q&A series. Others came courtesy of the Sunday Notes column, which debuted in February. Here is a selection of the best quotes from this year’s conversations.


“Later on, when they went to the QuesTec system, the strike zone became more of a north-and-south than an east-and-west. I had to learn how to pitch inside more, which wasn’t an easy thing to do.” – Tom Glavine, Hall of Fame pitcher, January 2014

“In my first at bat, I hit a home run and thought to myself, ‘I’m going to hit 30 home runs in this league.’ I ended up hitting five.” – Clint Frazier, Cleveland Indians prospect, January 2014

“As a pitcher, you’re supposed to feel at home on the mound. You’re supposed to feel comfortable and strong. I didn’t feel that way.” – Jesse Biddle, Philadelphia Phillies prospect, January 2014

“My mind was free, because I was only concentrating on one thing, which was getting hitters out. I was in the big leagues, so I was able to relax and do my job.” – Matt Harvey, New York Mets, February 2014

“Twenty-four hours to vent and rage, break things. I punched my door and put a crack in it. I broke a few boat oars out back of the house. I was mad, because I felt I was being stolen from.” – Luke Scott, former big-league outfielder, February 2014

“When I brawled, I blacked out. I don’t really remember much outside of watching the videos. I do remember telling Dean Palmer, ‘They’re about to start hitting our guys and we’ll need to go out there.’ ” – Doug Brocail, former Detroit Tigers pitcher, February 2014

“When I stood on the mound while on Adderall, everything faded away except for the catcher’s mitt. No crowd noise, no distractions. It was almost like being in the Matrix. Although you were sped up, everything slowed down.” – Player X, March 2014 Read the rest of this entry »

Sunday Notes: Starting vs Relieving, Trade Dialogue and Much, Much More

Becoming a full-time reliever has paid dividends for Brian Duensing. The 31-year-old southpaw had mixed success as a swing-man for the Twins from 2009-2012. The best of those campaigns came in 2010 when he pitched primarily out of the bullpen. The worst was 2011 when he worked almost exclusively as a starter.

The writing was on the wall, and it unfolded into a success story. Duensing has done well as a reliever the past two seasons. Given his pitching style and demeanor, it’s not the role many might have envisioned.

“As a starter, you have time to prepare,” said Duensing. “You can look ahead to who you’ll be facing and how you’ll go about it. As a reliever, it’s ‘OK, this is everything I have’ for an inning. Compared to starting, you’re all out.

For Duensing, that doesn’t mean reaching back and pumping gas. The thoughtful former Nebraska Cornhusker is anything but all out. His fastball was a pedestrian 91.2 mph this year. In many ways, he pitches like a starter out of the bullpen. Read the rest of this entry »

Sunday Notes: Low Strikes and Winter Deals

Last Sunday’s column included several perspectives on the strike zone. Arizona Diamondbacks’ senior vice president of baseball operations De Jon Watson wasn’t one of the people quoted, but I did address the subject with him at the winter meetings.

Watson told me his club is paying attention, and is thus aware the 2014 zone was lower than it’s been in the past. He said teams need to be cognizant of everything going on in the industry, including how umpires are calling games. As for how a lower strike zone relates to player acquisition, Watson – like others in the industry – wasn’t very forthcoming.

“With each player, we assess and evaluate what they handle best and what balls they’re putting in play on a consistent basis,” said Watson. “We do our homework to make sure we’re procuring guys who fit our ballpark, our need, and really, where the game is going. We’re always studying trends.”

What Watson said about the strike zone as it pertains to player development was far more intriguing. Read the rest of this entry »

Trea Turner: Shortstop Prospect on the Move

Trea Turner has his sights set high. The 2014 first-round pick wants to be more than the starting shortstop for the San Diego Padres [or, if last night’s reports are accurate, the Washington Nationals]. Turner wants to be a star.

He could have been a Pirate. Pittsburgh drafted Turner out of high school in 2011, and the now-21-year-old had no trouble picturing himself in black and gold. He told me the Pirates personnel he spoke to during the draft process were “awesome” and that he still keeps in touch with the area scout. Turner said he’d have “loved to be a Pirate,” but “needed to go to college and make myself better both mentally and physically.”

Turner enrolled at North Carolina State, and excelled. In three seasons with the Wolfpack he hit .342 and stole 110 bases. His junior year, he won the Brooks Wallace Award as the best shortstop in college baseball.

Along the way, he received plenty of attention from scouts. Read the rest of this entry »

Sunday Notes: MiLB Money vs Japan & Words from the Winter Meetings

Anthony Seratelli came into spring training with a chance to make the New York Mets roster in a utility role. Instead, the 31-year-old career minor-league veteran spent the entire season in Triple-A. Now he’s heading to Japan.

Seratelli signed a one-year contract with the Seibu Lions, and the primary reason was money. Nine years after entering pro ball, his big-league hopes slowly fading, it was time to finally earn a meaningful paycheck.

Minor-league salaries are abysmal. The standard salary for first-year players is $1,100 per month. At the Double-A level, players get approximately $1,500 per month. Triple-A players can make markedly more, depending on experience and 40-man-roster status, but some earn as little as $2,150 per month. Major League Baseball’s minimum salary recently increased to $507,500 per year.

Minor-league players only receive paychecks April through August. They aren’t paid during spring training, instructional league, or during the offseason. For seven months out of the year, they’re training on their own dime. According to Garrett Broshuis, the Uniform Player Contract “requires players to perform work throughout the year, but teams aren’t paying them for that.” A prospect-turned-attorney, Broshuis is involved in a class-action suit to improve compensation for minor-leaguers.

Each Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) team has a 70-man roster and the lowest-paid player on any roster reportedly earned the equivalent of $44,000 US dollars last year. Seratelli signed with Seibu for $600,000, plus incentives. Read the rest of this entry »

Sunday Notes: Winter Dealings and Assorted Tidbits

Chili Davis is now the hitting coach in Boston. Josh Donaldson is now a Blue Jay. For the past three seasons they were together in Oakland, where they didn’t always see eye-to-eye.

Davis is a note-taker. He logs how his hitters are being pitched to, as well any bad habits they might be getting into. He also logs conversations. If Davis sees a player getting away from what he does well, he can reference his notebook and address the situation from there. There was a certain amount of push-back when he approached the club’s all-star third baseman.

“Donaldson was stubborn,” Davis told me earlier this week. ‘Donaldson was, ‘This is how I do things.’ And that’s fine if you’re swinging it good. But if you’re not swinging good, and not implementing what you told me you like to do, I need to bring you back to when you were doing things right.

“Donaldson, at times, would say things that contradict how I think. I’m not saying he’s wrong – that’s just how he thinks – but I had to adjust to that.”

According to Davis, Donaldson’s mechanics – he utilizes a leg kick – require “more rhythm and sync” and can “get violent at times, too aggressive.” He said Donaldson needed to focus on being under control, and not jumpy.

Davis made clear that while Donaldson could be stubborn, he wasn’t inflexible. Read the rest of this entry »