Notable Quotables: Where there’s smoke…
Tennessee hitting coach Desi Wilson on Javier Baez’s leg kick (Baez smokes two more long balls):
“He didn’t shorten it. It’s just real slow right now. Real slow and getting down on time. He’s recognizing pitches, offspeed and breaking pitches and fastballs. He’s selective. He faced this pitcher last time, the lefty [Andrew Chafin], and he had an idea, just from watching video and talking about keeping the same approach against lefties. …
“I think, more or less, when pitches are in the zone, he’s laying off the sliders and getting his pitch to hit. That’s what we talk about every time in pregame. Talk about the pitcher you’ll face, what you’ll see. He’s a student of the game, and it’s paying off. He looks so comfortable at the plate.
“Last year, I think everything was speeding up for him. Basically, he was just swinging at everything they threw up to him. Everything was going so fast. He was just trying to do too much. Him going to big league camp, going to Spring Training and the work he’s done, it obviously has paid off because his leg kick is not as high as it was last year. Last year, he wasn’t selective at all. He was swinging early in the count. Now, he’s not afraid to fall behind 0-1, 0-2.”
Wilson on Smokies’ manager Buddy Bailey, who won his 1,700th game last week:
“He knows the game inside and out. It has been a blessing for me to work with a guy who has been in the game so long. You can see why he has 1,700 wins. He prepares the kids, the players on a daily basis. He’s hard on them, and he expects respect, excellence and hard work.
“You can see why, and I’m not surprised he has that because of the work he expects his players to do on a daily basis. It’s a grind, and the players respect Buddy for the way he prepares them on the daily basis. I’m very fortunate to be a part of that, this being my first year working with Buddy.”
“I think he’ll be a big part of the middle of our lineup. He seems like a professional hitter. He’s hitting around .500 in the short time he’s been here. He had three hits again tonight. He just seems to put the ball in play. I think, once he gets comfortable, the power numbers are going to start to show here, too. …
“His numbers in Mexico were off the charts. He had like 36 home runs and was hitting like .350 down there. He definitely knows how to put the ball in play. He seems awfully young at 26.”
Jackson’s Steven Proscia reflecting after belting three home runs (Proscia hits third three-homer game):
“It was a grind for me and our team as well. I battled some adversity this year. I actually was just recently called back up after being sent down for a month. I did work with our hitting coach in High-A in High Desert [Roy Howell], and he’s a guy I worked with last year. I did some things, some drills that he thought would help me. It was a matter of time before things started to click for me.
“Like I said, it’s been a rough year, and I’m trying to take what he said, take what my hitting coach here [Cory Snyder] and also Alvin Davis, our roving hitting guy who has been in town. I was talking yesterday to him about some mechanical stuff, trying to get a better feel for what works best for me. I took some of their advice, I worked on it before the game, took it into [batting practice], and then whatever happens in the game happens.”
Philadelphia’s No. 14 prospect Andrew Knapp on transitioning from college to pro ball (Knapp’s four hits lift Crosscutters):
“It’s a different game from college ball. Instead of playing three games over the weekend then getting a couple of days off, every day you’re out there and in the lineup. There isn’t really that much downtime for you to take a break and go work on your swing, do stuff like that. …
“One of the things that I’ve been learning is how to play every day and try to have quality at-bats even though you’re maybe not feeling as good as you want.
“I think I have to learn how to catch every day and take care of my body. I have to be able to stay strong enough to go all nine innings for however many games you have to go in a row. I had a little arm thing going earlier in this year, just got tired from the college season and coming out and throwing so much in pro ball.”
Seattle’s 15th-round Draft pick Eddie Campbell on the development of his changeup (Campbell strikes out 12 for Pulaski):
“Actually, in high school and in my first year of college, I didn’t have a changeup. I really just had the fastball and the curve. Then, the summer after my freshman year, my pitching coach [Pat Mason] said that if I want to be a starter, I need to have a third pitch.
“That summer, I worked everyday on it, throwing the changeup while I was playing catch. I started working it into games. Now, I really trust that I can throw it in any count.”
The White Sox No. 5 prospect Chris Beck on what he’s learning in Double-A (Barons’ Beck gets first Double-A win):
“The mistakes you make are amplified. Against Tennessee, that’s a pretty experienced lineup, and depending on how you look at it, they’re maybe the best hitting team in the league. I left the ball up a few times, and they made me pay for it one-through-nine. …
“The quality of the strikes has to be different in what kind of strikes you’re throwing. It’s not just up in the zone. It’s about changing locations, up and down and in and out, changing eye levels on the hitter. You also have to try not to do too much. …
“I think it’s more mental for me. Early in the year, I had a lot of walks. I was really nibbling around the strike zone and getting myself into holes. I would go 2-1, 3-1, 2-0, 3-0, get into terrible counts. I was giving up hits or giving up walks, walking a lot of guys. Just being really passive.
“As a pitcher, the advantage is already in your favor. You have eight guys behind you ready to make the play. They have to hit the round ball with the round object. The odds are in your favor. There’s no reason not to be aggressive.”
Kansas City’s No. 15 prospect Sam Selman on mechanical adjustments he’s tried to make this year (Rocks’ Selman no-hits P-Nats for eight):
“I’m trying to work on everything [pitching coach Steve] Luebber has taught me over the last five months. He’s been a great help this entire season, helping me to find my mechanics.
“Tonight was an example of that. I’ve been working on keeping my weight back longer, being slower in my delivery so I don’t fly open as much. That’s helped with the command of my fastball and slider.
“Sometimes you’re the bug and sometimes you’re the windshield. I had my stuff and everything working today. The past couple of outings when I’ve walked the house, I’ve been unable to locate my fastball. I kind of fell into more hitters’ counts and had to throw too many fastballs. … Sometimes, you have you’re A-game, sometimes you have you’re C-game.”