Notable Quotables: Thoughts on the Top 100 – 21-30
By Jake Seiner / MiLB.com
The Minor League season has come and gone, and sadly, that means Notable Quotables will be heading into hibernation until the games start up against next spring. We’ll still have plenty of regular content, both here on the blog and over at MiLB.com, but to celebrate the end of the 2013 season and the temporary end of this column, we’re going to bring you a “Best Of” from this summer featuring each of MLB.com’s Top 100 prospects.
Below, you’ll find prospects 21-30 (also see: 31-40, 41-50, 51-60, 61-70, 71-80, 81-90, 91-100). And over the coming weeks, we’ll bring you more thoughts and reflections from and about the best prospects in the game.
A quick note: Though we managed to feature just about every Top 100 prospect this season, there are a few who evaded our eyes/tape recorders for one reason or another. In that case, rather than leave you hanging, we’re going to drop in one fun fact or statistical quirk of note that hopefully reveals a little something about the player.
“It’s absolutely something I’ve paid attention to. … Obviously I walked quite a few guys last year. It’s something the Blue Jays and I wanted to work on this year, and by doing better at it, hopefully it shows I’m taking the things I need to work on seriously.
“Last year was really just a foundation year for me. … It was about learning to pitch every fifth day and getting used to doing that for six or seven months. Now that I’m moved on from that, I’m working on building off that and trying to take things to the next level.”
22. Albert Almora, OF, Chicago Cubs
Almora on having to miss the start of the season with a broken hand:
“It was super-frustrating. It was actually the first game of Spring Training. … For it to happen like that and to have to miss the beginning of the season, it was tough for me.
“To be honest, I worked my butt off. I worked all morning and whatever I could do baseball-wise, I did it. I just didn’t stop. They told me not to rush it, and that was the best advice that anyone’s ever given me. But you still, as a baseball player, you want to get out there as soon as possible to help your team hard. It was super-hard to control my emotions.”
23. George Springer, OF, Houston Astros
Springer on adjusting to Double-A after struggling at the level in 2012:
“You have to understand who you are as a player, understand how other teams will attack and play you. … You have to know the strike zone as a hitter and know what it is you’re trying to do. All that has to be made up before you step into the box.
“You focus in on getting a good pitch to hit, and that helps you slow the game down. It’s just one of those things where, with experience, things will slow down. You go out and attempt to slow it down by just slowing it down, strange as that sounds.”
“I got some good work down in Arizona. Now I’m just trying to do what I was doing before, so it was nice to be able to do that, nice to be back competing in Tacoma. … I’m feeling good. It’s good not to worry about how my arm feels, just get back to pitching. I want to make sure I finish strong, do my best to prevent any other injury.
“I think any time you miss time, it’s hard and it’s difficult to watch every day, not being able to be out there. I was taught a lesson, never to take for granted what we’re doing.”
“The grind is a little bit different than college. … In pro ball, you’re basically playing a game every day. In college, you’ll have two, three, maybe four days off during the week. I’m still getting acclimated to the throwing program.
“In college, we have the grind of the academics that you don’t have in pro ball. Going to class every day, doing your homework, study sessions, tutoring — you don’t have that. It can really wear on you. It’s more of a mental wear than a physical wear. That’s the biggest thing that I’ve been getting accustomed to is playing every day, but it’s become second nature.”
26. Jorge Soler, OF, Chicago Cubs
Daytona manager Dave Keller on Soler’s progress learning English:
“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-a-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.”
27. Gary Sanchez, C, New York Yankees
Tampa manager Luis Sojo on Sanchez’s plate approach:
“When he’s on, his best weapon is to go the opposite way, left-center. He’s so strong, and he knows how to hit. When he’s good, he hits the opposite way. That’s something that’s really going to work down the road. Good hitters do that. Every time you see a good hitter, they can hit the other way. For his young age, he’s very good.”
“It’s definitely baseball, it’s a humbling sport. … You gotta be able to take the goods with the bads, stay as consistent as you possibly can. Get back to the basics, do what has helped you be successful and stick with that. Sometimes you get out of rhythm, out of sync. Maybe you’re doing too much thinking, but once you get back to doing what you do, everything else will start flowing into place.”
29. Taylor Guerrieri, RHP, Tampa Bay Rays
Bowling Green manager Jared Sandberg after Guerrieri’s injury led to Tommy John surgery
“He threw the pitch, and you could see him grimace right after. … We all went out there, and there was no real debate as to whether to keep him out there. We took him out, and we’ll get him re-evaluated when we get home.
“He didn’t fight it at all or anything like that. I wasn’t a pitcher, but any time you feel something in your elbow, it’s a concern. This guy’s a fighter and a fierce competitor, but he trusts the organization and the doctors, so we’ll see where we go from here.”
“I think it always takes a little bit when you go to a new place, to settle in and fall into that routine. You sort of get that going after you’ve been there a little bit, and it’s been a good adjustment here. … It’s a little different at first, but everybody in this organization has been great. It’s a lot of fun and I’m glad to be here.”