This week I am going to continue with another piece of the minor league
puzzle that I was trying to illuminate last week.
But real quick, I am doing well, I have begun taking batting practice at a
normal pace and I have resumed all normal running and throwing so I am just
going to be continuing to try and strengthen my oblique muscles along with other
supporting areas to be as healthy as possible.
Now, "Everyday is Monday" is a very common phrase thrown around
baseball because of the repetitive nature of the business. Last week I touched
on those unique circumstances that make this game oh so rewarding and oh so
difficult. To be clear, a lot of people assume that by rewards I mean the
immense monetary pay out of an A-Rod or any other established big league
veteran, and although the compensation is great, that's not what I mean
entirely. Rewards to me are individual in nature for each player and they just
depend on what that player wants out of his career.
The repetition of baseball is rooted in what it takes to prepare for a game. The
what, I believe, is what makes playing at the highest levels so difficult and so
satisfying at the same time. To be a success in this sport you have to hone the
same skills for hours everyday and for seven months of the year. Each player is
a bit different, but his routine tends to not change for seven straight months.
The same number of swings, the same pre-game workout, the same amount of pre-game
throws, sprints and ultimately the same mental preparation to be ready to give
yourself the best chance to be successful everyday. Now you might say there are
plenty of jobs that require tedium in order to be successful and I am inclined
to agree with you but how many never get a break? Baseball is literally played
everyday at the minor league level, in fact, two days off a month is considered
to be a treat, especially if you're lucky enough to not be on a bus for nine
hours on your day off.
Now what makes all that consistency before the game so hard (I defined it as
soul crushing last week, lol) is that you get no guarantee of in-game success.
You can do everything the right way starting from the time you wake up (for us
single minor leaguers were talking 11 or noon, which is
a perk of the occupation but we are not off work until midnight) which might
mean eating the right foods, getting to the ball park by one or two, getting
your ice, tape, physical treatment, etc. Then working out, whether it be
running, lifting, then taking your own extra swings in the cage, usually with
the hitting coach. After that we have team practice on the field which includes
batting practice, infield-outfield and occasionally some organizational mandated
conditioning. Then you get an hour off to eat, relax, prepare for the game
mentally and go play. Now you can do all of those things the right
way and go 0-for-5 and now you have to sleep on that, do all of those things
over again just to try and rectify what ultimately in your eyes was a waste of a
Now why would anyone do that? Because there are those days when you go 3-for-4
and everything is right and in that lies your reward. You work and battle everyday chasing that perfect night and if you ever get it, the
satisfaction is unreal because they just do not happen that often. Ok, so there
is another small piece of the puzzle and now, I'll answer a few questions:
Kevin Duffy Asks: "Are you playing winter ball?"
Yes I am, and I am going to play in Mexico.
Now the most interesting question I got, and subsequently the most difficult one,
came from Terry Martin; "Give us the top 5 Phillies' Minor league arms I
have played with and who wouldn't I want to face?"
That's a really tough question because I have played behind some pretty good
arms but I have not really stepped into the box against a lot of our guys,
especially the younger arms, but I will try and I will give small reasons why.
For me, the conversation starts with Kyle Drabek. I have seen him throw a lot in
the past year and I think he has got a chance to be a special arm. He throws
extremely hard, has a great curveball and a good change-up and he has a mean
streak to him.
I faced Michael Stutes a bunch in college and he has got great commend and good
stuff and he throws a lot of pitches for strikes. Anytime a guy can throw three
or four quality pitches for strikes he is a tough match up.
Gary Majewski throws a real hard heavy sinker, those are never fun and in that
same category I'll throw in Pat Overholt as another sinker guy who
I think can be tough.
The last guy I'm going to name is Cedric Bowers, he has some unreal stuff. He is
left-handed, throws real hard, has a real sharp slider and good arm speed on his
change-up and he has real long arms so he reaches out towards you so the ball
climbs on you.
Just a FYI, I only named guys I have faced before because its tough to have a
feel for pitchers as a hitter until you get into the box and see what his stuff
Thank you all again for reading some of my thoughts.
If you have questions for Michael Taylor, please send them to MTaylor@PhillyBaseballNews.com
and we'll pass them along. Perhaps you'll be seeing your question in an upcoming
blog entry from Michael.