He's done a good job since he's got here, especially at the plate. I think he's one of the best young switch-hitters I've ever seen. This is my 34th year in pro ball and I can't ever remember a 22-year-old switch-hitter who handles the bat as well as him. I may have seen one, but I don't remember.
The point is, he's pretty proficient from both sides of the plate. Often times, you see a switch-hitter who's better from one side or the other, but I think he's consistent on both sides. He runs well, and he has had some problems fielding, but I think some of that comes from being a little inconsistent on his approach when balls are hit. We're working on that. He's also one of those guys who we want to see play some second base.
|HIGH PRAISE: Jack Lind calls Binghamton shortstop Anderson Hernandez - hitting .314 through Thursday - "one of the best young switch-hitters I've ever seen." (Photo: Bryan Hoch/Scout.com)|
Basically what you told me. He's a pretty good fielder, and nobody told me much about his stick. But I just know they wanted me to play him at shortstop and some at second base, and hit in the top three spots in the lineup.
His best spot is the leadoff spot, and we tried him in the second and third spots too. He's done a real good job for us in the leadoff spot, and probably he could fit in that role at higher levels if he could be a little more aggressive on the bases. Sometimes we have to get him to run, but he's got speed and he could use it a little better.
Would you say he's been one of your biggest surprises this season?
Yeah, I think so. I didn't really have too many expectations for him, because he was an unknown to me, but watching him play and doing the things he does – offensively especially - he's been sort of a surprise.
How about Mike Jacobs? What has he meant to your team this season?
He's knocked in a lot of runs, and he's been a real big help. He's solid in the middle of the lineup. In the early part of the season, he was hot and cold, but he strived to make adjustments. He's done a great job lately. He's a dangerous guy with the bat, and the biggest thing is he's able to drive in runs for us.
Coming off an injury as Jacobs did, do you think his early hot and cold streak had anything to do with shaking off rust?
I didn't see him play last season, but just knowing what he went through last season and what kind of player he was two years ago, he probably did [have rust]. When you miss most of the year, you're going to have kinks to work out. I think maybe that was part of the problem early in the season, although he didn't really struggle. But he wasn't the kind of player compared to what he was.
How do you split up the catching between Jacobs and Joe Hietpas?
When we left spring training, the idea was to have [Jacobs] catch a couple times a week, and Joe would play first base a couple of times a week. Joe had never played first base before, so that made it kind of interesting. But [Jacobs] came up with two hamstring problems that slowed the opportunity to put him behind the plate, because I didn't want him to squat down with bad hamstrings. He'll probably start catching more now, maybe three times a week.