In the first month of the season, Caleb Stewart hit a quiet .256 with little power. As the…
Q&A with B-Mets Hitting Coach Nelson Silverio
Nelson Silverio: The performance has been pretty good. We struggled early because it was cold. I don't look for excuses, but we had too many games suspended. It messed with our timing and all the good things we did coming out of spring training. They guys have lost a little bit, but I had most of these guys last year so I know what they can do. They are doing a good job now and I'm confident they will keep picking it up as we go along.
Inside Pitch: Starting with last weekend's sweep of Portland, the bats have come alive. The lineup has posted a season high in runs a few times over the last week. Is that because the weather has been more stable? Is it due to the fact that guys are seeing live pitching everday?
Silverio: We have a couple guys who are coming around. Caleb Stewart is one of them. He's showing more consistency with quality at-bats and his power. He's really helped our lineup. Mark Kiger is another one of them. We've been able to put him anywhere in the lineup and he's given us good production. Corey Coles, coming off his injury from St. Lucie, has provided a spark at the top of the order with his hitting. He's been getting on base a lot and doing good things with this speed.
Inside Pitch: You mentioned Kiger. He has some big league experience; he's an older guy on the team. Specifically, what do you think of his bat?
Silverio: He is showing that scoring can be easy when you have a guy who can swing the bat like him. Working with him is a lot of fun, he loves to play. As a hitting coach, he makes my job easy because he knows how to work counts and swing the bat when heeds to do. He doesn't get overly selective and makes good contact. Even though he has played the in big leagues, he, and I, are always looking for him to get better.
Inside Pitch: Jose Coronado is a young guy struggling to find good production at the plate. What does he need to do to turn it around?
Silverio: He's a young kid coming off from Single-A, who has been in professional baseball for a few years. I think his biggest problem here may just the quality of pitching. At this level it's obviously going to be harder for him. In single-A, he could sit on a fastball and not have to work too deep into counts. He's got to adjust to breaking balls and pitches he may not expect in fastball counts. But he understands what he needs to do and he's picking it up some. He's had good base hits recently, he's got some strong extra-base hits, line drive doubles.
Inside Pitch: Corey Ragsdale is another guy hitting just near .200. What does need to do to get it going?
Silverio: He had a tough year last year, and I've worked with him on cutting down on strikeouts and his pitch selection. He needs just work on putting the ball in play first and then the power and consistency should come. With him it's about working counts. I told him that he shouldn't be shy from swinging at the first pitch if he can drive it. Sometimes swinging away at the first pitch can get a guy going. He has struggled with the slider as well. The slider is a pitcher's pitch and if he continues to chase it, he's only going to see more of them. That's not going to help him get going. It's up to him to stop swinging at it. For me, it's about letting go until you get a better pitch.
Inside Pitch: What about Fernando Martinez's bat? At just 18-years-old, it sure seems like he is a hitter beyond his years.
Silverio: Fernando is like everyone says. He's a special kid that has great talent, especially at the plate. He's got a good eye, he knows exactly the pitches he wants to hit and he hits them. He's got good power to the gaps and I'm sure as he gets older, he will develop even more power and be able to hit to all fields with pretty good consistency.
Inside Pitch: Many of the guys have been averaging near, if not over, a strike out per game. The walks have started to come around. Have you worked with the guys on pitch selection or patience? What do they need to do to cut down on the wild swings?
Silverio: The guys need to work on their two-strike approach. Many of the guys were just swinging too hard. Now, I just want them to put the ball in play, it doesn't matter how. Nothing good can come out of swinging too hard with two strikes and it certainly won't help us put more runs on the board. It's getting better because the guys aren't going after power and they are looking to just get on base with solid hits.
Inside Pitch: What does the lineup need to do, top-to-bottom, from here on out to get the offense, and the team, going in a positive direction into the summer?
Silverio: We just need to continue the recent good hitting we've had as of late. We tried to put the frustration behind us. We want to take a lot of good at-bats. For me, everybody should know that where they are in the order, has a certain job to be done. If a guy is hitting leadoff or second, he's got to get on base to set up our power guys. If guys are hitting at the bottom of the order, their job is too keep innings and rallies alive and turn the lineup over. Right now, what we are doing is relying on our middle guys to get the job done and it's got to be everyone. Guys can't force anything and worry about something they can't hit.
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