Wabick Looks to Repeat Strong Season

Wabick has hit over .300 the last two seasons

Last year, D.J. Wabick was the offensive leader for the Savannah Sand Gnats, as the squad struggled mightily to put together any consistent success both on the field and in the win column. However, the team's tough times did not have much of a negative impact on Wabick as he went out and put together a career year in his first shot with a long-season squad.

D.J. Wabick's name may not resound with the likes of other outfielders at higher levels of the organization, but for the last two season's Wabick has put forth career efforts and demonstrated an ability to improve with each off-season. Following his second season in 2006 in which he hit .306 with a .388 on-base percentage and 31 RBI in 60 games in short-season ball, he held the bar high for himself and eventually made good on those expectations.

Wabick once again hit .306, but over the 118-game season he saw a dramatic rise in his power and run production. Many times throughout the season it seemed as if Savannah had to scratch for every run scored, but Wabick provided a stabilizing force in the heart of the order.

Aside from his poor month of May in which he hit just .183 in 22 games, Wabick hit a sound .330 with an on-base percentage well over 40 percent—including a second half in which he hit .352 with seven home runs and 43 RBI. More than anything he would like to duplicate that performance in 2008.

"I feel like I'm coming in with more confidence. I had a good year two seasons ago, but that was with a short-season club, so I didn't know didn't know what to expect going into a long season. But now that I've hit .300 with a long-season club, it has helped my confidence a lot. I'm hoping I can keep my average over .300 this year, but adding more power and run production will be very important," explained Wabick.

The desire to keep improving his offensive game is why he spent a significant part of his season tweaking his swing to gain more power. Wabick boasts very good contact skills as he stays through the zone and can drive the ball to both power alleys. However, going into 2008 he wants to turn some of the 32 doubles he hit last year into home runs.

" I followed the techniques that the Mets gave me to improve on my explosion in my swing and that came with building my strength the explosion I have through the ball," detailed Wabick. "A lot of the time last season, I would make real good contact but I would have a lot of topspin on it that would be singles and doubles, but if I can keep my hands inside more that should, with the added strength, give me more home run power."

It is in his improved swing from which much of his excitement for the new season stems. After a very productive season in Savannah, both in statistics and maturation, Wabick is aware the competition will only get stiffer from here on out, but if there is one thing he has shown in his career, it is that he adjusts well to change and the demands that come with each season.

"Spring Training has been great every year, but there is something about this year that has got me going. I've worked so hard this winter, coming off a good year and I really feel good about what could happen this year," Wabick admitted. "I know there will be the usual challenges, but I'm ready. There will be a lot of talent in camp so I need to play the best I can and put myself in a position to make the team that I'm shooting for.

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