Nickeas Not Intimidated by Promotion
In his second full year with the Mets organization, 25 year old catcher Mike Nickeas is not intimidated by his move up to Triple-A for the first time in his career.
Nickeas has moved around plenty of times in his short stint in the minor leagues. He was originally drafted by Texas in the fifth round of the 2004 draft and comes to New Orleans after being traded to the Mets in August of 2006. As well as moving around in the minors, Nickeas has played in the Arizona Fall League and also has taken his talent abroad to play for team Great Britain in the European Championships. With each new team come new pitchers and new personalities as well as their pitching styles. However, Nickeas is not anticipating any problems learning new pitchers in his move up to the Zephyrs.
"Its not a big problem, we've had time in spring to get to know each other," he says of the New Orleans' pitching staff. "So I think I get along and they get along and we have a great team so there is no problem there. With guys you learn them and their personalities as you go, just a feel for them."
One of the biggest differences between Triple-A and Double-A is the interaction between the major leagues and the minors. Nickeas had the opportunity to work with many of the big league pitchers during spring training, giving him an inside look at what it takes to be a major league player.
"It's a great opportunity to learn more about the game," Nickeas said of his big league interactions. "All the deep parts, of how much those guys put in their game plans and preparations."
"I learned the way they set up hitters, the ways that pitchers are looking to get guys out, how in-depth the scouting reports go and how much info they actually have on specific guys and what they are trying to do. It made me more aware of what I need to do and what info I need to gain before the game to help my guys throw a good game."
Nickeas' impressive skills at the catcher position have been the driving force of moving him though the minor leagues. He has a good understanding of pitchers and is quick to learn a new pitching staff. He is not intimidated by his move up to New Orleans, but rather sees it as another chance at improving his game.
"Well it's just another year of getting a little better, a little smarter, better working with pitchers," Nickeas says of his promotion to Triple-A.
While Nickeas's defense is remarkable, his offense is in need of improvement and could be a road block against him making it to the majors. He batted .217 last season in Binghamton, and Improving his hitting was his main focus during the off-season.
"I revamped my whole swing this off-season, after the fall league. I took a lot of movement out of my swing. I worked hard on trying to simplify a lot of things and I think it's working out, my swing feels good right now."
Nickeas's realizes that he has a long way to go with his swing, but his goal offensively for the season is to do as well as he can behind the plate.
"Offensively my goal is to obviously do as well as I can by making solid contact every time I'm at bat," he said. "That's probably not an obtainable goal but that's something I'm trying to do."
As for the defensive side of his game, Nickeas is just aiming at continuing to improve, to work his way up to the major leagues.
"Defensively I would like to continue to improve and working with guys and game calling."
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