Casanova Still Finding a Way
Thirty-five year old switch hitter Raul Casanova, began his career with the Mets in 1990. Now eighteen years later, Casanova is a veteran of the very same system in which he started his career. His experience at all levels of professional baseball, with the Mets and nine other organizations, is a valuable resource for the Zephyrs as he brings maturity as well as stability to the lineup.
Casanova's career began with the Mets, when he was drafted in the 8th round of the 1990 draft. His first season in professional baseball was a disappointment for himself and the organization as he only hit .077 on the season with only one RBI in 23 games with the Gulf Coast League Mets. As he bounced around the minors in different organizations, Casanova built up his confidence and improved his swing.
In 1994, he had a tremendous season, batting .340, slugging 23 homer runs and accumulating 120 RBIs. This performance led to Casanova being named the Padres Minor League Player of the Year. He eventually made it to the majors in 1996 where he debuted with the Tigers.
Casanova found some success in the big leagues over a period of years with such teams as the Tigers, Brewers and Orioles. After drifting through a number of farm teams, he finally settled with the Mets organization in early 2008, signing a minor league contract.
Beginning the season in New York, Casanova played 22 games for the Mets, completing 55 at bats for a .273 average. In late June, Casanova was sent to New Orleans where he is averaging .321 in the 22 games played for the Zephyrs.
Since Casanova is no novice to professional baseball, he believes he can share his experience with his fellow teammates.
"My experience can help the young guys. I guess that I can help them relax and go out there and help them be the best they can be," Casanova said.
How does Casanova relax and have confidence in his own performance at the plate?
"Work my hitting every day, go early to the cages and practice, and you take that from there to the game," he said.
Just like his teammates that are newer to professional baseball, Casanova still has improvements to make as well as maintaining his swing which makes him so effective at the plate. At the age of 35 he has to work harder to stay in shape and preserve his health.
"You know you always try and improve everything. I have 19 years playing baseball and you still have to work," Casanova said. "Right now I'm trying to maintain my body and try and stay healthy and the other stuff will take care of itself."
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