Wabick Looking For More Consistency
After a slow start to his 2009 season, Binghamton outfielder D.J. Wabick is turning heads in his first year at the Double-A level.
Wabick—selected by the Mets in the 25th round of the 2005 First-Year Player Draft—is currently second on the team in batting average (.307), RBI (29), and hits (54), and is tied for the team lead in doubles with 18. His .307 batting average is also in the top 10 of the Eastern League.
"[The first year at Double-A] is going well," Wabick said. "I started off a little slow just trying to adjust to the level, and I pressed a little bit. But then I got back on track by working hard with our hitting coach and our head coach."
Wabick hit a dismal .205 for the month of April, collecting only nine hits in the month while posting a .234 OBP.
"I had swung the bat pretty well in spring so when I came into the season I expected to get off to a good start," Wabick said.
"And when I started struggling, I just started pressing and when you start pressing you tighten up—you're late on fastballs and you start swinging at breaking pitches that aren't strikes. It was a matter of getting my confidence back."
Wabick would find that confidence once the calendar turned to May, hitting .377 for the month with 13 doubles and 15 RBI.
"I just relaxed," he said. "I started getting a few hits and worked hard every day—I came in early, did the same routine every day, same BP."
While he acknowledges that at first the grittier Double-A pitchers—more willing to throw good breaking balls in hitters counts—may have contributed to his early struggles, he now believes they have helped him grow.
"I'm becoming more patient," he said. "When you get into advantage counts in the lower levels, you know a fastball is coming and you just sit on it. Now you have to be a little smarter—you have to look at patterns and be more disciplined."
That rediscovered patience has also helped Wabick become one of Binghamton's best hitters in key situations. He is currently batting .322 with runners on base, and is batting .385 with runners in scoring position.
"I really like hitting with runners with runners in scoring position," he said. "You just look for a pitch to drive and drive into the outfield, and if worst comes to worst, you hit a sac fly for an RBI."
When he's not hitting in the cage, Wabick is working on solidifying his defense and his numbers reflect it—through 49 games this season, he has only committed one error.
"Every day I'm working hard to try and improve it and I think it's definitely getting a lot better," he said. "My routes are getting better, my arm is more accurate."
Overall, Wabick—who since May has slid into a 5-for-26 June which included an 0-for-17 stretch—is looking for consistency at the Double-A level.
"I was swinging the bat really well going into our series with Portland and in the first three games I lined out five or six times, so the last game I started to press a little bit" he explained. "I feel fine, I'm not too worried about it. All I can do is keep swinging the bat and hitting balls hard."
"I just want to put together a solid season overall," he added. "I want to play good defense, I want to hit really well, and just play to the best of my ability."
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