Our drive-by-drive and play-by-play review and analysis of Notre Dame's first half efforts Saturday…
Flagg Aims To Become Complete Hitter
Jeff Flagg is a big first baseman still trying to find his identity in the Mets system. Flagg was selected out of Mississippi State University in the 27th round by the New York Mets of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft.
He made his debut in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League that summer where he hit .223 with five home runs and 25 RBI. Despite being a college draftee, Flagg returned to rookie ball in 2009 with Kingsport. After two years, Flagg is looking forward to playing baseball in the South Atlantic League.
While in Kingsport, Flagg received a lot of constructive criticism from his coaches. "Last year we had a manager (Mike DiFelice) that spent many years in the big leagues and I tried to pick his brain…you know just play the game right and play hard and respect the game," said Flagg.
"As far as individually, we worked on a few offensive things just as far as using the middle of the field and not trying to do too much; words that are going to stick with me my whole trip up the ladder hopefully."
As far as hitting is concerned, Flagg is learning that patience is a virtue. The first baseman has some of the best raw power in the system, but is still too much of a pull hitter at times. Coaches wanted him to become more patient at the plate so he can use more of the whole field.
"It's just a matter of being ready to hit. I have a tendency to be late, which makes the pitches look like they are coming faster than they are. It's just a matter of slowing the game down and let it come to you instead of trying to go to it," Flagg explained.
Throughout spring training, Flagg was ready to put in hard work and was inspired by the work ethic of the guys in the big leagues.
"It's a grind for sure. Early mornings…but we get a lot of work in with all the coaches and its cool to have the big leaguers around to watch them and see how they work. They are where we want to get so to just be able to watch them work is nice. It is a good experience," said Flagg.
Flagg also noted the work he put in during the offseason. The move to Savannah comes with the longer schedule and the tougher demands on the body. Flagg will serve as the Sand Gnats starting first baseman, so he needs to be ready to be out there every day.
"The offseason just gave me time to get strong. I was in the weight room a lot because I needed to build up for the 140 game season. It's a long year so I need to be able to grind it out and stay healthy. Staying healthy is a big thing for me and also doing a lot of injury prevention stuff is important. Hopefully it pays off," said Flagg.
Flagg is also developing a strategy to become a steady hitter. He is going to be looked at as a major run producer in the Sand Gnats lineup. That means he will have to a more complete hitter than the streaky hitter he was at times last year.
"Well I'm working on just trying to be more consistent. That is the biggest thing in baseball is to be consistent," said Flagg. "In a long season you have to be able to repeat your approach and your swing everyday."
"That's something I am constantly working on and it's what makes the big leaguers successful and that's where I'm trying to get. I'm just trying to be more consistent in my mechanics and my approach."
His arrival in Savannah in the final week of 2009 has given Flagg an opportunity to get his feet wet and get adjusted with his new team.
"It was good to experience to get a little taste of it. Coming into the year I kind of knew how things were going to go. It was only the last week or so but it was good. I'm comfortable with it now and now its time to just play ball," he said.
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