Thursday, May 9, 2013

Talking to the Quad Cities Coaches

I spoke with both Pitching Coach Dave Borkowski and Hitting Coach Joel Chimelis when I was in Quad Cities to get their take on the players that I interviewed, but I spoke with them about a few other players/topics as well and wanted to share their thoughts.

DAVE BORKOWSKI

Borkowski on Lance McCullers
He's doing fine. I think he's getting back to his old form and the ball's coming out very well. He's got a strong arm. We all know that. It's well above average. He's young. He's going to have some growing pains. That's part of it. The stuff is fine. The competitiveness is fine. The intensity. The focus. What he's trying to do is fine. He just needs to age and get better with age. He's doing well, though. He should be fun to watch. He's par for the course. He's doing what he should be doing at 19 years old.

Colton Cain under the watchful eye of Dave Borkowski
April 2013 - Photo by Jayne Hansen

Any surprises on the pitching staff?
I don't know that I'm surprised, but I've been impressed with what [John] Neely's done out of the bullpen. You know, he's got a good heavy sinker. He's just closing games and going after guys. I don't think he's given up a fly ball out this year. [Neely has a 5.00 GO/AO through 11 games.] Breaking a bunch of bats with that sinker, and he's got a good slider to go with it. I've been impressed with what he's done.

Borkowski on Tandem Pitching
You know what? It's working out pretty well right now. Honestly, I wasn't much for it early on, but it seems to be working well. The biggest thing is the three days off and the recovery -- guys are handling it fine. I think at this level, it's a good way to monitor some innings and maybe not overwork them in a game where we're trying to get them through seven and [they throw] too many pitches, so it's been good.

JOEL CHIMELIS

Chimelis on Teoscar Hernandez
I think a lot of people, the first time they see him, they start liking him a lot. The more they see him, even more so. He's got some tools. He can run. He can throw. He can hit. He's a very good player. Hitting wise, he's very simple when it comes to his mechanics. Most of these young kids get into trouble when they try to do too much. They've got to find that balance between being aggressive, but get under control. But overall, he's got quite a few tools and he's exciting to watch. We've had scouts that have never seen him that came over from different organizations, and they saw him for the first time in Spring Training, "Wow, I love that guy!" We're talking about [a prominent scout] and he says, "Wow, I love this guy. He's my man. He's my guy." It's pretty obvious he's a pretty good player.

Joel Chimelis throwing BP - April 2013
Photo by Jayne Hansen

On Carlos Correa and working with young hitters
I think his biggest fault is just his effort level. He tries to do too much. He knows he's got some thunder in his bat, and I think sometimes he gets too aggressive. He gets out there a little bit too far, commits to bad pitches. So we're just trying to make him trust himself, "What I'm doing is enough to drive the ball. I don't need to go out and get the ball. I don't need to lunge out there." Slowly but surely, he's going to get comfortable and confident with his ability to just relax and let the ball get to him. Because right now when he gets in trouble, the main thing is [that he is] going out there a little too far to get the ball, just lunging to the ball, drifting to the ball and as a result of that, he commits to bad pitches.

A lot of these guys, especially when they have runners in scoring position, the intensity level increases and then the mind is going 100 miles an hour and as a result, the body's going to do the same. So it's just a matter of trying to keep these guys on an even keel and just try to be consistent with that thought process. As you go up on the higher levels, those guys get better with that. They trust themselves. Less is more sometimes. Eventually it will come to a point where it's like, "I remember back in A ball in Quad Cities where they were telling me to relax and let the ball come to me. You don't have to go out and get it." Eventually it will start clicking for him. Hopefully sooner than later. And again, most of these guys are like that. They just get too antsy and they want to do too much and I keep saying, "The mind controls the body. If you're not relaxed up in the head, in your mind, your body can't do the same."

If he can control his emotions and his effort level, he's going to be more consistent. With Correa, he's going to have to keep trusting. He's going to have to keep working on that. He's capable of a lot. We have a lot of kids on this team that have a lot of ability. It's there. We've just got to find it and build it.

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