Q+A with hitting coach Kevin Seitzer

On Ryan Goins…
“Love his swing, love everything about what he is doing mechanically with his approach and now it’s just a matter of him getting at-bats and timing and putting it all together in a game. For me, he’s on the right path, and now it’s about getting more at-bats and timing.”

Goins being pull happy last year and what’s being done to fix that…
“Just being able to repeat his hand path is the biggest thing. To give yourself a chance when you’re a little early or a little late. He was out and around balls that were out in the middle-in part of the plate. We started cleaning up his direction, he adjusted big time, it felt good to him, it felt right, it was a little awkward at first but he has worked hard and I like where he is at.”

On what needs to be done to fix those mistakes…
“It’s one, getting it to work to where you can repeat it off a tee and soft toss, then you have to take the next step to be able to repeat
it off batting practice pitching, off a machine and then the last step is obviously being able to take it into a game. He’s doing great for me, he’s a young kid, needs to get a little bit more at-bats, a little more experience down here in camp and he’s going to be fine.”

On Goins’ ceiling at the plate…
“I don’t like dropping ceilings on guys because you just never know. You never know how he’s going to be able to handle big-league pitching on a daily basis and be able to make the adjustments that he needs to make. But so far everything I’ve seen has been very good, very positive, that he’s going to be able to make those adjustments that he needs to make. But that remains to be seen, there’s been a lot of hitters that I’ve worked with that are really good in the cage, in batting practice but then putting it into the game is the last big challenge. But I think, mentally and emotionally, he’s tough enough to have the disciple to be able to do that everyday.”

Whether low expectations from media and fans will actually help Goins settle in…
“Maybe in other people’s minds but as an athlete, as an everyday player, you want to have good at-bats consistently and be able to contribute. So I don’t think he’s wired to hit .250 or .260. I think he’s wired to try and hit .300 and be a real solid everyday second baseman at this level. That’s why I don’t like putting ceilings on guys because you never know what their potential could be. But everything so far has been phenomenal. I couldn’t be more happy with where he’s at. The conversations we have after at-bats, he’s learning right now but I think he has the discipline and the ability mechanically in order to have a real good chance at being good.

On the offense in general…
“Honestly, I’m absolutely blown away by what the first three games has shown. I get goosebumps right now thinking about it. Getting timing in games is very very difficult for hitters to do, especially early in camp. The quality of at-bats, the takes, the lack of panic, the plan, the approach, I couldn’t be more pleased. They have been professionals every single day in their early work, batting practice routines, I haven’t heard one person complain about anything at all from an offensive standpoint. I couldn’t be more happy and to see guys get some results in a game does nothing but build momentum for us moving forward.”

On Lawrie trying to cut down on his movement at the plate…
“Absolutely. For me, that’s the biggest step to turn that guy and unleash his potential. He has so much in there, so much hand speed, short streak. Just to get him to quiet down and get all of that waggle out of there. He’s quiet in his set-up, he’s much better there, but when he goes to load and start to fire that’s when things get a little too out of whack. But he has made huge strides in the last two weeks that I’ve been here. That’s where his focus is. We’re eating this elephant one bite at a time and my focus is Opening Day to where he’s dialing in. But where he continues to try and do it, quieting down, keep those hands still when he’s loading, he’s getting results. He took 96 mph the other way the other day on that lefty who had a good fastball and it was middle in.

“He didn’t panic, he didn’t force it, he didn’t jerk, all he did was stay short and stay inside and he smoked a ball past first. The opposite field doubles he’s hit driving the ball the other way. He told me right out of the gate, that was his focus the last month and a half when he started to have some success. He knows that’s the key to getting him back. For me, that’s the hardest part is getting guys to buy into the adjustments that they need to make in order to be good.”

Whether that’s a sign of Lawrie maturing as a hitter…
“I give a lot of credit to his teammates because Encarnacion and Mark DeRosa last year were huge, huge assets to his approach and mindset at the plate. Chad (Mottola) worked with him on his mechanics to try and get him quieted down, not be so crouched, get him a little bit taller to where he can let his hands work better. I give those guys a lot of credit for the adjustments he has been able to make and like I said, the mindset of what he needs to start working on in order to have success.”

2 Comments

Goins doesn’t know how to approach an at-bat: You don’t swing at the first pitch, especially if it’s a ball, when you have a man on first, a base-stealer at that.

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