On every roster, there are two groups of players: pitchers and field players. This season with the Staten Island Yankees, Ken Joyce will oversee the offensive element of the game. This group of hitters showcases a varying level of experience; some of which are returning players, and a lot are first time players. None of these players are making their professional domestic debuts, but one is making his first appearance as a member of a Yankee affiliate. There is also a very heavy Latin flare, as nine out of the thirteen field players were either born in the Dominican Republic or Venezuela. Let’s get to know the team a bit more:
After speaking with team Hitting Coach Ken Joyce, he discussed his coaching approach. For the players to focus, and not worry about the mental aspects of the game:
“My job is to put every hitter I work within the best possible position I can put them in to hit. Once I do that, its to try to get them to convince them that they are the best player that ever played this game.”
To best help the hitters reach their potential, Joyce believes that a player’s feel for the game is important to his coaching identity:
“For me, it is all about teaching feel and getting players to feel, how to do It the right way. Once you teach them that feel, they become their best coach”
There were a couple of players we had a chance to speak with at Staten Island Yankee Media Day. Ricky Keeler discussed with Ricky Surum, a 16th Round selection (2017) out of Mount Olive College, what his hitting approach is:
“Right now, I am just trying to hit the ball hard. I’ve kind of struggled with an approach in pro ball, thinking too much, and trying to do too many things. I just have to get back to the see-ball-hit ball. Look for a fastball and try to hit it hard.
With the assist of Ken Joyce, Staten Island Yankees hitters will be able to develop a plan. Starting first baseman Eric Wagaman also confirmed to Pinstriped Prospects his approach in the batter’s box:
“I’m trying to use the middle of the field. Make sure I am sticking to my plan. Not swinging at pitches out of the zone, which is where I really start to get hurt. Try to hit the fastball.”
One of the most anticipated assignees to the Staten Island Yankees roster is Outfielder Canaan Smith. After a GCL All-Star worthy performance last season, Smith provided Pinstriped Prospects with a glimpse into how he plays the game:
“My approach is to move runners, do my job, help the team score some runs. Defensive-wise, just make the plays, get the pitchers out of the inning.”
With the depth of the current Yankees system, there are players on the Staten Island Yankees that would have been promoted to a higher level in other systems. Given this influx of talent, expect this team to improve on the .232 Team Batting Average this season, and be a contender for another New York Penn League title.