WEEI>On Demand>>Minor Details Ep. 22: Listening for the next Red Sox power hitters with Victor Rodriguez

Minor Details Ep. 22: Listening for the next Red Sox power hitters with Victor Rodriguez

Apr 10, 2012|

Hitting coordinator Victor Rodriguez is now in his 18th season as an instructor in the Red Sox farm system. Both in his current capacity of working with every level of the system and with his nearly two decades of working with top Sox prospects, from Nomar Garciaparra and Kevin Youkilis and Dustin Pedroia to Ryan Lavarnway and Bryce Brentz and Xander Bogaerts, Rodriguez has as broad a perspective on up-and-coming Red Sox hitters as anyone in baseball. He joined Minor Details in spring training to break down a number of top prospects in the system, and to discuss the search for the next great sound of an up-and-coming prospect.

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-- visited the minor -- I am thrilled to have Victor Rodriguez the Red Sox minor league hitting coordinator in Victor has been here. I I am willing to bet that you are the the longest standing member of the Red Sox right now has anyone been here longer -- you. Well have been hit eighteen years so I guess eight and then you need coaches that I'm the oldest. The most you that's evolved -- seventeenth is made between me and payment and the rest of the guys are younger. Yes so that's pretty cool -- that you have like a hitting coordinator who's been here for eighteen years and a pitching coordinator has been here for seventeen I mean the amount of first you know that means that you work with a lot of guys you repulsive you know share. An incredible amount of knowledge. And secondly it means that you know you're able to look at guys not just where they are at a given moment but to know what they've done over the course of there. Over the course of their careers how much value is there to just. Having a guy around as the coordinator who's been here. You know away you get to -- this -- them. They -- to know what that they'll wonderland is it just will be important and he sees it that way because they'd spend it and I mean that's of the players. And saying get into on the stand -- -- -- it was going and name. He's been in place there really been around and his organization and and see guys you know coming into ice agent and -- -- -- else even. All the teams and immediately and companies are pleasing thing that's our goal to get -- is immediately it's -- with the rest. Well you're in an existing position then we'll start -- we'll talk about a number of guys you've been working with for quite awhile but. We'll start with a couple of guys who were either going to probably start the year in the major leagues or are very close to that point tonight yes. You know one of the most interesting guys this spring. Is Jose Iglesias and you've had a you've been working with him since since he came into the system in 2009. Matt how significant -- the strides that Jose has made from one year ago at this time. I think when I seen as a more mature guy more mature player and it -- -- believe he's always been but the mental side dated a postponement of aiding. Seems like easy. Comfortable -- You can always -- that -- it if it physical mechanically. And what it in the mental right now is what is I want him to beat and -- and be still be there you know comedian's job. What of the interesting things with him I mean he's made he's made different kind of contact this year than I've seen in past spring training especially. You know the thing that stands up for me is just his ability to actually. You know kind of impact the ball you know liner to center field a little bit more than that may -- we have seen in the past. Is that is Mike as a as the as the hitting coordinator someone who's seen as swing what's allowing him to kind of impact the ball in a different way than he had in the past. I think the main thing is he's being himself instead of in the past we see it here. A case -- CNN. And -- looking all the latest and try to imitate them. And right now he's being himself we shall some media when he will -- for assignment he was able to write them all better -- think he's just. Meaning himself stated this -- -- it -- that he does that he's able to control these postings hands. Eight bodies in a bit facetious or those things with the mental side being made trusting. Or does seem that he's done and he's allowing him to when he screen and make that in order to. So he's he's the little guy is it true that he would kind of fallen into the pattern of of imitating the swing of they run a little bit with whom he worked out so. And and maybe Albert Pujols a little bit. Yeah last year -- yesterday he was he worked out with him so he came -- daddy. We -- stance and Alex Rodriguez and we saw a lot of stiffness we've dealt a body we sold -- a breather solely. You know -- be good to imitate somebody like -- when you have a body like he's saying isn't this more of them may run a little -- little brand -- -- he's been doing it for a long time -- only the -- -- having success with it. Decade it's just I don't think it's that frankly we paid over people's hope. I think that's what the main thing is -- -- he on this do than me that he -- being so. And he's willing to put that time in -- trusting everything that he's done so. You know Imus kicked in on the things out of this. One of the interesting things to me as you know there is a question of whether or not you know he's someone who's ready to start the year in the majors -- AAA. -- mean what of that one of the questions is how would you respond to being challenged in the major leagues how does he respond diversity. Last year he was he he had the face adversity. In AAA what was your sense about how we dealt with just being challenged at a level that was very advanced given his age given his professional experience. You know was he someone who. You know for whom that was difficult -- you know struggle offensively where was -- someone who was able to use that as a learning tool and get better from. I think I think -- -- a decade if if that team easily thinking about keeping him is probably because he's a good defensive player. And and it seemed a little put any pressure -- -- fancy -- dancing game. If it's. They allowed him to do that just focus on defense and in and give us. The what you're capable with the -- I think it's going to be a better place at immediately when I think eventually he's gonna learn these children is the only adjustment. And he's a lot of people did that cares for game. And at the will be with came -- and make sure that it's basic fundamentals site he's -- of the season so. You know always a lot of players that have -- immediately. That are very good defensively and probably not as good offensively -- who did use. They got better and I can see -- 66 scale battles he did LCDs -- You know they would know the haters when they first but the defense part of the game that didn't immediately again. They got -- -- you -- -- -- experience. So that's what I seen this of course. You know at bats -- they -- that's gonna get him better so. I think he's in a win win situation the case if he makes immediately -- -- be Davies and US and he's going to be listening and sizzle. That is the bears to win win so will Mel Brooks has already has has been optioned to lots of minor league camp. -- a very good Major League spring training it's interesting for me to think about him because his first couple of his first professional experience was he was challenged. You -- you -- and you know you work for the middle he was hitting like a buck fifty through its first half of the season -- he responded to that. He was hitting like a buck fifty in this first half of the season in -- the next year and you saw respond to that -- put up you know respectable numbers at the end. How different how much progress has this guy made over the course of you know of what four years now professional experience but he had. That's the only guy and you know you can see that's it that's a -- -- about it people are looking in right now. Seeing look at this -- You know and we -- them for ideas going -- We said we saw that -- -- but I think they didn't see himself as a player because of it. You know if they were not able to us what they would do it and made of -- sample of a guy gave every year. Getting men and trusting what you need to do it now do you see when you come into the cage. Right it's happening. Plan. Not only physically but mentally and -- understand that he need to speak with it and name. Is very very confidence and you're going to see guys that come it is. You can only think about -- -- and that's what I've seen miracles made it past couple years. Didn't even know what kind he has probably and he has put himself in the position of backtracked because of trusting what he's doing a daily basis but stands out about his offensive ability what makes a good hitter. I believe that drives the ball in of the things that match and you. Our only thing we've seen only concern is to keep democracy because he can get patsy and think too many -- each beat but when he's aggressive. He -- typical of its -- on. Ability to defeat at the old -- -- -- -- -- those things so. You know I'm expecting to see that things. You mentioned different sound off about you refer to that with a few different does in the system. It is that really like something that exists is that something where as a hitting coordinator here kind of wandering around you know four different fields all of a sudden you just you hear something and it kind of makes their answer is is that yeah. -- you know -- diseases. When you live here -- sounds of the bad I mean you read way to think about the bowlers brands. And their books and Jacobs. You know it's just. Natural ability they have that that when they make contact is that it's the sound. You know these other young players that you know they make contact ended -- drivable but. Case of difference houses some people feel that you use when they he would indeed just. Even if you're looking your body's at its stake in Beatles those guys because that's at least it won't come off the bat you know. But is that is that you know is that bat speed is that you know as Texas hitting it on the sweet spot what what is it that makes that at bat speed if -- -- speeds you know they've they've made it didn't velocity of the or making contact with -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- So you know use it was brand name of rose in all -- -- and Jacobs hit batting practice and he's the sound. You know even all the guys are driving the ball and eighty days -- -- doing the right thing but these guys see something you can piece -- gone with the package. So that's that's management the other guys who makes it sound let's talk about all those guys that may sound. -- is someone who I think he only played about a 108 games last year because he had a wrist injury and when he had a wrist injury. He had he had had a great run in Greenville was right after -- much miss -- he got hit numerous by a pitch. And I thought -- know if he's going to be able to sustain its power because you know -- your livelihood accurate hitter. And then he did he you hit eleven home runs about a you know month and a half agree -- many had nineteen in Salem which is a tough -- to do that game. He hit thirty home runs a 108 games that's crazy to me. Tell me about what you saw from friends Lester because you have not seen that kind of performance in -- the previous. Well I think. That's what I'm saying we seen guys that at that level there's for a couple years when we -- come to the system and they tried to do more. They don't trust and believe the and then brands that they did you before. It's probable I think what's more -- -- -- trying to do too much and last year. He was able to hopefuls will digging down and that that I believe it's right or isolating old but he was existence because of that level. Now we see a guy. That is under control. ABC guys that he's in the whole field we see a guy that -- -- and the beaches. So all those things those that believe -- to make park on -- drivable that's helped him I'd say he'll likely than any games. And look at the numbers it did in game right now -- indicated that at times. It out of that -- have been on the -- what he's able to pull things out and get back on track so. You know we see that ability but. They trusted. And based team with the things that didn't -- you'll see that exists and that's what we've seen these guys that success is the biggest power guy in the system right now. -- -- -- He's got to be one of them it's gonna be one of them you know -- mean we had a few that have you know that that -- power. Age. And -- at -- of the days they have to become loose gators will be probably haters and man acting. We have seen a lot of things for him what day. I think that they're being hated it is -- -- -- made it more colleagues it was a Seattle those guys and we got a few of them you know we've got today that we that. And probably. You mean of blues with dad. Bowlers. Dad bought it you know that's -- power but I think it. This -- they could become the hitters well there is that what they do see that. I would know better. With a guy like prince at the lower levels I always wonder whether or not those home runs are coming off of fastballs or he's also. Responding to breaking pitches and really able to power those up as well. What's your sense of of how advanced he is. He is with secondary pitches -- Our policies towards socialism. Passable and I just of those and because you. Just by looking at the game day high horse in as fast as -- so -- look for something. You know we -- fastball and they make a mistake indeed did it it involved in -- -- Wolf as the acting as though rents it if you breaking balls out when he. Despite being readied for fast and just Campbell. And yet that's something that they don't get better -- by. Don't think we'll see more -- -- because of the old features. But you know our phone was always going to be be ready for the past and it just days ago. You know who it is. They can manage those mistakes they may face with the breaking -- And but yeah we did a date deep right -- -- those -- game last year and they made him stay with game was able to get it. Gee isn't that he was -- because he wasn't. He wasn't probably ready for it -- And and it's this fast school wasn't for fast it was a good break it was pretty fast so. It was more being in -- position -- -- react right don't guess Korea act act so. They get you better get embedded me in and out it wasn't the right thing. Now they just need. You have some at bats both of you see him. The hard way you mentions in that context I mean he's a really interesting guy I don't I don't know that he's really struggled offensively. Since you've got -- his numbers have been incredibly consistent -- see you almost always see guys in their transition to professionals vision struggled. How how odd is it that he's never had to go through that and what is he is. And they gag came. We data flows from day one you know is a guy that day I told the guys -- We might have to make adjustments -- more days. I feel that he'd just get democracy in the middle of the pack and win big in in that we were happy we want them but. Not always being one of those guys at. You make adjustment. He's on what you did you know he knows he's swing those -- needs to remedy bases these days of preparation days. Probably one of the -- so viewers enjoyed watching him come to the case and -- it -- batting practice and they can gain. You know we don't we will seek -- -- Thanks to singles to get him going the right rates. -- those basic players that they us everything they do they have confidence. Sure they will be. -- -- -- It's interesting to think about someone -- -- -- to make adjustments because these are successful because the last guy who came through your system and he was just. Successful from beginning straight through the miners to my mind was Pedroia. You know and but he has swing you know that as hitting coordinator I imagine you look at it you can do a double take. But -- successful was there ever ever a time when you when you sat down. Instead. I know that's you know let's tighten up -- -- -- not like have you looking like just leading out of you know. -- out of your rear end or was it just like the results were so good just let -- ago. -- -- -- -- -- We need these guys are you know they need to find a way he was aggressive from day one man he has to say this though. You still have access. A little bit yeah they had thingy just by talking to him he was more about trusting. He's daily preparation. -- and it vacant by the fact some of the game but anything else. If what you see from date on these guys -- -- confidence. Eight -- his ability he knows he simply goes out there waiting in the right way but you know. The acting -- that he happy everything that he -- -- -- if you that is. That's -- tell me what your thoughts were when you saw -- -- as a hitting coach as -- hitting coordinator who like who is expert at the technical side of the game like. What was your first reaction when you watched it. This thing -- less is always being aggressive but he found ways to square off you know he's -- And look at the mechanics and you only but then there you find ways to hit the ball was using it to -- so he's. That -- -- exact date we make sure you know this hitter when I first saw him as this -- And it. Seems -- -- a template and write more over the place. -- -- past success and you know he's excited to -- and that's. It -- patents it is. You know he's comfortable when it's in the games -- he was unbelievable in the fields. Anxious and you go to see what they need days ago that some time ago to what anything -- -- well. Well. -- -- not sure if I ever show you the pictures of Youkilis batting in his side in his college days but he is someone who's batting -- changed. More than I mean just about anyone else so I can remember him you know over the course of his professional career when when that bill. How -- that process about how much of that was changes in the minor league system how much of it was of the Major League level. Yeah I think I came here -- movies rule but -- would swing. But he wasn't the guy that. Console displays of beaches. And looked at bats you know I think. Eventually he'd made adjustment whose own just to put sale in the season and -- But anything else is the guy that passes as Nichols is. -- remembered. You've been hearing about people making him just. Certain registered on -- zone yeah that's -- -- -- -- and changes. It does it. -- -- but he always make adjustments and get back today. On the things to. Not much. In came with a supposedly then I think that I would numbers -- something bad. That surprised me that he wasn't a guy that both the -- that view but. You know he's wrong -- and exchange. He was able to this -- it teaches and be pleased to be here he was able to. It pays in and write it right at the state. That tells you that. Players. Use it better and -- and cool. Things whenever they. They do the right thing in us. So getting back to some of the prospects are talking about especially the ones that special sound. So Brandon Jacobs he had a really really good year last year. In not in Greeneville hit over 300 had no VP of like 375. You know seventy home runs. Seventy home runs along with along with. What thirty steals I think a really good all around year government what did you. You know what what stands out about him. Brandon Jacobs I think was focused -- got better I know they they give forty name mean. Lol. You stroll he was up and down I think was more day. He's focused lessons I relieving thing. The main idea when he was gonna -- business lack of focus lack of effort. As he wanted to do -- -- but he was he was do you wanna block that we've now. We go any purpose built last year this guy came came to training camp and he was of those AB TV was with the -- -- AB three big. You could tell he -- he wanted to he -- right thing and it target and we slope -- last season make these days it. That more schools is you're not in the in the game because he's shown in the game he's been the season but. In case her -- what these guys come to the occasion he knows what needs to do. He knows them I'm thinking he's taken ABD. He put it wouldn't work. And work on the right thing you need -- data with the game. And so far here we just gotta slow him down because you want it a lot. And it's -- said that it is learning not to swing a hundred times today and -- activities at the way he wants to hit a lot of space based solely debate as it is one of the war. And that's what I'd tease him that. And we just so he probably doing this better than. So you know just busted today and that means. He beat him while he throws when it. You know it being used need to vote if we're able to get a little bit and it in the indictment. -- -- Or use. -- -- it -- -- as well. When. It right thank you guys one was the ideal because anything. One west -- is because you went west to see what mechanic needs change you have instead of trusting. These -- I assume you believe the demo for it for a while getting back -- -- good news. And see where and saw it as a woman from authorities and maybe focusing on the wrong thing. Is really interesting from just to watch because. His legs and he's his base is spread out more than you see. On almost everyone I guess how did how did that approach come about him you know who can do that how how do you be how can you be so. What allows -- player to have that kind of spread out stance and still be able to create power. Is basically -- rules this is Baghdad I think it was a guy that. It was -- but if it's possible so he got in apple sees it goes to -- big -- movement. And eight you know he's in the postseason ACC disease or have. Eight. In any state inaudible this is. Too many people that and these guys it's just be strong -- it. -- -- allow him to beating the policies of the season that's the best of his swing is he's -- isn't he can get angry gain it. Of these opposed ideas for network and it must -- getting involved but. You know right now I've seen that hey these rules policies that would mechanics thing shortest thing this old man that's what I'd like. -- Zander Bogart's the other sound the other guy who makes the special sound and he was doing it at age eighteen last year. In Greenville I mean to go there for -- -- -- I don't know if it. You know I don't know that anyone would have anticipated that he would have ended up in Greenville last year for starters. And -- not only would he end up there but he would hit you know -- just a ton of home runs at the age of eighteen. You know first glance like first impressions of a guy like that what stood out. Same thing young players that do that mistake though things just focused on. I'm getting them meaning the ossetian. Getting them to understand -- is the -- How's it -- working with them a while focusing on the big deal. -- -- -- -- -- And then. -- -- to seek these out these guys it's basically we have that power but just putting himself in the postseason. So when they make mistake when they make again the field and that respectable but it. Sixty promise but that kills you when it basically is that right thing. At the right seem dated and of itself in there about it kind of in the Caribbean based vacancies with everything they do. One of the things -- was into some Rizzo has talked last year about how. He saw this guy making adjustments. Not only between games are between weeks but he said that you can almost see him making adjustments. Inside a bit. Between at bats or sometimes even inside about bats is that is that accurate like when -- you give an example of an -- that where you saw just a special approach from him. Don't and so and so -- -- -- bad in his right at Georgia please. Big guy big guy to him -- -- fastball and he was open up with a game for the Nazis it was flying. And then -- to guide to look terrible and I was expecting to open up -- be staples and and just react and usable. Industries aimlessly while wanna. -- -- -- The -- have so -- and I thought that that was over anyway he was swinging. But we do right instead of trying to do more -- -- the game down. And forties opening of the season and tell them what you're thinking -- displays I was thinking attributable to global equities and right handed hitter as executable so it may sound mean he was thinking -- -- in them or allow them. And no really tried to do too much just fight it out -- -- base and he let -- -- -- hanging breaking news. This -- over the fence so original so looking to go looking to go you know. I'm looking to go opposite field he was still able to react and react and he had to pull the ball exactly I was able to react because -- -- -- it's the only -- in the -- to -- -- but. Might look at that visa and travel he reacted that way and that's how do it homes down by looking. Yes I'd be acting and having that you know that right police. It's vastly it and he'd -- You know -- -- writes in and out of the field so when you see that is -- -- -- -- it is I keep hearing about -- like you know balls that look like their line drives right senator and they just have -- people. Friday you know that's something you can case. Because with the Aggies in and just keep saying go at it because ultimately -- Jesus basically is that it through it and he's. How talented is this guy I mean you've again you have the advantage of eighteen years have seen talented guys coming through the system. How in terms of the beginning of his professional career who was the last guy who had you know this kind of this kind of ability. That you know and playable ability at such young age. Yeah we have a -- but you know guys like that we did that -- you know. It's news. These -- advocates say because of that success immediately in days. And the easy here when he first came here don't. So. It's basically like that every wasn't hitting sixteen homers this mess doesn't it isn't easy. Anyway it's me and Andy Johnson and you know things if these guys to us. -- these days. Isn't it more basket. When last Kyle asked about you know. Because you get it you get new you guys to work with every year which I imagine is you know part of the excitement of dating you know of hitting coordinator. Getting the draft him you know go to work. So us -- -- is obviously very interesting time. He was drafted very high and also a switch hitter you know coming out of high school the initial opportunity to work with Blake's wife are what -- what -- -- out about him. You know. I think it that a -- series of blows that that the the ball comes out is bad have been different ways to you know both sides of the plate and I and from what I heard -- only been hitting lifting -- not long ago in the inning for a short time. And he was -- about it because I think that when he was in high school he decided that he was just an alternate at bats didn't matter what hand the other pitcher was -- with. He just wanted to really worked on hitting from both sides so even if there was a lefty on the mound which obviously don't see yeah a ton of he was going to bat left handed for that bad or he was going to hit you know right handed against -- he's. And that is what how computers. And that's what they see it full confidence. Legitimate or not -- not -- These com. -- -- to lose -- everything that he does -- with the purpose any something. That. Confident that Buchanan case he's looked because -- he does and you know what kind except as I'm not a bonus he might -- -- CA in -- that fuels you mean frustration. -- it at that age group and that's one thing that's gonna help. It is based in these games when you've. At this age you know -- Europe's getting him at the start of his professional career. Typically it's a guy's supposed to learn an approach him in that first preseason is -- someone who has won or where is he on that spectrum of anything national science. Of the good approaches to testing policies of them -- causing causes them because at that time. At that age they didn't want it to result -- her and -- really thrust in the process. But hey that's our job to really focus -- McCain and I don't give them understand that he viewed as the process themselves can be better. Despite posting anything that you -- -- -- in this -- from being in the good association. And in and he divorced basis at this -- definitely -- you know you don't mind. So hey it seemed as they will learn that later. And wanna -- -- -- him or we we do with him and make sure they poems that are. About -- process process process that was -- -- This is someone who shows power RC you know it is more of a line drive gap type that are. Why believe he's gone for our it's gonna have Pollard got about how it and deletes peoples of the stadium might. Rice speaking we didn't seem easy Israel's right things and and thank you both sides of the plate -- -- IC yeah I think -- -- or feel. And anti disease acute -- you know I think -- -- is dead but element is stronger. In. Meaning you haters -- about him right now is at least he is bigger than Jose Benicio. An -- and it -- is and others. I know that if somebody. Indigent again shall I doubt it bogged down I -- it's it's amazing to see -- be about a 14845. Pounds of dead and you know he's still -- -- thinks that the you know. Hitting the baseball at its -- you -- He does when he's on the -- and make contact. It'll look like he's on them for that there are you know is so on the putting so. And -- -- -- -- -- -- things getting better ensuing man believed to be more of the people told a game. And they explained to gain better on the control and and ma'am -- exciting. What he's doing this you. Victor this has been tremendous have taken up you know enough it's time that I've always set back the -- in the development of the entire farm system. So vote thanks very much for taking time to talk though I don't places you know I'm innocent. -- to -- his side and it gives you guys get better and and you know known -- -- myself but they'd be heating clothes that I. We looked at them and if it is without them we can do anything so I'm real happy and -- probably eating goes they and -- will -- with that kind -- get them better and that's I think we have -- -- is is it because of them. You're part of it is wells that they do so much for certain programs it.

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