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Alex Rios Newsbeat

Monday, March 02, 2015

Royals hope new addition Alex Rios helps outfield defense remain baseball’s best

Aoki Dokey.

In Milwaukee during his first two big-league seasons, Aoki spent most of his time defending batters straight up, without much shading in either direction, Kuntz explained. Aoki preferred to charge in, rather than charge back, and glued himself to the same spot before almost every pitch.

The Royals operate a more fluid defense. Kuntz does not just ask his defenders to adjust from batter to batter. Sometimes he calls for shifts from pitch to pitch. Aoki was an “analytical” player, Kuntz said. He required an explanation for instructions. Kuntz would flash a signal and Aoki would hesitate before moving.

During games, Kuntz only had a brief window in between innings to communicate, because his presence was required to coach first base. Soon after a sign was sent to the outfield, Kuntz would often receive a visit from Aoki’s translator, Kosuke Inaji.

“Nori wants to know why we don’t play everybody straight up,” Inaji would say.

Kuntz had to remind Inaji: “At times, I don’t have time to explain it to him. He just has to get there.”...


During that first workout, when Rios asked for advice, Kuntz suggested he alter his mechanics when chasing drives over his head. Like 90 percent of players, Kuntz said, Rios executed a drop-step as his first movement, which elongated his route to the ball. Kuntz counseled him to swivel his hips instead and straigthen his line.

Two days later, as he swatted fly balls, Kuntz watched how Rios hunted for balls and noticed the difference.

“Just like that, he’s got it,” Kuntz said. “But he’s an athlete. And he’s coachable.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 02, 2015 at 09:33 PM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: alex rios, analytics, defense, nori aoki, royals

 

 

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