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Monday, August 08, 2022

To challenge their hitters to improve, Orioles minor league coaches go to great lengths to develop ‘nasty stuff’ for batting practice

Challenging hitters became an early focus, and when the minor league season in 2020 was replaced by the alternate site, they began to work in mixed batting practice to the group of prospects at Bowie.

“It was a slow transition,” Britton said. “It’s not like we just said, ‘Hey hitters, here you go–deal with it.’ It was like ‘Hey, first two rounds are fastballs, then let’s try to see if we can’t hit some breaking balls off a coach for a round.’”

As that practice grew, so too did an aspect of it within the coaches who throw mixed batting practice that hasn’t let up — competitiveness. Britton watched Fuller and Villa throwing breaking balls for strikes, and realized he had to up his game. Pitching coach Justin Ramsey taught him an over-the-top knuckle curveball — “a good one,” Britton clarified, a repeatable pitch that wasn’t going to tear up his elbow.

His pitches have been a work in progress ever since, and he’s proud of the challenge he can give the high-level hitters who seek it during mixed batting practice. He also has company in being competitive with the other throwers.

Full-season hitting coordinator Cody Asche said the efforts to improve for the hitters’ sake and for standing among the coaches go hand-in-hand.

He said: “We’re all trying to get super gross because we want to give our players the best look we can, and I think we’re also all competitive in the sense that we all want to be recognized as, ‘Oh wow, [Bowie hitting coach Branden Becker] is the grossest mixed BP thrower,’ or ‘Damn, I don’t want to face Villa, he’s too nasty.’ Deep down, we’re all super-competitive ex-athletes that want to be known as King of the Hill of the hitting department, to see who can throw the best BP.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 08, 2022 at 02:34 PM | 4 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: orioles

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   1. The Duke Posted: August 08, 2022 at 05:40 PM (#6090681)
I wonder if Soto wants to play in SD long term. Did Boras help engineer it to get him there or is Soto just going to wait out the two years and go where he wants to go.

The player cost was very tame but they also ate $44 million in Hosmer. It's a good deal even for 2.5 years and a great deal of they can ink an extension
   2. Tom Goes to the Ballpark Posted: August 08, 2022 at 06:10 PM (#6090684)
Boras wants him to go to free agency and establish a new baseline for long term free agent contracts.
   3. Cris E Posted: August 09, 2022 at 10:56 AM (#6090808)
Is everything all right here? Looking at these comments, the carpet doesn't match the drapes, so to speak.
   4. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: August 09, 2022 at 03:14 PM (#6090875)
Re: O's -

Surprisingly, shockingly, the O's are above 500 and have a shot at a wildcard. They were (modest) sellers at the deadline, but this seems like a good time to make what push they can. Gunnar Henderson doesn't need to learn anything else in AAA, DL Hall has a wild streak, but he also strikes out everyone and their brother. Might as well see if he can hold his own in MLB. Vavra is up already, he's not a highly regarded prospect, but he gets on base well, and it's nice to see him around. Cowser is crushing AA, give him a couple weeks in AAA and see if he's ready to DH in September. It's not like adding Juan Soto, but the O's have a strong and deep farm, and a (very rare) shot to sneak into the (much diluted) post season, might as well see if the kids can help.

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