JUPITER, Fla.—The Cardinals have some talented infielders. They’re not the flashiest or the most athletic players on the field, but they get the job done at the plate. Cardinals roving hitting instructor Dan Radison sat down to talk about some of the Cardinals’ infield prospects.
On 3B Brett Wallace: “He’s got opposite-field power. He’s a guy who can let the ball get deep and still hit it out to left field. When you have that kind of power to left-center field, you can let the ball travel and you have more time to make good decisions what to swing at. He’s got two pluses for me: because he trusts his swing so much, he’s got good pitch selection, which we know is one of his big pluses. And with the strength he’s got in his legs, in his lower body, he lets the ball get deep and he can hit a fly ball out of the ballpark in left field.”
On 3B/OF Allen Craig: “He’s a guy who’s hit and been a run producer. He’s hit for a high slugging percentage, he’s an aggressive kid. He really attacks the baseball, adjusts his hands real well. He’s a good hitter, he’s hit everywhere he’s played. To his credit, when he came out of college he got his body in shape, he lost weight, he’s got more agility and he’s had a good spring training with the big league club and is a good-looking young hitter.”
On SS Pete Kozma: “Pete has trained himself to be a little bit of an inside-out hitter. He loves to inside-out the ball, which improves his contact ratio, and makes good decisions about swinging at pitches. We’re just working on him having a little more direct, being a little less inside-out, pulling the baseball a little bit more, getting on top a little bit more. When he came to the Florida State League last year he hit too many fly balls to the opposite field, so we’re just working on getting on top of the baseball a little bit more. He’s going to be a very good defensive shortstop, and he’s got something that I like. If you see him you would say maybe he doesn’t look real aggressive, but he just trusts his actions so much, he just does things easy. He does everything nice and easy; he trusts everything and slows the game down, on defense and at the plate.”
On SS Niko Vasquez: “This guy’s got a great swing, real aggressive kid. He goes up and he’s ready to hit a fastball. For a young hitter, he’s advanced. Mechanics, he’s got a great swing, his mentality, his approach, his aggressiveness, his confidence. He’s advanced. For a young hitter, he’s an advanced kid.”
On 3B Roberto de la Cruz: “His swing works well. He works above the ball very well. He’s pulled everybody’s fastball. He’s gotten on top and been able to pull a fastball. For a 17-year-old kid, that’s a pretty good sign. Obviously he’s going to have to learn how to recognize some breaking balls and get in the middle of the field a little bit more, but he can go up there and pull anybody’s fastball; that’s a good place to start.”
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