A two-week stay on the development list seemingly turned around 20-year-old third baseman Deyvison De Los Santos’ season.
After hitting just .207/.269/.308 with a 26% strikeout rate through 63 games for Double-A Amarillo, De Los Santos took a two-week pause.
He returned on July 14 and hit .329/.361/.532 with 23% strikeouts in his first 20 games following a stint at the club’s complex in Arizona. He had totaled 10 home runs through 83 games overall.
“I think being young and really struggling for the first time, I think he started to press and put a lot of pressure on himself,” D-backs farm director Josh Barfield said, “and that led to trying to do too much, and that led to his swing and approach getting out whack.
“Toward the end of the first half, watching the at-bats, it didn’t look like the De Los that we know.”
The D-backs brought De Los Santos to Salt River Fields to work in their newly constructed lab with hitting coaches Nick Evans and Drew Hedman, and Barfield said part of the focus was on getting him to tone down his load. It had gotten too big, making him too rotational and forcing him to make swing decisions earlier than necessary.
“He has ridiculous power and sometimes that gets him in trouble,” Barfield said. “He tries to hit a ball 500 feet instead of hitting a hard line drive. If he hits it on his barrel, it’s going to be 100 (mph)-plus.
“He doesn’t need to try to generate extra power. We felt like that was what he was trying to do with that bigger move.”
Barfield said De Los Santos has a tendency to tinker. The D-backs hope that as he matures, he will find consistency in his approach, stance and swing that lead to more consistent results.
“I think he’s still on a really good trajectory,” Barfield said. “I think he’s learned a lot about himself and how to handle struggles, so he’ll be better prepared for it the next time he goes through it.”