D-backs' Slade Cecconi Makes Adjustments Ahead Of 2022
Righthander Slade Cecconi might not have delivered on expectations during his first full season as a pro, but he arrived at minor league minicamp in February sounding as confident as ever.
“I plan to have my electric stuff this year,” Cecconi said. “I plan to prove any doubts wrong. I plan to go out there and be the pitcher that I know I am and know I should be.”
Two years ago, Cecconi was the talk of the organization. After being selected with the 33rd overall pick in the 2020 draft from Miami, he quickly showcased dominant stuff at the alternate training site and in instructional league.
But he was not nearly as dominant last year, a season in which he exhibited diminished velocity and less crisp secondary stuff while being set back by minor injuries. In 12 starts for High-A Hillsboro, the 22-year-old logged a 4.12 ERA with 20 walks and 63 strikeouts in 59 innings.
The 6-foot-4, 219-pound Cecconi said he made adjustments to both his sleep habits and diet, changes that he said have left him feeling better and more confident entering the spring.
Rather than playing video games late into the night, he is now trying to wind down before bed. He said he can tell his body recovers better after getting proper sleep. His diet, he said, is less about changes than it is about monitoring everything he eats.
He said he felt “really, really good” about the way the ball was coming out of his hand in the early days of camp. He said early in camp that he hadn’t really “let any go” but that he was sitting 92-94 mph and feeling “free and easy” in bullpen sessions. He also sounded excited about adjustments he had made to his slider grip, which he hopes will help better differentiate it from his slider.
D-backs farm director Josh Barfield said he is “very confident” that Cecconi will regain the wipeout stuff he showed two years ago.
— Outfielder Corbin Carroll was cleared for full baseball activity at minicamp, meaning he is expected to be fully healthy for minor league Opening Day. He had surgery last May to repair labrum and capsule tears in his right shoulder.
— Barfield said righthanders Conor Grammes and Justin Martinez, both of whom had elbow surgery early last season, are targeting returns to action in the “middle of the summer."
“So far, everything has been on schedule with them,” Barfield said.