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Healthy Greg Deichmann Harnesses His Power In Arizona

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Greg Deichmann (Photo by Bill Mitchell)

MESA, Ariz. — When the Arizona Fall League searches for its next ambassador of marketing or a future “face of the league,” they might consider Mesa Solar Sox outfielder Greg Deichmann for the role.

While many minor league players covet a berth in the MLB’s prestigious development league, few players show their appreciation for the experience so enthusiastically as the Oakland A's prospect.

“One of my goals coming into this year was to get the Arizona Fall League invite,” Deichmann said.

“To be honest, this is just a fun atmosphere . . . you’re around so many great players in big league parks and big league facilities. You have the off days, friends and family are in now, and a lot of the guys you played against in high school and through college (are here). That all just ties together to make for a great atmosphere.”

Considering his impressive AFL season, it’s not surprising that the lefthanded-hitting Deichmann, 24, is enjoying his time in Arizona. After the first four weeks, he's leading the league in home runs (seven) by a wide margin and ranks second in RBIs (17) while posting a .310/.397/741 slash line—a significant increase from his regular season statistics at Double-A Midland, where he missed nearly half of the season due to a shoulder injury.

“He’s been a lot more patient, getting pitches to hit and not trying to do too much with it,” said Solar Sox hitting coach Tommy Everidge, who was with Deichmann in Midland this year.

“He’s got so much power, he can go the other way. He can obviously pull a homer, but (we’re) reminding him that he can go the other way. He’s got three or four homers left of center field. He’s just letting his talent shine.”

In addition to his shoulder problem this year, Deichmann also missed time during his final season at Louisiana State in 2017 when he took a pitch to the face. He then suffered a hamate injury during his first full minor league season in 2018.

Finally being injury free this fall has helped Deichmann more than any other factor, according to a pro scout from one American League team. In the past, the scout commented, Deichmann was regularly trying to play through injuries. Now, he looks more confident and comfortable in the batter's box and on the field, just simply by way of being healthy.

Deichmann also credits the relaxed atmosphere around the Solar Sox team with boosting his improvement at the plate. Everidge agrees, saying, “We were just talking about that earlier . . . our coaching staff, the players we have, we have so much fun and I’m just thankful for this staff. It’s making it a lot more enjoyable to show up every day.”

Facing better pitching in the Arizona Fall League is another factor helping Deichmann’s development, even though he regularly hit against premier competition while playing in the esteemed Southeastern Conference during his college career at LSU. He noticed the bump in quality of arms in Double-A this year, and now he is seeing it again in the AFL.

“Playing in the SEC in college you see these Friday night starters, the premier guys,” Deichmann said. “And those are the first- and second-rounders in the draft. You get the Friday guys, sometimes you get the Saturday guy who is right there as well.

"In Double-A this year, everyone’s a Friday night guy. Every bullpen guy is a Friday night guy that’s been converted. They’re all in the upper 90s, they all have the secondaries, they all have command of the third pitch. It’s part of the growing process . . . you see the consistency of the competition.”

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One of the big steps that Deichmann made this year was improving his nutrition in order to better prepare his body for the season-long grind.

“I made it a focus of trying to eat cleaner, getting the right amount of nutrition, staying away from the fast food and the junk as much as you can,” Deichmann said. “If you want to be a professional athlete at the highest level, you have to do it on and off the field. It does require the nutrition, it requires the sleep and taking care of your body, because your body is your performance tool . . . (the) lack of nutrition could lead to deficiency injuries such as maybe a hamstring or just some extra soreness.”

Deichmann is counting on his strong AFL performance to give him a head start on the 2020 season, hopefully with an invitation to big league camp. He believes he already learned a lot of valuable lessons this past spring training with occasional callups to the major league side.

“The biggest thing was seeing how they go about their business and how they handle their at-bats,” Deichmann said about his brief time in big league spring training. “Just kind of how they manage the game. None of them get too high or too low in their at-bats . . . how they go through their day and the way they act in the locker room. You’ve got to look at all that and take that all in perspective because that’s the end goal—to be in the big leagues—and you want to be able to act as professional as possible.

“The sooner you can start doing that, it helps the process getting there.”

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