"I'm enjoying it a lot, being around the guys, the coaches," Nick Baligod said. "Being a professional baseball player is awesome and I'm enjoying it very much. Every kid, playing baseball as a young child wants to be a professional baseball player and now I have my chance to become one so I'm very excited."
With the emphasis that has been put on plate discipline, working counts, and drawing walks in recent years, highlighted by fairly new statistics like OBP and OPS, players with a skill set like Baligod's have been given an opportunity to play every day and prove themselves on the field.
"Plate discipline is my biggest thing – I hate striking out – so whenever I can get a chance to walk I'm going to take it," he said.
Through 16 games, Baligod has compiled on base percentage of .365, and he recognizes the value of consistently reaching base.
"I got to get on base, make things happen, let guys drive me in," he said, "it's a big part of my game."
At 5-foot-11, Baligod isn't a huge power threat but he makes up for it with an attentive eye, decent speed, and stellar defense in rightfield.
"I see the ball very well when I'm at the plate. I have a good read on off speed pitches and I'm very well aware of the strike zone."
Hitting coach Dave Pano has been impressed with what he has seen so far from the twenty-three year old rookie.
"I've been really happy with him, he's been great, he's had great at bats," said Pano, "We're working on a couple things now. We're trying to get him to stay through the ball and staying to the middle of the field, which he did a good job of [recently]."
The latter seems to be something of a team mantra. Pano's message to the Canadians hitters is simple, "We coach it to be very aggressive on that fastball and if they get good fastballs we want them to hack but we also want good command of the strike zone." Pano continued.
"We want them to hit fastballs in their zone, and fight with two strikes. You don't want to be selfish, and sometimes you have to take a walk."
Baligod is still transitioning from the college game to the pro game and is making small but necessary adjustments at the plate.
"I'm working on my swing and getting a better feel for the wood bats – coming from the metal bats, it's a little different," he said following a productive six game road trip where he produced a .435 OBP.
Baseball is a team game and Baligod understands that if he listens to the Canadians coaching staff and continues to be a dependable option at the plate, then the team will succeed and he will play an important role in that success.
"We all want to win, so any way we can get on base we do it any way we can, and the coaches have a big effect on that mindset."
Baligod Transitioning To Pro Game
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