Nessy Transitioning Well

As a catcher, Venezuela native Santiago Nessy has a wide array of tools to develop in his path to become a major leaguer. Nessy, the 18-year-old right-handed back stop, was named to the Dominican Summer League Mid-Season All-Star team last year, and is currently in Dunedin for Gulf Coast League play.

"I feel really good playing, and I want to say, first, thank you to Toronto to give me the opportunity to play," Nessy said. "I feel really good with my team, with my coaches and everything."

In the 12 games Nessy has seen action, he holds a .295 batting average accompanied by two home runs and six RBIs. He's struck out six times and walked three, good enough for a .340 on base percentage. With the quality numbers on display so far for the righty, he spoke about the hitting part of his game that he's trying to improve upon.

"I'm working to hit the ball to the middle," he said. "I try to not pull every ball I hit. I'm working on my mechanics, working out every day to become a better hitter."

Catchers aren't typically expected to hit for power, or even hit the ball much at all, but with two home runs and a double on the year, Nessy has shown some pop in his bat. GCL Batting Coach Paul Elliot believes Nessy will be able to hit for power, but also acknowledged that his hitting shouldn't be his main focus.

"He should hit for power. He should really hit for power. He's got some juice in the bat," Elliot said. "His mechanics about his swing are a constant work in motion for him. Really that's the last part of his game he needs to worry about.

"He needs to be focused more on the catching, understanding swings and opposition and how he can get them out, the pitching staff he's got to do that with. That should be his priority. The hitting will come along."

Nessy agreed that down the road, he could hit for power. He said he isn't going up to the plate to hit home runs, though. Rather, he's just looking to hit the ball in general. For young players in any level of pro ball, but especially in a short-season league, hitting the off speed pitches can be troublesome. Elliot said that Nessy is no different, but he is progressing in that area.

"Like all young guys, they can handle the fastball. The offspeed stuff's been a problem to him, but that's understandable," Elliot stated. "Once again, it's a work in progress with his mechanics, his setup, but he's shown some improvement, there's no doubt about that."

Defense behind the dish is also something Nessy is trying to improve. He has two errors on the season thus far.

"I'm working on my blocking and my footwork actually," Nessy said. "I've tried to be a little bit faster and to throw the guys out at second base."

Coach Elliot also commented on Nessy's defensive game, noting his footwork, release and arm strength as three things that need improvement.

"The footwork and release need some work," Elliot admitted. "He's got an average arm at the minute. It should get stronger the more he plays and the more he grows into his body. It's average at the moment, but it can get better."

Additionally for Nessy, he has a large pitching staff to learn about so he can call an effective game behind the plate. It's important for him to understand each pitcher's strengths and weaknesses, because as he is learning the game of baseball, so are they.

"That's a tough thing to do," Elliot said of Nessy having to handle the pitching staff. "He's got 20 [some]odd pitchers to know about and of course you can't be on top of every one of them. For the most part, he does a very good job."

Fortunately for Nessy, language doesn't seem to be a barrier for him. Elliot said that his transition to America hasn't posed a problem, and that he understands and speaks English well.

"He understands English very well and talks pretty good English," Elliot stated. "That's the biggest thing with the Latin players is being that they have to come into grips with the language so they can comprehend and understand what the various coaches are asking them to do."


Future Jays Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\n\"I feel really good playing, and I want to say, first, thank you to Toronto to give me the opportunity to play,\" Nessy said. \"I feel really good with my team, with my coaches and everything.\"
\r\n
\r\nIn the 12 games Nessy has seen action, he holds a .295 batting average accompanied by two home runs and six RBIs. He's struck out six times and walked three, good enough for a .340 on base percentage. With the quality numbers on display so far for the righty, he spoke about the hitting part of his game that he's trying to improve upon.
\r\n
\r\n\"I'm working to hit the ball to the middle,\" he said. \"I try to not pull every ball I hit. I'm working on my mechanics, working out every day to become a better hitter.\"
\r\n
\r\nCatchers aren't typically expected to hit for power, or even hit the ball much at all, but with two home runs and a double on the year, Nessy has shown some pop in his bat. GCL Batting Coach Paul Elliot believes Nessy will be able to hit for power, but also acknowledged that his hitting shouldn't be his main focus.
\r\n
\r\n\"He should hit for power. He should really hit for power. He's got some juice in the bat,\" Elliot said. \"His mechanics about his swing are a constant work in motion for him. Really that's the last part of his game he needs to worry about.
\r\n
\r\n\"He needs to be focused more on the catching, understanding swings and opposition and how he can get them out, the pitching staff he's got to do that with. That should be his priority. The hitting will come along.\"
\r\n
\r\nNessy agreed that down the road, he could hit for power. He said he isn't going up to the plate to hit home runs, though. Rather, he's just looking to hit the ball in general. For young players in any level of pro ball, but especially in a short-season league, hitting the off speed pitches can be troublesome. Elliot said that Nessy is no different, but he is progressing in that area.
\r\n
\r\n\"Like all young guys, they can handle the fastball. The offspeed stuff's been a problem to him, but that's understandable,\" Elliot stated. \"Once again, it's a work in progress with his mechanics, his setup, but he's shown some improvement, there's no doubt about that.\"
\r\n
\r\nDefense behind the dish is also something Nessy is trying to improve. He has two errors on the season thus far.
\r\n
\r\n\"I'm working on my blocking and my footwork actually,\" Nessy said. \"I've tried to be a little bit faster and to throw the guys out at second base.\"
\r\n
\r\nCoach Elliot also commented on Nessy's defensive game, noting his footwork, release and arm strength as three things that need improvement.
\r\n
\r\n\"The footwork and release need some work,\" Elliot admitted. \"He's got an average arm at the minute. It should get stronger the more he plays and the more he grows into his body. It's average at the moment, but it can get better.\"
\r\n
\r\nAdditionally for Nessy, he has a large pitching staff to learn about so he can call an effective game behind the plate. It's important for him to understand each pitcher's strengths and weaknesses, because as he is learning the game of baseball, so are they.
\r\n
\r\n\"That's a tough thing to do,\" Elliot said of Nessy having to handle the pitching staff. \"He's got 20 [some]odd pitchers to know about and of course you can't be on top of every one of them. For the most part, he does a very good job.\"
\r\n
\r\nFortunately for Nessy, language doesn't seem to be a barrier for him. Elliot said that his transition to America hasn't posed a problem, and that he understands and speaks English well.
\r\n
\r\n\"He understands English very well and talks pretty good English,\" Elliot stated. \"That's the biggest thing with the Latin players is being that they have to come into grips with the language so they can comprehend and understand what the various coaches are asking them to do.\"
\r\n
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