Talley Expanding His Field

For first baseman Jon Talley, who's in his fifth season in the Blue Jays' farm system, focus is concentrated on getting a good pitch to hit. Aside from the 2008 season when Talley spent time between Bluefield and Lansing and hit a combined .303, the lefty slugger hasn't eclipsed a batting average over .235 in his career.

"My approach now is trying to stay through the middle," said Talley. "Before, I was a dead pull hitter; everything was from right center-over, and [I] just recently learned to hit to opposite field with power, or learning to hit to center field with power, so I'm learning to expand my field more."

In 73 games for High-A Dunedin this year, Talley, 22, is batting .236 with 12 home runs and 40 RBIs. He's struck out 73 times and drawn 30 walks. Dunedin Batting Coach Ralph Dickenson weighed in on the first baseman's swing this season.

"Tally had a long swing at the start of the year, and lately, he's been shorting it up big time," Dickenson explained. "He leaves the zone too much; he's gotta stay in the zone more. That's not really more so with less than two strikes or with two strikes—it's both that he's gotta stay in the zone more. That's one of his big things."

Being the first year that he's gotten an extensive number of at bats against left-handed pitching, Talley has struggled to hit them well. In 75 at-bats against southpaws, he's hitting .187 and has struck out 37 times. He feels as though with gaining the experience of hitting left-handed pitching, he is progressing.

"In the past, I haven't had a chance to see left-handed pitching. Usually I sat when a lefty would start, so this is my first year where I actually got to start against lefties," he said. "I'm slowly but surely learning how to hit them. It's coming along a lot better. I've been doing a lot more things against them, but it's just gonna take time for me to see it more."

Talley then spoke about the difficulties he currently faces at the plate against left-handed pitching.

"Staying within the zone," he stated. "It's a different view coming from a left-handed pitcher, different movement, different breaks and of course a lefty's slider [is] gonna give me problems."

Dickenson said there's only so much Talley and the staff can do to improve his left-handed approach off the field. What Talley can do to help himself on the field, however, is go into the game with an effective plan in mind.

"It's having a game plan maybe against left-handers, that ‘this is what I do'," Dickenson said. "I open up more, or I look for the ball away, or with this guy, I'm looking for the ball in or that guy, I'm looking for the ball away, or I've gotta have a certain elevation that I'm looking for, and that's when I'm gonna hit the ball, or I'm gonna hit early in the count or I'm gonna try to work this guy because I know he can't throw strikes. It's just kind of dependant on the individual pitcher who's out there and what he features."

As Talley has now spent the better portion of two seasons at the High-A level, the next step for him would be to reach Double-A. Both he and Dickenson agree that to make the move vertically, he must consistently find a good pitch to hit.

"I think for the next level, he's gotta get a good pitch to hit and eventually, as a left-handed hitter, you gotta be able to hit left-handed pitching," Dickenson said. "You are what you swing at, so if you get a good pitch to hit and you lay out a good swing on it, you're in business."


Future Jays Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\n\"My approach now is trying to stay through the middle,\" said Talley. \"Before, I was a dead pull hitter; everything was from right center-over, and [I] just recently learned to hit to opposite field with power, or learning to hit to center field with power, so I'm learning to expand my field more.\"
\r\n
\r\nIn 73 games for High-A Dunedin this year, Talley, 22, is batting .236 with 12 home runs and 40 RBIs. He's struck out 73 times and drawn 30 walks. Dunedin Batting Coach Ralph Dickenson weighed in on the first baseman's swing this season.
\r\n
\r\n\"Tally had a long swing at the start of the year, and lately, he's been shorting it up big time,\" Dickenson explained. \"He leaves the zone too much; he's gotta stay in the zone more. That's not really more so with less than two strikes or with two strikes—it's both that he's gotta stay in the zone more. That's one of his big things.\"
\r\n
\r\nBeing the first year that he's gotten an extensive number of at bats against left-handed pitching, Talley has struggled to hit them well. In 75 at-bats against southpaws, he's hitting .187 and has struck out 37 times. He feels as though with gaining the experience of hitting left-handed pitching, he is progressing.
\r\n
\r\n\"In the past, I haven't had a chance to see left-handed pitching. Usually I sat when a lefty would start, so this is my first year where I actually got to start against lefties,\" he said. \"I'm slowly but surely learning how to hit them. It's coming along a lot better. I've been doing a lot more things against them, but it's just gonna take time for me to see it more.\"
\r\n
\r\nTalley then spoke about the difficulties he currently faces at the plate against left-handed pitching.
\r\n
\r\n\"Staying within the zone,\" he stated. \"It's a different view coming from a left-handed pitcher, different movement, different breaks and of course a lefty's slider [is] gonna give me problems.\"
\r\n
\r\nDickenson said there's only so much Talley and the staff can do to improve his left-handed approach off the field. What Talley can do to help himself on the field, however, is go into the game with an effective plan in mind.
\r\n
\r\n\"It's having a game plan maybe against left-handers, that ‘this is what I do',\" Dickenson said. \"I open up more, or I look for the ball away, or with this guy, I'm looking for the ball in or that guy, I'm looking for the ball away, or I've gotta have a certain elevation that I'm looking for, and that's when I'm gonna hit the ball, or I'm gonna hit early in the count or I'm gonna try to work this guy because I know he can't throw strikes. It's just kind of dependant on the individual pitcher who's out there and what he features.\"
\r\n
\r\nAs Talley has now spent the better portion of two seasons at the High-A level, the next step for him would be to reach Double-A. Both he and Dickenson agree that to make the move vertically, he must consistently find a good pitch to hit.
\r\n
\r\n\"I think for the next level, he's gotta get a good pitch to hit and eventually, as a left-handed hitter, you gotta be able to hit left-handed pitching,\" Dickenson said. \"You are what you swing at, so if you get a good pitch to hit and you lay out a good swing on it, you're in business.\"
\r\n
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