Opitz Growing

Shane Opitz, last year's 11th round pick out of high school, hit just .259 with six extra-base hits in 63 games for the Vancouver Canadians but still helped the team win the Northwest League title in what was his first full season. While the numbers might not show it, he's starting to grow as a baseball player.

"Obviously overall I was extremely satisfied with the season," he said. "Whenever you can be a part of winning the championship there's really not many negatives things you can pull out of it.

"I thought I did okay. I wouldn't say that I'm satisfied with how I played personally all year, but it was my first full year getting into it. I'll just grow from it.

"I learned a lot about how to take care of myself for a full season and I'll just improve on everything next year."

While the overall numbers were not earth-shattering, he did have some fine moments in 2011.

"There were times where I was pleased with everything; I was pleased with how I was doing in the field, I was pleased with plate discipline.

"And I'd just go through times – lack of experience – I would lose all of that and it would take me a while to get it back. Overall there was a point in the year where I was satisfied with everything."

Just like nearly every player enduring their first full season though, especially for players coming out of high school, Opitz had to learn first-hand what a marathon the professional game of baseball truly is.

"I think the hardest thing was [playing] everyday," he admitted. "I had never done a single sport every single day like that before. [In] my first time doing it, it was a grind going through all of those months without getting days off.

"Towards the end of the year I could feel my body getting a little tired just because I didn't know what I was getting myself into. Now I know."

Whether it's to help him better handle that daily grind or help improve on his zero career home runs this far, the Blue Jays had Opitz working exclusively on getting stronger at Instructs.

"I was just down there lifting," he revealed. "I didn't even play in any of the games. I was just in the weight room most of the time. That's what they told me to do. I've still got a lot of room to grow. It doesn't hurt to get stronger. It can only help me.

"I think the power will come. I think that's something that other people worry about more than me. I know it's just a matter of getting a little stronger and getting older. I'm not concerned about it, I know it will come."

In fact, he is spending most of his time this offseason working out with older brother Jake Opitz of the Daytona Cubs in the Florida State League in an effort to learn more about the professional game, things like hitting, plate discipline, not getting yourself out, what situations you want to do with certain pitches, etc, etc.

Now that he has some track history in which to formulate a developmental game plan for himself, Opitz isn't focused on any one particular area. He simply wants to grow overall as a player.

"It's hard to focus on just one thing," he said. "Honestly I would say every aspect of the game is something I need to improve on.

"Working out this offseason, I've got my brother here the whole time which helps a lot because I get to pick his brain. We're doing it all, every aspect of the game trying to improve on."


Future Jays Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\n\"Obviously overall I was extremely satisfied with the season,\" he said. \"Whenever you can be a part of winning the championship there's really not many negatives things you can pull out of it.
\r\n
\r\n\"I thought I did okay. I wouldn't say that I'm satisfied with how I played personally all year, but it was my first full year getting into it. I'll just grow from it.
\r\n
\r\n\"I learned a lot about how to take care of myself for a full season and I'll just improve on everything next year.\"
\r\n
\r\nWhile the overall numbers were not earth-shattering, he did have some fine moments in 2011.
\r\n
\r\n\"There were times where I was pleased with everything; I was pleased with how I was doing in the field, I was pleased with plate discipline.
\r\n
\r\n\"And I'd just go through times – lack of experience – I would lose all of that and it would take me a while to get it back. Overall there was a point in the year where I was satisfied with everything.\"
\r\n
\r\nJust like nearly every player enduring their first full season though, especially for players coming out of high school, Opitz had to learn first-hand what a marathon the professional game of baseball truly is.
\r\n
\r\n\"I think the hardest thing was [playing] everyday,\" he admitted. \"I had never done a single sport every single day like that before. [In] my first time doing it, it was a grind going through all of those months without getting days off.
\r\n
\r\n\"Towards the end of the year I could feel my body getting a little tired just because I didn't know what I was getting myself into. Now I know.\"
\r\n
\r\nWhether it's to help him better handle that daily grind or help improve on his zero career home runs this far, the Blue Jays had Opitz working exclusively on getting stronger at Instructs.
\r\n
\r\n\"I was just down there lifting,\" he revealed. \"I didn't even play in any of the games. I was just in the weight room most of the time. That's what they told me to do. I've still got a lot of room to grow. It doesn't hurt to get stronger. It can only help me.
\r\n
\r\n\"I think the power will come. I think that's something that other people worry about more than me. I know it's just a matter of getting a little stronger and getting older. I'm not concerned about it, I know it will come.\"
\r\n
\r\nIn fact, he is spending most of his time this offseason working out with older brother Jake Opitz of the Daytona Cubs in the Florida State League in an effort to learn more about the professional game, things like hitting, plate discipline, not getting yourself out, what situations you want to do with certain pitches, etc, etc.
\r\n
\r\nNow that he has some track history in which to formulate a developmental game plan for himself, Opitz isn't focused on any one particular area. He simply wants to grow overall as a player.
\r\n
\r\n\"It's hard to focus on just one thing,\" he said. \"Honestly I would say every aspect of the game is something I need to improve on.
\r\n
\r\n\"Working out this offseason, I've got my brother here the whole time which helps a lot because I get to pick his brain. We're doing it all, every aspect of the game trying to improve on.\"
\r\n
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