Sobolewski Working On It All

After being drafted 129th overall in 2008, 24-year-old Mark Sobolewski has taken a step up to the next level of the Blue Jays' minor league system with each passing season. Most recently, he spent his 2011 season with the Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats en route to an Eastern League Championship.

In 112 games and 400 at-bats, Sobolewski batted .273 with a .324 on base percentage. The right-handed hitting third baseman's run production began to show as he tallied eight home runs, 20 doubles and 49 RBIs during the course of the season.

Following a slow start to his Double-A campaign in which he struggled at the plate for the first five to six weeks of the season, Sobolewski recalled coming alive in late May when he got a game-winning hit. From then on, his play picked up, and Sobolewski's home run potential followed.

"I got a lot better throughout the course of the year and I'm carrying some of those things that I learned into this year," Sobolewski said.

While it was a higher level of competition for the righty, Sobolewski asserted that the opposition wasn't the reason for his slow start. Rather, he attributed it to the up and down nature of the game — he felt he had a great Spring Training, so his play evened out a bit, in the form of a cold spell, once the regular season began.

"I got out of it eventually, which was good," he said. "The last two-thirds, three quarters of the year I played a lot better — more like myself."

With the role of being a third baseman comes the task of hitting for power. Sobolewski knows what's expected of him while at the plate, but said he doesn't actually focus on hitting home runs.

"It's sort of a Catch-22 because obviously it is important. Obviously power is more of a factor at third base, [but] it's something that I don't think it helps if you try to hit home runs or try to think about it," he explained. "I do think that in your approach, if you're more aggressive and really let it rip in certain counts, you can start to help yourself out there.

"And that's one of the things I learned this year too — trying to hit home runs is really not really the most productive way to go about doing it. If you get in good counts, and you're nice and aggressive, and you let your swing fly a little bit, you'll sort of run into it that way."

And though he seems to have solid power potential, growing up playing the shortstop position until he was moved to the hot corner at the University of Miami (Fla.) has helped him be accustomed to hitting for good average too. He believes this is the greatest strength he can provide the Blue Jays with.

"As a hitter, I grew up with the ability to always hit for average. As I got older, I've gotten bigger and stronger," Sobolewski said. "Ideally I can combine those two strengths and be a well-rounded hitter. Obviously it's important to do damage, especially at third base, but I think when I get everything put together, I can believe I do both."

Looking ahead to the future, he would like to put all of his qualities together and produce many consistent seasons.

"I've shown the ability to do a lot of different things," he said. "I want to have a year and many years to come where I can put everything together. That's what I'm working on right now."

During the offseason, Sobolewski has been on a strict workout regiment to maintain proper baseball shape. He's in the gym five days a week, does a conditioning circuit and sprint work three to four days a week, and has begun drill work for his hitting.

With 2012's Spring Training approaching, Sobolewski is perhaps soon to be on the cusp of being ready for the show. While becoming a major leaguer is what he ultimately would like to accomplish, his current expectations are continuing to improve on whichever squad he is placed on within the organization.

"Obviously [there are] two leagues — there's the minor leagues and the major leagues. Whether I'm in Double-A (or) Triple-A, everyone wants to progress and feel like they're going in that direction every year. The ultimate goal is to be in the major leagues, so I've got to keep working until I get there."


Future Jays Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nIn 112 games and 400 at-bats, Sobolewski batted .273 with a .324 on base percentage. The right-handed hitting third baseman's run production began to show as he tallied eight home runs, 20 doubles and 49 RBIs during the course of the season.
\r\n
\r\nFollowing a slow start to his Double-A campaign in which he struggled at the plate for the first five to six weeks of the season, Sobolewski recalled coming alive in late May when he got a game-winning hit. From then on, his play picked up, and Sobolewski's home run potential followed.
\r\n
\r\n\"I got a lot better throughout the course of the year and I'm carrying some of those things that I learned into this year,\" Sobolewski said.
\r\n
\r\nWhile it was a higher level of competition for the righty, Sobolewski asserted that the opposition wasn't the reason for his slow start. Rather, he attributed it to the up and down nature of the game — he felt he had a great Spring Training, so his play evened out a bit, in the form of a cold spell, once the regular season began.
\r\n
\r\n\"I got out of it eventually, which was good,\" he said. \"The last two-thirds, three quarters of the year I played a lot better — more like myself.\"
\r\n
\r\nWith the role of being a third baseman comes the task of hitting for power. Sobolewski knows what's expected of him while at the plate, but said he doesn't actually focus on hitting home runs.
\r\n
\r\n\"It's sort of a Catch-22 because obviously it is important. Obviously power is more of a factor at third base, [but] it's something that I don't think it helps if you try to hit home runs or try to think about it,\" he explained. \"I do think that in your approach, if you're more aggressive and really let it rip in certain counts, you can start to help yourself out there.
\r\n
\r\n\"And that's one of the things I learned this year too — trying to hit home runs is really not really the most productive way to go about doing it. If you get in good counts, and you're nice and aggressive, and you let your swing fly a little bit, you'll sort of run into it that way.\"
\r\n
\r\nAnd though he seems to have solid power potential, growing up playing the shortstop position until he was moved to the hot corner at the University of Miami (Fla.) has helped him be accustomed to hitting for good average too. He believes this is the greatest strength he can provide the Blue Jays with.
\r\n
\r\n\"As a hitter, I grew up with the ability to always hit for average. As I got older, I've gotten bigger and stronger,\" Sobolewski said. \"Ideally I can combine those two strengths and be a well-rounded hitter. Obviously it's important to do damage, especially at third base, but I think when I get everything put together, I can believe I do both.\"
\r\n
\r\nLooking ahead to the future, he would like to put all of his qualities together and produce many consistent seasons.
\r\n
\r\n\"I've shown the ability to do a lot of different things,\" he said. \"I want to have a year and many years to come where I can put everything together. That's what I'm working on right now.\"
\r\n
\r\nDuring the offseason, Sobolewski has been on a strict workout regiment to maintain proper baseball shape. He's in the gym five days a week, does a conditioning circuit and sprint work three to four days a week, and has begun drill work for his hitting.
\r\n
\r\nWith 2012's Spring Training approaching, Sobolewski is perhaps soon to be on the cusp of being ready for the show. While becoming a major leaguer is what he ultimately would like to accomplish, his current expectations are continuing to improve on whichever squad he is placed on within the organization.
\r\n
\r\n\"Obviously [there are] two leagues — there's the minor leagues and the major leagues. Whether I'm in Double-A (or) Triple-A, everyone wants to progress and feel like they're going in that direction every year. The ultimate goal is to be in the major leagues, so I've got to keep working until I get there.\"
\r\n
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