Ahmed Learning To Trust The Process

Baseball season is now screaming by like a ninety plus mile an hour fastball but there is a player in Lynchburg that keeps his eye on the ball. Hillcats shortstop Nick Ahmed is focused and ready for the long haul presented by the rest of the season.

"The offseason started with the Instructional League that the Braves have in the fall," Ahmed said. "We worked a lot down there with a bunch of my teammates here to try to improve a little bit in every area. [We] focused on hitting, trying to be more consistent at the plate and I took those things home with me. I hit a lot back home with my friends and my brother in Massachusetts.

"The beginning of the season has been up and down. I've gone through a couple of slumps here but I've been able to come through them mostly with the mental approach and knowing that every at-bat has no correlation to the at bat before or after it.

"I'm just trying to keep the approach that I had throughout the spring and making sure that I'm focusing on every single pitch."

Ahmed seems confident; although the stats my not reflect his improvements as well as he would like them to. He still maintains a level head and looks forward to then next opportunity to get in the box.

"I'm just trying to get better every day, in every area of the game, and with every rep I take; whether it's in the field, base running or in the cage," he added. "I'm trying to be more consistent with hitting.

"I worked a lot to improve my swing mechanics in the offseason and I'm trying to continue that throughout the year."

He has been concentrating on the mechanics of his swing the most this season. After losing twenty pounds due to an injury last year he's starting to feel his power come back along with those elusive pounds.

"I don't know what the statistics look like but I drove the ball better and more consistently this year than I did last summer," he said. "It's just something that is going to continue to improve over the next couple of years.

"I've been focusing on hitting mechanically, trying to get in a good balanced position to hit, and repeating my mechanics over and over again. I'm not trying to do too many different things up at the plate.

"If I go into a slump or I'm struggling I really feel comfortable sticking with what's worked and not ditch it just because I'm having a bad day or a bad couple of games.

"Hitting is a process; I went through a complete swing overhaul in the offseason. To get comfortable with that I might not have success right away, but the last week or so I feel that I've gotten very comfortable and I feel that that's going to continue throughout the rest of this season and my career."

Defensively Ahmed is confident but still sees room for improvement.

"I feel like I am playing well; there are still times here and there that I've made a couple errors on routine plays that I should have made. I just have to remain focused on every pitch, make all the routine plays that I should make, and all the spectacular plays will happen as they do."

Hitting coach Bobby Moore seems pleased with Ahmed's improvement and has a lot of faith that he will rise to the next level of play.

"As long as he trusts the process here and as he climbs the ladder I think he's on his way to be a Major League shortstop," Moore said. "Just as long as he believes in what we're teaching and is taking it over to the game like he's been doing thus far then he will be fine."

Moore explained some of what they are working on to make Ahmed more of a threat at the plate.

"We're going to try to work on Nick becoming a situational hitter; a guy good on second base, find a way to get him over there whether it be bunting or hitting behind him. As I said before, it's a grind, it's a long season and he's getting better each day.

"He's a guy that liked to pull the ball too much; we are trying to get him to use the whole field. The improvement is there and I am looking for bigger and brighter things as the season goes on."

Ahmed's work ethic is one of the things that make him stand out on the field. Moore also knows how hollow some statistics can be.

"He's done outstanding; if you ask him he's going to say okay because he's a hard worker," Moore said. "He trusts the process and what we are trying to accomplish; as I said before he's doing fine."

"The stats do not show the great plays that he makes day in and night out; he's been solid as they come defensively. From a hitting stand point he's getting better with his bunting and we are working on that right now on an everyday basis."

Even team manager Luis Salazar was impressed with Ahmed's improvement and work ethic.

"He's a workaholic and sometimes we have to back him off because he's trying too hard," Salazar said. "He still has a long way to go but defensively he could play in the Major Leagues right now.

"He's got a lot of work to do from a hitting stand point. He needs to hit more behind the runner and bunt more. Sometimes he swings too hard and tries to hit a home run. He needs to be more controlling at the plate.

"I love this kid, he is very special, and he gives me 120 percent. He goes hard every game and every inning. It doesn't matter what the score is, he just wants to compete and wants to be here. He is going to be a very special shortstop for the team and in the future."


Atlanta Dugout Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\n\"The offseason started with the Instructional League that the Braves have in the fall,\" Ahmed said. \"We worked a lot down there with a bunch of my teammates here to try to improve a little bit in every area. [We] focused on hitting, trying to be more consistent at the plate and I took those things home with me. I hit a lot back home with my friends and my brother in Massachusetts.
\r\n
\r\n\"The beginning of the season has been up and down. I've gone through a couple of slumps here but I've been able to come through them mostly with the mental approach and knowing that every at-bat has no correlation to the at bat before or after it.
\r\n
\r\n\"I'm just trying to keep the approach that I had throughout the spring and making sure that I'm focusing on every single pitch.\"
\r\n
\r\nAhmed seems confident; although the stats my not reflect his improvements as well as he would like them to. He still maintains a level head and looks forward to then next opportunity to get in the box.
\r\n
\r\n\"I'm just trying to get better every day, in every area of the game, and with every rep I take; whether it's in the field, base running or in the cage,\" he added. \"I'm trying to be more consistent with hitting.
\r\n
\r\n\"I worked a lot to improve my swing mechanics in the offseason and I'm trying to continue that throughout the year.\"
\r\n
\r\nHe has been concentrating on the mechanics of his swing the most this season. After losing twenty pounds due to an injury last year he's starting to feel his power come back along with those elusive pounds.
\r\n
\r\n\"I don't know what the statistics look like but I drove the ball better and more consistently this year than I did last summer,\" he said. \"It's just something that is going to continue to improve over the next couple of years.
\r\n
\r\n\"I've been focusing on hitting mechanically, trying to get in a good balanced position to hit, and repeating my mechanics over and over again. I'm not trying to do too many different things up at the plate.
\r\n
\r\n\"If I go into a slump or I'm struggling I really feel comfortable sticking with what's worked and not ditch it just because I'm having a bad day or a bad couple of games.
\r\n
\r\n\"Hitting is a process; I went through a complete swing overhaul in the offseason. To get comfortable with that I might not have success right away, but the last week or so I feel that I've gotten very comfortable and I feel that that's going to continue throughout the rest of this season and my career.\"
\r\n
\r\nDefensively Ahmed is confident but still sees room for improvement.
\r\n
\r\n\"I feel like I am playing well; there are still times here and there that I've made a couple errors on routine plays that I should have made. I just have to remain focused on every pitch, make all the routine plays that I should make, and all the spectacular plays will happen as they do.\"
\r\n
\r\nHitting coach Bobby Moore seems pleased with Ahmed's improvement and has a lot of faith that he will rise to the next level of play.
\r\n
\r\n\"As long as he trusts the process here and as he climbs the ladder I think he's on his way to be a Major League shortstop,\" Moore said. \"Just as long as he believes in what we're teaching and is taking it over to the game like he's been doing thus far then he will be fine.\"
\r\n
\r\nMoore explained some of what they are working on to make Ahmed more of a threat at the plate.
\r\n
\r\n\"We're going to try to work on Nick becoming a situational hitter; a guy good on second base, find a way to get him over there whether it be bunting or hitting behind him. As I said before, it's a grind, it's a long season and he's getting better each day.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's a guy that liked to pull the ball too much; we are trying to get him to use the whole field. The improvement is there and I am looking for bigger and brighter things as the season goes on.\"
\r\n
\r\nAhmed's work ethic is one of the things that make him stand out on the field. Moore also knows how hollow some statistics can be.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's done outstanding; if you ask him he's going to say okay because he's a hard worker,\" Moore said. \"He trusts the process and what we are trying to accomplish; as I said before he's doing fine.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"The stats do not show the great plays that he makes day in and night out; he's been solid as they come defensively. From a hitting stand point he's getting better with his bunting and we are working on that right now on an everyday basis.\"
\r\n
\r\nEven team manager Luis Salazar was impressed with Ahmed's improvement and work ethic.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's a workaholic and sometimes we have to back him off because he's trying too hard,\" Salazar said. \"He still has a long way to go but defensively he could play in the Major Leagues right now.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's got a lot of work to do from a hitting stand point. He needs to hit more behind the runner and bunt more. Sometimes he swings too hard and tries to hit a home run. He needs to be more controlling at the plate.
\r\n
\r\n\"I love this kid, he is very special, and he gives me 120 percent. He goes hard every game and every inning. It doesn't matter what the score is, he just wants to compete and wants to be here. He is going to be a very special shortstop for the team and in the future.\"
\r\n
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