Plawecki's Confidence Continues To Grow

ST. LUCIE, FL - Kevin Plawecki has been one the most consistent players this year down on the Mets' farm. He was successful in Savannah earlier this season and that has continued upon his promotion to high-A St. Lucie, and the end result has been an ever-increasing dose of confidence building up in his first full season.

A year ago catcher Kevin Plawecki was collecting collegiate accolades like it was nobody's business: Big Ten Player of the Year ( becoming the first Purdue player to earn such honors), Big Ten Tournament Most Outstanding Player, Purdue Male Athlete of the Year and Johnny Bench Award Finalist, among others.

The 6-foot-2 Indiana native subsequently parlayed his outstanding college career into a promising professional campaign after he was drafted 35th overall by the Mets in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft – making him the third-highest Boilermaker to be selected in program history.

Plawecki showed no signs of slowing down in the minors, tearing it up with the Savannah Sand Gnats before being promoted to St. Lucie in June where he is now transforming into one of the premier hitters on the team.

"I think he has a good approach at the plate," St. Lucie manager Ryan Ellis of the catcher. "He's a good fastball hitter, whenever he hits off the fastball and the pitchers make mistakes with their offspeed pitches up in the zone, he's ready to hit because he hits off the fastball, which is what we try to teach all of our hitters to do.

"It just seems that he was able to make the adjustment from low-A to high-A just by doing that. He's been very good offensively."

Plawecki's numbers back up Ellis' assessment: In his 67 at-bats with his new team the catcher has posted a .358 batting average along with an OPS of .895, placing him in the top echelon of St. Lucie's hitters. With his statistics equally impressive at Savannah [.314 AVG, .390 OBP, .494 SLG and .884 OPS in 245 at-bats] it may come as a surprise to learn how simple Plawecki's approach to baseball is.

"I try not to think too much," Plawecki said. "[I] just kind of stick to what I've been doing all year in Savannah: making the game as simple as possible. So I'm just trying to continue to do that and maybe I'll notice adjustments coming up, but as of right now I'm just trying to stay focused on playing the game."

While Ellis was able to gauge how the 22-year-old would project offensively based on his Savannah numbers, he didn't know too much about the catcher's defensive game.

"I was surprised," Ellis admitted, "really didn't know too much about him, haven't seen him play. Obviously he gets reports, but reports are one thing until you see the guy get out there and play.

"I like his demeanor. I like how he is with the pitchers, how he handles our pitching staff, even guys that he hasn't had before. I know he's worked with [Matthew] Bowman and [Rainy] Lara and some of those guys who kind of came up before him, but he's also done a good job with guys the likes of [Domingo] Tapia who is hard enough to catch anyway, let alone never catching him before.

"I like that about him. He has a sense of leadership, that leadership quality that in my opinion can't really be taught."

For Plawecki, himself, the main contributing factor to his strong defensive game is the fact that he has been healthy, not a given at a position as grinding and demanding as catcher. Furthermore, the youngster has made it a point to get to know his pitchers.

"I feel like I've done a good job with my pitching staff this year and obviously got a new pitching staff with the guys here, but I've seen most of them in Spring Training," Plawecki said.

"So just by getting to know them more and know what pitches they like to throw in certain situations and just understanding what their strengths are, you know, that's just a big thing for me, is understanding my pitching staff and knowing what pitches they can and can't throw."

There is no doubt that things are going well for Plawecki at the moment, nonetheless he also knows that constant improvement is vital if he wants to make it to the next level. The young catcher is aware that consistency in all facets of the game along with a healthy dose of confidence will be important in order to succeed in the major leagues. And while he is still working on being consistent, his confidence is not lacking.

"I mean you have to be confident to play this game so I'd say I'm really confident. Even when you have bad games or your games don't go your way it's important to stay confident, because when you're doing things right and doing things well is when it's easy to be confident and when things aren't going your way it's easy to kind of get down on yourself and not be as confident.

"But I just try and focus on just being confident every day regardless of what I did the day before," Plawecki concluded.

\r\n \r\n\r\nA year ago catcher Kevin Plawecki was collecting collegiate accolades like it was nobody's business: Big Ten Player of the Year ( becoming the first Purdue player to earn such honors), Big Ten Tournament Most Outstanding Player, Purdue Male Athlete of the Year and Johnny Bench Award Finalist, among others.
\r\n
\r\nThe 6-foot-2 Indiana native subsequently parlayed his outstanding college career into a promising professional campaign after he was drafted 35th overall by the Mets in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft – making him the third-highest Boilermaker to be selected in program history.
\r\n
\r\nPlawecki showed no signs of slowing down in the minors, tearing it up with the Savannah Sand Gnats before being promoted to St. Lucie in June where he is now transforming into one of the premier hitters on the team.
\r\n
\r\n\"I think he has a good approach at the plate,\" St. Lucie manager Ryan Ellis of the catcher. \"He's a good fastball hitter, whenever he hits off the fastball and the pitchers make mistakes with their offspeed pitches up in the zone, he's ready to hit because he hits off the fastball, which is what we try to teach all of our hitters to do.
\r\n
\r\n\"It just seems that he was able to make the adjustment from low-A to high-A just by doing that. He's been very good offensively.\"
\r\n
\r\nPlawecki's numbers back up Ellis' assessment: In his 67 at-bats with his new team the catcher has posted a .358 batting average along with an OPS of .895, placing him in the top echelon of St. Lucie's hitters. With his statistics equally impressive at Savannah [.314 AVG, .390 OBP, .494 SLG and .884 OPS in 245 at-bats] it may come as a surprise to learn how simple Plawecki's approach to baseball is.
\r\n
\r\n\"I try not to think too much,\" Plawecki said. \"[I] just kind of stick to what I've been doing all year in Savannah: making the game as simple as possible. So I'm just trying to continue to do that and maybe I'll notice adjustments coming up, but as of right now I'm just trying to stay focused on playing the game.\"
\r\n
\r\nWhile Ellis was able to gauge how the 22-year-old would project offensively based on his Savannah numbers, he didn't know too much about the catcher's defensive game.
\r\n
\r\n\"I was surprised,\" Ellis admitted, \"really didn't know too much about him, haven't seen him play. Obviously he gets reports, but reports are one thing until you see the guy get out there and play.
\r\n
\r\n\"I like his demeanor. I like how he is with the pitchers, how he handles our pitching staff, even guys that he hasn't had before. I know he's worked with [Matthew] Bowman and [Rainy] Lara and some of those guys who kind of came up before him, but he's also done a good job with guys the likes of [Domingo] Tapia who is hard enough to catch anyway, let alone never catching him before.
\r\n
\r\n\"I like that about him. He has a sense of leadership, that leadership quality that in my opinion can't really be taught.\"
\r\n
\r\nFor Plawecki, himself, the main contributing factor to his strong defensive game is the fact that he has been healthy, not a given at a position as grinding and demanding as catcher. Furthermore, the youngster has made it a point to get to know his pitchers.
\r\n
\r\n\"I feel like I've done a good job with my pitching staff this year and obviously got a new pitching staff with the guys here, but I've seen most of them in Spring Training,\" Plawecki said.
\r\n
\r\n\"So just by getting to know them more and know what pitches they like to throw in certain situations and just understanding what their strengths are, you know, that's just a big thing for me, is understanding my pitching staff and knowing what pitches they can and can't throw.\"
\r\n
\r\nThere is no doubt that things are going well for Plawecki at the moment, nonetheless he also knows that constant improvement is vital if he wants to make it to the next level. The young catcher is aware that consistency in all facets of the game along with a healthy dose of confidence will be important in order to succeed in the major leagues. And while he is still working on being consistent, his confidence is not lacking.
\r\n
\r\n\"I mean you have to be confident to play this game so I'd say I'm really confident. Even when you have bad games or your games don't go your way it's important to stay confident, because when you're doing things right and doing things well is when it's easy to be confident and when things aren't going your way it's easy to kind of get down on yourself and not be as confident.
\r\n
\r\n\"But I just try and focus on just being confident every day regardless of what I did the day before,\" Plawecki concluded.
\r\n
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