Knott Enjoys Success

Jon Knott has spent the past few years in the San Diego Padres system turning heads. Now he has his chance to play with the big boys and learn the intangibles of being a Major Leaguer. Coming off a solid season with the Mobile BayBears, Knott has put himself in position to be rewarded and he attributes some of that success to a coach in the Padres system, Rob Deer.

"Oh, for sure," said Knott. "He is great. He is by far the best hitting coach I have ever had. I get along with him really well. I don't know if I have learned more about hitting from anyone other than him. It is everyday he is teaching me something."

And Jon Knott will get even more time with Rob Deer this year. Deer is now the roving hitting instructor for the entire Padres Minor League system. A week here, two weeks there will further the careers of not only Knott, but also many players in the Padres farm system.

What is so strange about this is Deer's Major League career was not what some would term ideal to teach to others. But, not to fret, Deer teaches everyone how to not be like him.

In an eleven-year career in the Majors, Deer became known for two things: the long ball and striking out. There was little in between. More often than not it was Deer striking out.

Deer now preaches patience at the plate and not to swing for the fences at every turn. Just put the bat to the ball.

Hitting a home run isn't something you think about, because if you do, it could affect you adversely.

"That is what Rob tries to get through to me because he did that in Pro ball," says Knott. "He did hit a lot of home runs and he was conscious of that. He is trying to get me to not think about that and to know that if I take the same approach everyday that the home runs will come and not to worry about that."

Home runs are supposed to be a natural progression of making solid contact. Keeping your swing the same and cutting out unnecessary motions through the hitting zone.

Part of that begins with a stance in the batter's box. Knott limits the tinkering in his stance. He feels part of his success can be attributed to his consistent approach at the plate.

"I think I go up there with what I feel comfortable with and I don't vary it much at all," Knott said. "I try and stay pretty consistent with it – all the way through college and these last two years. I see a lot of guys make big changes and do stuff all the time and I couldn't be one of the guys to do that."

Knott, coincidentally, went 0-1 with a walk in the charity game on Thursday.

Denis Savage can be reached at

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