Why Jeremy Slayden Is Never Satisfied

Jeremy Slayden doesn't just want to do the best he can. Instead, he stretches out what he believes his best is and then tries to achieve that.

While he's had success almost everywhere he's played baseball, Jeremy Slayden believes that it's only been the past couple of years that he's truly been a quality hitter. As a member of the 2006 South Atlantic League Champion Lakewood BlueClaws, Slayden played a key role in their championship season and he believes that was a key year in his career. "I think I'll always look at that season as being special. Not just because of the championship and what the team accomplished, but because it was sort of my coming out year. I probably learned more about hitting that year than in any other year before or since," admits Slayden. His career-high .310 average at Lakewood that season would seem to give credence to Slayden's beliefs. Actually, at .296, he's not far off his Lakewood number and still has plenty of time to push his average higher at Double-A. "I'm never really satisfied," said Slayden with a look of seriousness to him. "I think I can always do more and be better and that sometimes crosses me up."

Those 'cross ups' are the times when Slayden relies more on his brain than on his talents and looks to do too much. "You can be your own worst enemy in this game. When you start to put a reason to everything and think about every aspect too much, you tend to not focus on just doing the things that make you successful," said Slayden.

Slayden was an eighth round pick in the 2005 Draft and the book on him then was that he had tons of potential, but was never healthy enough to show just what he could do. "I was hurt a lot when I was younger and it probably changed how I was perceived. Instead of having proven what I could do, there was always this tag of 'shows potential' put on me," said Slayden. Now, he's healthy and has been showing that potential during his steady climb up the Phillies minor league ladder. The only area that hasn't blossomed to the levels that a lot of people thought that they would is his power, but Slayden's not worried. "I can hit more home runs, but it would come at the expense of other things. I simply hit best when I try to make contact and not worry about adding power to my swing. Sometimes, that's when you look silly and swing through too many pitches. I just take what power I have and use it where I can and let everything fall into place," explains Slayden about his approach at the plate.

Reading manager P.J. Forbes believes that Slayden is one of the harder workers in the organization. "He's constantly trying to be better," believes Forbes. "You can just watch how he analyzes the game and see what he's trying to do. Sometimes, he doesn't rely enough on his own natural ability and tries to be too perfect, but the fact that he does have such a natural swing and approach is great to watch."

With a full outfield ahead of him at Lehigh Valley, Slayden may have to wait until next season to jump to Triple-A, but like most players, Slayden doesn't worry about that. "I'll get there when I get there," he answered when asked about how quickly he wants to be in the majors. "Sure, I'd like to be there today, but that's not going to happen. If I start worrying about that, it will just be one more thing on my mind to take away my concentration and I don't want to add that to the list," laughed Slayden.



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