Maggard Learning the Entire System Quickly

Zach Maggard knows his way around the Detroit Tigers' organization. Appearing in a handful of games for the Mud Hens this season, spending most of last year in Connecticut in addition to one game in Erie, playing in five games for Lakeland earlier this year and now finding himself in West Michigan, the right handed catcher has nearly seen action at every level.

To say it's been a bit of a whirlwind might be an understatement as the Tampa native was drafted just last year but knows he's been gaining valuable experience each step along the way.

"It's been unreal but it's been great getting to know pretty much every player in the organization along with all the staff," expressed Zach Maggard. "It's been a really good experience for me getting to know a lot of different guys and a lot of different players. I've seen how different managers go about their business and seeing all the different levels of baseball and how they're played has been a great learning opportunity."

As unusual as it may seem for a player to be transferred from Toledo to West Michigan, Maggard wasn't surprised at all by the move as he knew he was merely keeping the roster spot warm for some other players.

"I kind of knew it was coming. Triple-A was just a temporary thing where I was just filling in for some guys and it was a great experience for me. But I wasn't surprised at all when I found out I was coming here."

And he wasted no time in making a dent in the Whitecaps' roster. In his fourth game donning a Cap's uniform, Maggard delivered a clutch two-out, two-run single that turned a feeble 3-1 lead into a more comfortable advantage that led to an eventual 6-1 victory. Having struck out his previous two times at the plate, Maggard admitted that those shortcomings were in the back of his mind when he came up to bat later in the game.

"It always kind of runs in the back of your head but baseball is a game of failure so you just take each at bat as it is. Once it's over, it's over and you can't change it. Every time you walk up to the plate it's a new at bat so that's how you have to look at it."

Simply trying to execute with a bat in your hand is what's most important in the end.

"You just go up there and try to get your pitch and try to get the job done. I was patient during that at-bat and got a ball that I was fortunately able to hit through the infield to score two runs. That took a little pressure off the bullpen which is always good."

Stepping up to the plate with that frame of mind is a necessity in this game and something Maggard is beginning to learn at the professional level whether it's in Erie, Toledo, or West Michigan. Since his rapid start in West Michigan, he's gradually cooled off watching his average dip to a trifling .163 through 30 games before heading to the Disabled List August 1. Trying to fill the shoes that Curt Casali's promotion to Lakeland left behind, Maggard knows all he can do is keep working at what he can control.

"I know that I need to continue fine tuning all the little things and essentially everything. I need to keep working on those small things and keep on working hard by making adjustments when necessary."

He knows he can also build upon his experience in Toledo when he got the opportunity to play Triple-A ball and learn what it's like to be one step from the big leagues.

"It was a good experience because they had a lot of veteran guys that have been around for a while so I was able to learn a lot, hear their stories, and see how they go about their business. Seeing how they made it to where they are was very helpful."

But he also knows that he has a long ways to go before getting back there as he could use the extra attention and coaching that Low-A ball offers.

"In Toledo – at that level – you have to basically run yourself out on your own as everyone there kind of knows what they're supposed to be doing. You have a little more free time when you're there and are able to work when you want to work and go about your business the way you want to go about it."

Maybe not quite ready to enjoy that amount of freedom, Maggard will take advantage of the stricter eye he'll get from coaches here in West Michigan.

"Both types of approaches have their perks. So it depends on the kind of person you are because if you have that work ethic and habit early, then it really doesn't matter what level you're at as you're going to get your work in regardless. But it is always nice to have a little push to make sure you're getting your actual work in."

Not that his work ethic needs it or anything.

Tigs Town Top Stories