The key to being a successful hitter at any level of baseball is patience and patience is the best attribute of Erie SeaWolves first baseman Jeff Larish. Larish believes that being a patient hitter not only allows him to get on base more often but also helps out his power numbers as well.
"I believe that is how you hit with power is to be patient and wait for your pitch, I try to take advantage of that as best as I can"
Larish had a couple of opportunities to play professionally before being drafted by the Tigers in the fifth round of the 2005 draft. The Chicago Cubs drafted him directly out of high school but he decided to attend Arizona State University and he was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers after his junior year at Arizona State but once again decided to stay in school. Larish attributes much of his success to playing at Arizona State all four years before turning pro.
"Arizona State was a great program to play for and coach Murphy was a great coach to play for, I enjoyed every minute of it"
Larish has been labeled as power hitter ever since his college days and his numbers show it. He is second in the Eastern League in home runs and he leads the league in RBI's. He doesn't let that label affect his game at all he has much bigger goals and has the desire to improve. He has earned numerous awards and accolades in high school, college, and playing single A but he doesn't let that affect his goal to get better and improve everyday.
"I don't really worry about how I'm labeled, I just try to get better everyday and progress as a hitter. It's up to other people as to how they label me but I just look at as trying to get better and have consistent at bats."
The numbers show that Larish puts up with runners on base are staggering. He leads the Eastern League in RBI's by a wide margin and is hitting well over .300 with runners on base. He seems to keep an even keel in those pressure packed situations and his quick to deflect credit for his run producing numbers.
"I just try to take every at bat the same. I don't really think about if there are runners on base or not. I have fortunate enough this year to have a lot of at bats with runners on base, you have to give a lot of credit to the guys on the team. It seems like every time I get up there are runners on base. I can't drive in runs unless guys are on".
The game of baseball presents many challenges and Larish seems to take them all in stride. As a left handed hitter it can be difficult to face a left handed pitcher but Jeff has had plenty of practice hitting lefties.
"I was fortunate enough that my dad is a left handed pitcher and in the off season I get to face him so I'm used to it. There are some good lefties in our league and we get to face a lot of lefties so I get a good amount of practice. It should really help me in the future so I just try to see the ball and get my pitch just like I'm facing a righty".
A challenge Larish is not as familiar with is trying to contend with the weather. This season has been worse than most for weather. Despite that fact Larish is having an extremely productive season. He considers it part of his progression in baseball and tries to make the best of it.
"The weather is definitely something I'm not used to being from Arizona and playing out there but it's something you've got to deal with. If I'm going to move up in the organization it's something I will contend with. The weather in Detroit can be cold as well".
When your kid growing up watching baseball is common. It was no different for Larish who is also a fan of baseball as well as a player.
It easy to see that Larish has modeled his game in some way to all three of those players but goes out on a daily basis to improve. He has really put the game of baseball in perspective and relishes his opportunity.