Roller Still Has Work To Do

TRENTON, NJ - First baseman Kyle Roller came to Trenton this year with high hopes. While leading the club in home runs and showing the ability to hit against lefty pitchers, he also has an unsettling amount of strikeouts, making his Double-A debut season bittersweet. Now with the August sun slowly fading, Roller prepares to reset his focus and set himself straight.

Back in May, Roller's main concern was working on his consistency. The same remains for today.

"It's been going up and down," Roller said of his season. "This game is all about trying to make adjustments, tinkering your swing here and there, and making changes at the plate. It has taken me awhile to figure that out but it has been better as of lately."

"I am pleasantly surprised with the numbers he is putting up," Thunder manager Tony Franklin said. "Of course consistency needs to be there but he does have power and that makes him a dangerous guy in the lineup when he steps up to the plate.

"This is what this level is all about, identifying what deficiencies you have and working on them to improve. By the end of the year, hopefully he will figure some things out by the end of the year and will come into it with eyes wide open."

With 128 strikeouts already, Roller might not be opening his eyes wide enough. However, his leading percentages counteract what should be a rough year for the North Carolina native. He already has 58 RBIS with 14 home runs and 22 doubles that help create his .255 average.

"Sometimes things don't go your way but it is a part of baseball," Roller said. "I'm thinking too much at the plate and worrying about my swing and not so much about seeing the ball."

"I think he has improved," Franklin said. "He is pretty patient at the plate. Don't get me wrong, guys who hit home runs will swing and miss. But overall, I think his at-bats are good.

"He doesn't give them away. They may get him out but he gives himself a good chance to get hits and put balls in play because of those at-bats. That is a lot of improvement there.

"We can look at every aspect of the game and say there is this improvement needed but [128] strikeouts is a lot. We need to definitely cut down on that. If you take half of them and put the ball in play then you have to think of a quarter of them went out of the ball park."

What also makes Roller so surprisingly special is his ability to hit against left-handed pitchers, especially being a lefty batter himself, chipping in with a robust .308 average against southpaws this season.

"He hits well against lefties," Franklin said. "It's surprising because most guys at this level have a lot of trouble with lefties but he doesn't. They don't seem to bother him."

"It's been weird because I never get like this," Roller said. "I think it allows me to stay on the ball a little longer and not fall off so much."

But for now, Roller can only work on getting better; lowering his strikeouts and working to improve every aspect of his game. As a man who has a swing with power, there is no telling where this first baseman can go. Hopefully this bittersweet time for him rounds out to reaching those high hopes down the road.

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\r\n \r\n\r\nBack in May, Roller's main concern was working on his consistency. The same remains for today.
\r\n
\r\n\"It's been going up and down,\" Roller said of his season. \"This game is all about trying to make adjustments, tinkering your swing here and there, and making changes at the plate. It has taken me awhile to figure that out but it has been better as of lately.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"I am pleasantly surprised with the numbers he is putting up,\" Thunder manager Tony Franklin said. \"Of course consistency needs to be there but he does have power and that makes him a dangerous guy in the lineup when he steps up to the plate.
\r\n
\r\n\"This is what this level is all about, identifying what deficiencies you have and working on them to improve. By the end of the year, hopefully he will figure some things out by the end of the year and will come into it with eyes wide open.\"
\r\n
\r\nWith 128 strikeouts already, Roller might not be opening his eyes wide enough. However, his leading percentages counteract what should be a rough year for the North Carolina native. He already has 58 RBIS with 14 home runs and 22 doubles that help create his .255 average.
\r\n
\r\n\"Sometimes things don't go your way but it is a part of baseball,\" Roller said. \"I'm thinking too much at the plate and worrying about my swing and not so much about seeing the ball.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"I think he has improved,\" Franklin said. \"He is pretty patient at the plate. Don't get me wrong, guys who hit home runs will swing and miss. But overall, I think his at-bats are good.
\r\n
\r\n\"He doesn't give them away. They may get him out but he gives himself a good chance to get hits and put balls in play because of those at-bats. That is a lot of improvement there.
\r\n
\r\n\"We can look at every aspect of the game and say there is this improvement needed but [128] strikeouts is a lot. We need to definitely cut down on that. If you take half of them and put the ball in play then you have to think of a quarter of them went out of the ball park.\"
\r\n
\r\nWhat also makes Roller so surprisingly special is his ability to hit against left-handed pitchers, especially being a lefty batter himself, chipping in with a robust .308 average against southpaws this season.
\r\n
\r\n\"He hits well against lefties,\" Franklin said. \"It's surprising because most guys at this level have a lot of trouble with lefties but he doesn't. They don't seem to bother him.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"It's been weird because I never get like this,\" Roller said. \"I think it allows me to stay on the ball a little longer and not fall off so much.\"
\r\n
\r\nBut for now, Roller can only work on getting better; lowering his strikeouts and working to improve every aspect of his game. As a man who has a swing with power, there is no telling where this first baseman can go. Hopefully this bittersweet time for him rounds out to reaching those high hopes down the road.
\r\n
\r\n

\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n\r\n
\r\n

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\r\n

\r\n

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