He is hitting a solid .287 with nine stolen bases just 21 games into his first taste of the long-season leagues. Only a few weeks into the season, Avelino is well on his way to reaching his goals.
"[My goal is to] steal over fifty bags [and] hit over .300, and accomplish every aspect of hitting that I'm asked for," Avelino said with the help of a translator.
Avelino's quiet confidence helped him throughout Spring Training camp and the beginning of the season. Hitting coach Edwar Gonzalez has worked with Avelino in previous seasons and is confident in his improvements.
"He still has his tools, his ability to play," Gonzalez said. "He has learned to slow the game down a lot more.
"He used to be all over the place, stealing bases when he wasn't supposed to. But it's a learning process, and he has learned a lot. Now he has to slow down the game and be more knowledgeable of what he's doing at the plate.
"[In Spring Training, we worked on] getting separation, and [getting his arm] a touch down is huge for him, because he used to bar out with his arm and he has eliminated a lot of that from when we got him a couple years ago."
Avelino signed as a non-drafted free agent in 2011. The past three years of hard work have prepared him for this season in Charleston.
"I focused more on my defense [in Spring Training]. I think I did well," Avelino said. "[I worked on] keeping my glove low and keep moving my feet. [I've been focusing] more on my defense and maintaining my hitting the way I'm hitting right now. My batting has been working best [so far this season]."
While the physical tools are all there to be a superb defender, Charleston manager Luis Dorante has been working with Avelino on defense to smooth some things out.
"[He needs to work on] his defense and turning double plays. We're going to position him in a spot where he's going to make the play, but being able to make the play, catch the ball and throw it across, that was the main thing we concentrated on in Spring Training," Dorante said.
"We're still working on that, being more natural instead of just being a little bit robotic. The kid's got good hands, it's just a matter of being natural and it's paying off."
Although Avelino is still young and obviously needs a lot more repetitions going forward, he possesses talent that can't be taught.
"The most impressive thing for him right now is that he's aggressive," Dorante added. "He's fearless and he's got some steals. He's one of those guys -- you can't teach aggressiveness -- and he's one of those guys that he has that. The same thing with base running applies.
"His aggressiveness on the bases is a plus for him. He needs to work on the whole package. Bunting is the one thing that he needs to do more in the games. We've been working on it a lot in pregame, but in the game it's one of those things that he needs to work on more, or at least show it [and] make an attempt to do it."
Confidence and consistency are paying off for Avelino this season. His coaches are pleased with his progress and are looking forward to him being a big part of the Riverdogs team this year.
"He's doing everything well right now, so the main thing with him right now is just maintaining what he's doing," Gonzalez said. "We want to minimize the times that those bad moments happen and maximize the ones when he's swinging good.
"[We want him to] have a great season, just keep showing that he can play shortstop and do everything it takes to keep moving up the ladder and keep advancing. He'll be a great player for us."
Avelino Slowing The Game Down
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