Roller Looking To Keep On Rolling

MOOSIC, PA - After a promotion to Scranton earlier in the season, Kyle Roller finds himself near the top of nearly every organizational hitting leaderboard. The 26-year old slugging first baseman is hitting a combined .317 with 15 home runs and 43 RBI between Trenton and Scranton-Wilkes Barre.

When talking to Kyle Roller, it's hard not to notice how much baseball knowledge the power hitting slugger really has. Up to this point, that knowledge has proven to pay off for Roller as he continues to adjust to playing ball at the Triple-A level.

"It's been a different type of ball for me up here," Roller said. "I'm just trying to figure out this league as quick as possible. As far as hitting goes, pitchers tend to pitch backwards a little more and you just got to be selective as a hitter and can't be as much of a free swinger, where in Double-A, you could kind of get away with that more."

Not only has Roller had to take time to get used to the new league but the International League has also had to get used to Kyle Roller as they continue to experiment with how to position their defenses against him.

"I much rather them play me to pull because my mindset is: I want to hit the ball the other way. So if they want to play me to pull, that's great because I'm not looking to pull it, I'm just looking to go gap to gap," Roller admitted.

It seems that no one knows Roller's swing better than he does, and he is insistent that the key to his swing is his approach and his ability to hit the ball to the opposite field.

"I just try to get myself in a good position to hit, trying to cut down on my load and just trying to see the ball and be able to make good contact on multiple pitches instead of just timing up the fastball," he said. "Just to keep working on driving the ball the other way is important and I feel like I've been doing a good job of that so far and I just have to try to keep doing it."

Roller has been consciously working on driving the ball to left field and has since seen his last two home runs go out to the opposite field.

"I haven't hit the ball ‘oppo' this good in a long time, going all the way back to my high school days," Roller recalled. "But that's always been power alley for me and where I drive my balls the most. That sets up my whole at-bat if I can hit the ball that way and I can hit multiple pitches that way, so that's where I really want to hit it."

Scranton's manager Dave Miley has been around baseball for a long time and has seen some great hitters in his time with the Yankees organization, along with recently becoming the winningest manager in the Scranton-Wilkes Barre franchise's history.

"He's got some unbelievable power," Miley said. "When he puts a charge into one, it's usually a no-doubter. He hit one the other night and I have no idea how far it went but it went a really long way. He's sure got some power, there's no doubt about that."

A big part of Roller's success to this point has surprisingly come off lefties, as he is currently hitting .276 off southpaws compared to a .281 against righties.

"Hitting lefties well makes me change my approach. Righties, I see the ball a lot better and I tend to get a little pull-happy. With a lefty, I just trust my eyes and let the ball get deep and then I just don't try and do too much against lefties. I wish I could take my lefties approach to when I face righties," Roller acknowledged.

Though he has only been with Scranton for a little more than a month now, Roller has caught the eye of seasoned hitting coach Butch Wynegar who agreed with the idea of Roller having a very high "hitting IQ".

"I've seen a kid who is very astute to hitting, he's very intelligent," Wynegar said. "My job is to keep him from trying to be too intelligent. If he's trying to be too perfect, I'm constantly reminding him to stay aggressive, stay on the fastball, don't get into the mode where you're guessing. When he can do that, he's pretty dang good."

Wynegar spent four seasons in Milwaukee as the Brewers hitting coach. In his time with the Brewers, Wynegar coached a player who he now draws comparisons to Roller.

"I told him the other day, he reminds me of Prince Fielder. They're both strong and stocky but they have short swings and hit the ball a long ways," Wynegar stated. "He's got a good approach at the plate. He's just got to make sure he sticks with it and doesn't deviate from it. I think the kid's got a chance to be a real good hitter."

Wynegar confirmed that he has seen an improvement in Roller hitting to the opposite field and has been very pleased with that facet of his game.

"I think it's been tremendous. I think I would rather him have that and work on pulling the ball the correct way. It's a lot easier to learn that way than to try and teach a pull hitter to hit the other way."

Wynegar said that the majority of his conversations with Roller have dealt with his approach and they have only made minor tweaks to his mechanics.

"He told me he feels more comfortable against lefties right now and I think one of the reasons is that he knows he has to keep his front shoulder in a little bit longer because of the angle of the ball coming out of the pitchers hand," Wynegar said.

"With right-handers, sometimes he gets a little more ‘gung-ho' because he sees the ball better and he wants to jump on something and that gets him a little overaggressive on the offspeed stuff."

Roller now says that consistency will be the most important thing in continuing to produce the big numbers that he has to this point in the 2014 campaign.

"Just finding a way to be more consistent in everything I do will be key," Roller admitted. "You can't have one good game and then three bad games. So I just got to grind it out and take an 0-3 day and try to later turn it into a 1-4 game. That's the biggest thing for me as a hitter is just being more consistent in what I do."

While Roller has sputtered just a tad here lately, hitting below .200 in his last ten games, the whole body of work has been eye-opening and the prevailing thought is his productive ways should continue.

"He's a great kid and he's a hard worker, and he's off to a good start here, we'll see if he can stay on that same track," Wynegar concluded.

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Pinstripes Plus Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nWhen talking to Kyle Roller, it's hard not to notice how much baseball knowledge the power hitting slugger really has. Up to this point, that knowledge has proven to pay off for Roller as he continues to adjust to playing ball at the Triple-A level.
\r\n
\r\n\"It's been a different type of ball for me up here,\" Roller said. \"I'm just trying to figure out this league as quick as possible. As far as hitting goes, pitchers tend to pitch backwards a little more and you just got to be selective as a hitter and can't be as much of a free swinger, where in Double-A, you could kind of get away with that more.\"
\r\n
\r\nNot only has Roller had to take time to get used to the new league but the International League has also had to get used to Kyle Roller as they continue to experiment with how to position their defenses against him.
\r\n
\r\n\"I much rather them play me to pull because my mindset is: I want to hit the ball the other way. So if they want to play me to pull, that's great because I'm not looking to pull it, I'm just looking to go gap to gap,\" Roller admitted.
\r\n
\r\nIt seems that no one knows Roller's swing better than he does, and he is insistent that the key to his swing is his approach and his ability to hit the ball to the opposite field.
\r\n
\r\n\"I just try to get myself in a good position to hit, trying to cut down on my load and just trying to see the ball and be able to make good contact on multiple pitches instead of just timing up the fastball,\" he said. \"Just to keep working on driving the ball the other way is important and I feel like I've been doing a good job of that so far and I just have to try to keep doing it.\"
\r\n
\r\nRoller has been consciously working on driving the ball to left field and has since seen his last two home runs go out to the opposite field.
\r\n
\r\n\"I haven't hit the ball ‘oppo' this good in a long time, going all the way back to my high school days,\" Roller recalled. \"But that's always been power alley for me and where I drive my balls the most. That sets up my whole at-bat if I can hit the ball that way and I can hit multiple pitches that way, so that's where I really want to hit it.\"
\r\n
\r\nScranton's manager Dave Miley has been around baseball for a long time and has seen some great hitters in his time with the Yankees organization, along with recently becoming the winningest manager in the Scranton-Wilkes Barre franchise's history.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's got some unbelievable power,\" Miley said. \"When he puts a charge into one, it's usually a no-doubter. He hit one the other night and I have no idea how far it went but it went a really long way. He's sure got some power, there's no doubt about that.\"
\r\n
\r\nA big part of Roller's success to this point has surprisingly come off lefties, as he is currently hitting .276 off southpaws compared to a .281 against righties.
\r\n
\r\n\"Hitting lefties well makes me change my approach. Righties, I see the ball a lot better and I tend to get a little pull-happy. With a lefty, I just trust my eyes and let the ball get deep and then I just don't try and do too much against lefties. I wish I could take my lefties approach to when I face righties,\" Roller acknowledged.
\r\n
\r\nThough he has only been with Scranton for a little more than a month now, Roller has caught the eye of seasoned hitting coach Butch Wynegar who agreed with the idea of Roller having a very high \"hitting IQ\".
\r\n
\r\n\"I've seen a kid who is very astute to hitting, he's very intelligent,\" Wynegar said. \"My job is to keep him from trying to be too intelligent. If he's trying to be too perfect, I'm constantly reminding him to stay aggressive, stay on the fastball, don't get into the mode where you're guessing. When he can do that, he's pretty dang good.\"
\r\n
\r\nWynegar spent four seasons in Milwaukee as the Brewers hitting coach. In his time with the Brewers, Wynegar coached a player who he now draws comparisons to Roller.
\r\n
\r\n\"I told him the other day, he reminds me of Prince Fielder. They're both strong and stocky but they have short swings and hit the ball a long ways,\" Wynegar stated. \"He's got a good approach at the plate. He's just got to make sure he sticks with it and doesn't deviate from it. I think the kid's got a chance to be a real good hitter.\"
\r\n
\r\nWynegar confirmed that he has seen an improvement in Roller hitting to the opposite field and has been very pleased with that facet of his game.
\r\n
\r\n\"I think it's been tremendous. I think I would rather him have that and work on pulling the ball the correct way. It's a lot easier to learn that way than to try and teach a pull hitter to hit the other way.\"
\r\n
\r\nWynegar said that the majority of his conversations with Roller have dealt with his approach and they have only made minor tweaks to his mechanics.
\r\n
\r\n\"He told me he feels more comfortable against lefties right now and I think one of the reasons is that he knows he has to keep his front shoulder in a little bit longer because of the angle of the ball coming out of the pitchers hand,\" Wynegar said.
\r\n
\r\n\"With right-handers, sometimes he gets a little more ‘gung-ho' because he sees the ball better and he wants to jump on something and that gets him a little overaggressive on the offspeed stuff.\"
\r\n
\r\nRoller now says that consistency will be the most important thing in continuing to produce the big numbers that he has to this point in the 2014 campaign.
\r\n
\r\n\"Just finding a way to be more consistent in everything I do will be key,\" Roller admitted. \"You can't have one good game and then three bad games. So I just got to grind it out and take an 0-3 day and try to later turn it into a 1-4 game. That's the biggest thing for me as a hitter is just being more consistent in what I do.\"
\r\n
\r\nWhile Roller has sputtered just a tad here lately, hitting below .200 in his last ten games, the whole body of work has been eye-opening and the prevailing thought is his productive ways should continue.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's a great kid and he's a hard worker, and he's off to a good start here, we'll see if he can stay on that same track,\" Wynegar concluded.
\r\n
\r\n

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

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