Flemming Rolling Everywhere

TRENTON, NJ - Billy Fleming is an undrafted, second-year player who has been on an impressive roll this season. He started the season with high-A Tampa but shortly moved to rookie level Pulaski and after only 15 games with Pulaski the organization thought he deserved a promotion to Double-A, and he did not disappoint in his short time there either.

In seven games with the Thunder, he batted .318 with four doubles and a slugging percentage of .500. Fleming has adjusted well to his ever changing surroundings, and has not lost a step when moving up in competition level. Prior to being sent to Charleston on Tuesday he said that he loved playing in Trenton and is already feeling the difference in Double-A pitching, compared to his other two stops this season.

“I love it here. It’s so close to home,” Fleming said. “I get to be in the clubhouse with these guys every day and they’re awesome guys, plus I’m learning a lot so it’s been a great experience so far.

"Pitching-wise, they have great command and speed. They can put it anywhere they want. That’s been the adjustment I’ve been trying to make. In Double-A, you can totally notice the pitching level, compared to the other levels I’ve competed at.”

Across all three levels he’s competed in prior to his Charleston debut on Tuesday, his numbers have been incredible with a batting line of .402/.476/.586 with 10 doubles in 27 games this year.

When watching him play, it’s easy to notice why he has such great batting numbers. He has a very aggressive swing and approach, but he’s not reckless. He’s very patient at the plate and rarely swings at bad pitches. He’s not afraid to swing on the first pitch and is able to hit to pretty much any part of the field.

Thunder hitting coach P.J. Piliterre was impressed with how he has performed in such a short time and recalls the first time he’s seen him in action.

“He has a good idea of using the whole field,” Piliterre said. “He’s been a delight to watch. He’s given us big hits in key situations when we really needed him to do so. He is a nice addition to the lineup. I remember watching his first at-bat a couple of weeks ago before the All-Star break and I said ‘man, this kid is pretty calm and he doesn’t look like he’s panicking or nervous or anything.”

The more and more he plays, the more people start to notice him. He never seems to be too overly-excited and according to Thunder manager Al Pedrique, Fleming has been a player that knows how to prepare for the game and knows what to do to succeed.

“I tell you what, I’m impressed with the kid,” Pedrique said. “He hasn’t played professional baseball a whole lot. I’m very impressed with the way he conducts himself on the field. I haven’t seen him nervous and seems to have a pretty good idea on how to play the game. I’m happy he’s on our team.”

Playing for West Virginia in college, Fleming was an All Big-12 honorable mention in his junior year, batting .297 with 11 doubles and 27 RBI. But that alone was not enough for him to get drafted and that has been on his mind as he’s been playing with a chip on his shoulder.

“I’m very confident in my abilities, but I believe I have to go out there and just prove myself every day,” Fleming said. “Being an undrafted free agent, you got to go out open somebody’s eyes and prove that you’re just as good as these other guys. That’s been something that has been on my mind since the day I signed and that’s why I work so hard at this.”

He was able to sign with the Yankees as an undrafted free agent in 2014 and played with Staten Island in short season Single-A as well as with the Yankees’ GCL team. He batted .330 with 11 RBI in 31 games in 2014.

Fleming had been playing in first base for the Thunder, but by no means is that his only position. He’s spent time in second and in third base at the other levels in the minors, including playing second base for the Charleston RiverDogs on Tuesday. Being versatile and able to play multiple positions has been something that Fleming has been focusing on improving.

“With me, playing more positions is going to make me more valuable,” Fleming said. “I’ve been taking more ground balls at third, first, second, anywhere I can get better. I’m just trying to get better on my defense and offense as well.

"Overall, I’m trying to be a better player. At every level, you have to adjust. You don’t have the same approach at the plate. There are so many different things to factor in so I’m just trying to get better every day."

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