Palma Making The Adjustments

CHARLESTON, SC - Look quickly at Alexander Palma's numbers so far this season in Charleston and it's easy to be not too impressed; he's hitting just .202 and hasn't even topped double digit extra-base hits yet either. However, his coaches caution anyone paying too much attention to his numbers this season and they like the adjustments he's made in recent months.

For the first few months of the season, Alexander Palma set the bar a little low for himself. He wanted to start out slow, and with time, start to play “his game”.

Being only 19 years old, he is the youngest member of this Charleston team but he’s showing that he shouldn’t be looked down on as inexperienced or untested. Just brought up this season to play Low-A ball he hasn’t had a lot of time to show who he is or what he can do, but the 6-foot outfielder is playing “his game” now and adjusting well.

He’s had some bad luck at the plate this season too but the coaches aren’t worried about the numbers.

“It’s a tough environment here in Charleston and any player struggles at first, but the more he gets to the plate, the more aggressive he gets," Charleston hitting coach Greg Colbrun said. "He’s not backing down.

"He’s getting better steadily. He has good hand-eye-coordination and he only walked three times while in the GCL [last season]. He’s starting to recognize pitches better and getting a better idea of the strike zone."

Sometimes adjustments being made are not so in your face, sometimes the adjustments are more subtle and steady.

Palma is adjusting well to the schedule of a long season, the first time he's ever had to endure so many games in one year. Charleston manager Luis Dorante seems to think the biggest adjustment for him [and most of the team] is the mental part of the game.

"A lot of our guys are struggling with their mental game and that’s something that we try and attack, and be able to get ready for the next day and be prepared fully," Dorante said. "We try not to worry about it too much and not let it affect the game. You have to trust your abilities to hit the ball and be a good player.”

Palma has seen steady improvement since the start of the season. He hit just .106 in his first 13 games and .151 in his first 29 games overall, but has hit a more respectable .242 over his last 39 games. Palma believes that he can improve the most at the plate. Getting numbers up is what’s most important to him, and it’s what he’s proud of.

“Having a better approach and working in the cage has helped me a lot," Palma said through the help of a translator. "I’m swinging at better pitches during games and that’s what is getting my numbers up."

Just barely over the famed Mendoza line now [batting .202], adjustments come in other areas too. Defensively, he’s looked great. Offensively, he needs some work, but in due time he will thrive and his strong suits are what will help him.

The numbers obviously don't jump off of the page in his favor in his first taste of the long-season leagues but it is his coaches that believe there is still some significant long-term potential in this teenager despite the less than impressive statistics.

“He’s going to be a guy who demands a lot of power. He’s got the power," Dorante said. "It’s just a matter of him trying to figure out how he’s going to use it. Once he gets more comfortable at the plate, the big plays will come for sure."

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