Aguilar Handling It Well

CHARLESTON, SC - Shortstop Angel Aguilar hasn't had the season he or many had expected in 2015. He's hitting just .219 with weeks just remaining in the season but, injured at the start of the year, he's been playing catch up since day one. His coaches believe he's been handling it well though and that there are still signs of his long-term promise.

He was supposed to be one of this year's more promising hitters entering the season after he hit .311 with seven home runs in the Gulf Coast League last year but his start was delayed right from the get-go when he had a minor back injury that kept him out of all of Spring Training.

In fact, it was the reason he actually began the season in Extended Spring Training and didn't make his long-season league debut until late April with the RiverDogs.

“He’s playing a little bit of catch-up, “ Riverdogs hitting coach Greg Colbrunn said. “When he came here, he was healthy and ready to go, but he was rehabbing a lot during Spring Training and not seeing a ton of at-bats, and then once he came here it was like a rush to catch everything up, but that’s part of the game and he’s handling it well.”

He hit just .208 and uncharacteristically struck out a whopping 60 times in his first 48 games in Charleston. Part of it was getting healthy again and seeing live at-bats, and part of it was adjusting to a new league and level too.

“At the beginning, I wasn’t expecting to get hurt, no one is obviously,…but I came out as best I could and made the necessary adjustments," Aguilar said through the help of a translator. "It just took a lot longer than I expected.”

All things considered, however, he has been handling it well. He hasn’t had a stellar hitting season this time around considering last season he batted .311 as opposed to .219 this season, but there is no need to fret or panic. He had the injury that set him back but he is on the rise. This season is just a stepping-stone for what’s to come.

Among some of those adjustments has been playing other positions. A natural shortstop, he has played some second base and third base too this year, and it has come pretty easily to him. From the looks of it, it hasn’t had much affect on his offensive or defensive game.

“At the beginning of the year I was playing third but then after awhile I was told to play second and short, and after that I was still getting switched up. But after everything, all the switches and everything, it became easy to go back and forth,” Aguilar mentioned.

With quite a few good shortstops in the farm system already, the need was there to play Aguilar at a few different positions. Charleston manager Luis Dorante likes him at shortstop but believes he is good at any infield position they put him.

“We’ve been moving him around a lot and he’s done a good job with that so far defensively,” Dorante said. “He’s been looking good. We do like him at shortstop. He’s got soft hands and it’s worked out well. The more repetition he gets, the better it will be.

"It’s obviously very different when you play on one side of the field and when you play on the opposite side. The field play is different. It just looks different to the player, but he’s been handling it well.”

The longer he gets into the season the more he has adjusted too on the offensive side. He's been hitting better recently, batting .235 over his last 35 games, but more importantly the strikeouts have come down. He has struck out just 38 times during that stretch and his walks have gone up too.

While the total numbers are not anything to write home about, the fact is he is making steady adjustments and still showing signs of some significant long-term promise.

There’s no doubt Aguilar is one to watch as he makes his way through the minors on up. He is getting better every day and that’s all his coaches can ask of him right now.

“He’s got a strong set of hands. He impacts the ball and sees the open field well. With all the changes defensively, he’s been a good player to have around,” Colbrunn concluded.

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