Coleman Didn't Want It To End

In hindsight it shouldn't be too surprising that Kendall Coleman struggled to start his season given the fact that he missed so much time in his first two professionals seasons. He finished the season strong, however. In fact, he finished the season so strong that he didn't want it to end and because of that he says he is beyond excited to be down in Tampa for Instructs.

In a lot of ways 2015 was essentially Kendall Coleman's debut season. He had amassed a grand total of just 51 at-bats in his first two professional seasons after his eleventh round selection back in 2013 due to a series of injuries.

Keeping that mind his .236 batting average and .725 OPS for the short-season Pulaski Yankees this year was quite admirable.

"The whole year I thought went pretty well," he said. "I made a lot of adjustments and ended the year pretty strong. In the beginning [of the season], in the first half, I struggled real hard. Me and Gonzo our hitting coach we made a lot of adjustments, not even minor. It ended up working out so I'm excited to be here at Instructs to continue doing what we were doing."

The first half of his season was a struggle indeed as he hit just .142 in his first 33 games.

"I actually went into the [Pulaski] season feeling great," he revealed. "I was very surprised actually [that I struggled in the first half]. After the first game, I think I was 1-4, I was like 'okay, this shouldn't be too bad' and then the next three or four games I didn't have a hit, and didn't even come close.

"I wasn't seeing the ball well at all. I was a little shocked but I wasn't too worried because I know how hard I work and the work that I put in so I know there's going to be good outcomes."

That hard work allowed him to enjoy a lot of reported success in Extended Spring Training where by all accounts he was one of the real standouts in camp. Still, perhaps the lost time with a pulled quad in 2013, shin-splints in 2014, and even a broken thumb this season sustained back in Spring Training took its toll on him.

"It could have but I'm not going to make any excuses, no way," he insisted. "It could have but I had problems with my swing, I had problems with my game plan, everything, so I'm not going to fault it to missing time out."

However, lost development time is still time lost and for a larger-framed player like Coleman it's a point that can not be ignored. Trying to get his longer limbs to work in sync has been and will most likely continue to be a constant development mantra.

"We were trying everything," he said. "We were trying different hand placements, different stances, and we just found some stuff that clicked. The biggest thing though was my mindset I believe other than being on time.

"In the first half my main thing was being late on fastballs. Obviously you can't be late on fastballs or you're not going to hit anything. The biggest adjustment I think was my mindset, not being late on fastballs and not missing that pitch when you get it."

He experienced a lot of firsts in 2015. Not only was he working on his swing and overall mechanics, but it was also the first time he played night games as a professional, the first time he made extensive road trips, etc. But as most professionals do, he made the necessary adjustments to have one of the stronger finishes down on the farm.

"I had the most confidence ever. I didn't think there was anybody on the planet that could have gotten me out. But I'm always confident. It may not have seemed like it at the beginning of the season [given my numbers] but I'm always confident.

"I'm always knowing that I'm going to go up there and hit the ball hard. My confidence level though just stepped up a level in that last month or so, which is why I'm excited to be here at Instructs."

Coleman and his coaches believe they've found a swing that works for him and it's hard to dispute it given his very strong finish. The plan for Instructs is to keep that work going at the minor league complex.

"The same thing, literally the same things; not missing the fastballs. There's a lot of mechanical stuff -- load and trying to be strong on the back side which I'm still learning how to do -- I've got long legs, really long legs and I'm still trying out to use them. The hitting coaches and I are putting in a lot of work, and I think we're making strides.

"Every part of my game is a work in progress. There's definitely some mechanical issues. We're doing stuff everyday just to smooth things out -- the load, making sure I'm balanced, just making sure I get perfect contact on every swing. That's really been the goal here at Instructs early on."

So how close is his swing to being the one he believes he can take with him to the higher minor league levels?

"I've got really, really high expectations for myself so I don't even know," he admitted. "I'm always going to believe that I have stuff to work on. It won't matter if I'm hitting .400, I always think there's stuff that you can work on. It's definitely making some real big strides though.

"I'm trying to figure out how my body works and my swing, and that's why I appreciate all of these hitting coaches out here because they're being really patient with me and they're working just as hard as I am trying to figure out how to get these long legs and long arms to work together. We'll figure it out. It's coming."

And that has him extremely excited. Even with his strong finish to the 2015 campaign he knows he can be a lot better.

"I'm very excited. I didn't want the season to end. When 'skip' [Tony Franklin] told me I was coming to Instructs I was like 'perfect, I get to keep doing this'. I didn't want to go home and take a couple of weeks off and then try to re-boot it back up. I just get to keep doing it here every single day.

"I got so much better from the start of the season until the end and I know there's so much more room to get better, just even now until the end of Instructs. That's why I'm so excited," he concluded.

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