Ricardo Ferreira is learning how to maximize his world-class speed on the baseball diamond.

TAMPA, FL -- Former middle infielder now turned outfielder Ricardo Ferreira had two very good first seasons in the Dominican Summer League where he opened up some eyes with his blazing speed. Now looking to do the same States-side, he and his coaches are looking for him to slow the game down somewhat to help him better realize his potential.

Ricardo Ferreira is a speedy, 5-foot-11-inch, 175-pound, switch-hitter, who is transitioning as an infielder from the Dominican Summer League to an outfielder for Yankees in the Gulf Coast League this year [or maybe higher].

Ferreira is a highly energetic player in both practice and games, who genuinely enjoys the game he plays. He has high standards for himself, and this translates into him being an excellent teammate and having a strong winning mentality.

He has had a lot of success last year in the DSL, where he had a batting average of .382 and an on base percentage of .513. He has plenty of potential with his speed also, which got him 35 stolen bases in 62 games.

Edwar Gonzales, who is Ferreira’s hitting coach in Extended Spring Training, sees Ferreira’s speed as a huge advantage. His speed is something that can potentially bring Ferreira to the majors, if he can become more controlled with this skill.

“He has a tool that is hard to find, which is speed.  He’s in the process of learning how to use it…you have to work with him to explore the tools that he has and make it shine as much as possible,” Gonzales said. “If we have a guy that has a Major League tool we have to do whatever we can to help him and make him understand what he needs to do to help us at the higher level.”

Gonzales wants Ferreira to continue to get on the bases often because of his speed. With his speed Ferreira is likely to find a way to score more runs.

In the offseason Ferreira was able to reach his weight goal and work extensively on his transition to the outfield.  In Extended Spring Training he is making adjustments as he goes, so he can become more successful in the long run.

“I feel good so far, but I know that I was struggling a little in the game,” Ferreira said through the help of a translator. “I think that I made adjustments, I am trying to make adjustments every day, trying to be better.”

Yankees Gulf Coast League Manager, Raul Dominguez, thinks Ferreira will have a successful season during EST, especially if he continues to play the same way he did during DSL.

“He plays here in [Extended Spring Training], I want him to do the same thing he did last year, I just want to see him just stay focused on the game,” Dominguez said. “If he can control the motions, he can be successful.”

As his transition from the infield to the outfield continues, Ferreira is becoming more focused on keeping the proper concentration, that will help him become more successful. According to Ferreira, he is much more comfortable in the outfield as opposed to the infield, so this has been an easy transition for him. Ferreira moving from the infield to the outfield has been very helpful for him too, and he is happy that he can take his attention off of his position change and he can put more emphasis on other challenges.

“I feel good about it because I know that I was struggling in the infield; I know that the Yankee’s are trying to help me in my career, so that it doesn’t bother me mentally,” Ferreira said. “I feel really good because I feel comfortable in the outfield, I feel like I learn faster than when I was an infielder.”

In addition to the transition between positions, he has also transitioned culturally going from the DSL to EST. Ferreira has seemed to adapt quickly from the change in leagues and in culture.

Dominguez believes that Ferreira can be successful playing on his team because of the skills that he possesses.

“His tools surprise me," Dominguez said.  "We got a lot of players with tools but, the tools that he has he uses in the game.  He did last year and he continues to do it.”

Ferreira believes that he needs to improve overall, offensively, defensively and particularly becoming more consistent mentally and controlled on the field.

“I am still learning the other things about discipline and how I can control myself in the game,” Ferreira said.

Ferreira’s improving discipline, tools, speed and focus are major assets that both Dominguez and Gonzales have seen in him. These skills can take Ferreira very far, if used correctly.

At age 21, Ferreira is considered an older player since many minor leaguers are taken on straight out of high school.  Gonzales, however, does not see Ferreira’s age as a major concern.

“If it was an American player, he’s pretty much graduating from college,” Gonzales said. “I think he is where he needs to be, he’s working very hard.”

Dominguez believes that Ferreira’s tools are more important than his age.

A lack of experience is one disadvantage that can hold Ferreira back. He has only been playing organized baseball for just two years and both Gonzales and Dominguez believe Ferreira’s upside is limitless, once he gets more experience under his belt.

“He just needs to keep playing to get more experience, but especially the mentality, the focus that he needs in the game, he has to be consistent, he has to keep the same focus in practice, with the same level (in game),” Dominguez said. “Sometimes he goes up, sometimes he goes down, in the game, if he keeps the same focus he’s going to be successful.”

Gonzales praised Ferreira on his speed, but says Ferreira still needs to develop a bit more control for his speed.

“When he calms it down, when he slows the game down he’s better because his physical movements are better,” Gonzales said.

Along with his speed, Ferreira has a big skillset that he will need to refine and sharpen because of his lack of experience, and this is something that Ferreira is more than capable of doing.

“He’s a very toolsy guy that can do a lot of great things on the field, Gonzales said. “I would like to see him with a little more control, relaxed with his actions; he is always full of speed all the time, he’s very fast so it is hard for him to slow down a little bit sometimes. Just slowing him down and getting him to make proper moves at the plate, when he does that he is okay.”

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