Patrick Teale

Kendall Coleman didn't have a great season numbers-wise in 2016 but he is still confident in his eventual development.

Outfielder Kendall Coleman, a potential breakout candidate before the season began, did not have a good year numbers-wise at all, hitting just a combined .197 between low-A Charleston and short-season Staten Island. It was a positive year in some instances, however, especially from a health standpoint, and he feels confident he can turn things around in the not-so distant future.

Not only did he hit below the dreaded 'Mendoza' line this year, including a .194 average in 55 Staten Island games, but he struck out a whopping 99 times in 92 games too.

"It was a long season," Coleman admitted.  "It was definitely a learning year.  I learned a lot about myself.  I thought I started off the year good and [then] I kind of hit a slump and could never get back on-track.

"I wasn't disappointed [too much] because I was working on stuff and doing good -- I was hitting the ball hard at times with everything I was trying to do -- but the numbers weren't there to show for it.  I just have to continue to keep trying to get better and hopefully the results will come."

Standing 6-foot-4 and weighing in at a still growing 190 pounds, Coleman has always had to try to get all of his longer parts in sync and 2016 was actually the first season he was healthy enough to get to work in that regard.

"I'm still trying to figure out my swing and myself, and try to figure out how to use these long limbs and put them together," he added further.  "I made some strides in the lower half and I'm excited to get it going."

Even Coleman, one of the hardest workers around and one of the most positive-minded individuals in the Yankees farm system, had to get a little down on himself though numbers-wise and wonder what he was doing wrong.

"For sure.  When you go into a game and you're prepared -- you focus all day on BP, practice, and you feel prepared, but then you come out of the game 0-4 it's tough, especially when you do that on a consistent basis.  I was striking out a lot but I was also walking a lot which is something I try to do, to limit the amount of pitches I swing at to only the ones I like.  That can be a good thing or a bad thing; sometimes that gets me into trouble.

"When I stick with that game plan and hit the ball hard sometimes it will go right at somebody, sometimes it will find a hole, you never know.  I would come out of the game sometimes disappointed but realize it's a process and all I can do is hit the ball hard."

He also realizes that getting at-bats is a huge part of the process, especially for somebody who came into the 2016 season off of a career high 203 at-bats the year prior, and that those at-bats need to come somewhere.  So while some pundits might have viewed his mid-season trip to the Staten Island Yankees as a demotion, Coleman simply took it as an opportunity.

"Any chance you get to play -- you can look at it as a demotion but I didn't look at it that way -- I was looking at it as an opportunity to play more," he said.

In fact, the only number he was mostly focused on was 92, the amount of games he was able to play this past year, and in his mind that was a huge achievement for somebody who had played a grand total of just 76 games combined over the three seasons prior because of various injuries.

"That was one of the things I was most prideful about," he said.  "Coming in the year I took care of myself very well.  Last offseason I went after it and it showed when I reported to Spring Training this year.  I had the one short stint on the DL this year, it was like seven days or whatever, but other than that I was completely healthy and felt good.  I'm definitely excited about that."

He maintains that his development is still part of an overall process and he believes that through his struggles in 2016, combined with how hard he works and his overall positive mindset, that he can turn things around.

"Yeah, I'm just going to continue the process, keep going at it everyday.  I believe results come with hard work and work ethic so they're coming.  That's something nobody will ever take from me, how hard I work, for sure."

He has seen it first-hand too with fellow Yankee farmhand Kyle Higashioka, another prospect who struggled for years before finally breaking out with a 22-home run season this year.  For Coleman, bouncing back like Higashioka isn't beyond the realm of possibility at some point.

"I hope so, that would be great.  It's funny that you bring up 'Higgy'.  I love 'Higgy'.  He had a great year so I was so excited to see that.  I don't expect it to be some remarkable breakout year [for me] like that but I do expect with how hard I work and with the coaches and instructors that we have, I do expect good things to come in the near future."

In fact, while some prospects would simply like to hit the proverbial reset button after the year Coleman just had, he goes the exact opposite way; he embraces everything about the year and chooses to help guide him going forward.

"I wouldn't say reset button because I've had to learn a lot in the past three or four years or so.  I just have to take what I've learned and just keep applying it to my game.  I'm confident I'm going to turn things around [though]," he concluded.


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