Fermin Becoming More Well-Rounded

Angel Fermin could be coming to a Major League ballpark near you as early as September 2009. The 20-year-old Dominican Republic native's talent is both considerable and undeniable. That's the feeling coming out of the Yankees Extended Spring Training complex in Tampa this year.

But, that's this year. Last year, if there was any buzz at all surrounding Fermin during Extended Spring Training, it was concerning his abundance of power and his alarmingly low batting average (.211 in the '04 Dominican Summer League).

Angel Fermin quelled those fears with MVP type production in the Gulf Coast League, hitting .305 while leading the league in doubles (17) and finishing second in total bases (81) and slugging (.526).

He also led his team in practically every notable offensive category, finishing first in runs (35), RBI (32), total bases, doubles, home runs (5), slugging and OPS (.886).

Fermin, however, still has plenty to work on if he ever wants to exhibit his talents at the Major League level. That's where Matt Martin and Hector Lopez, the Yankees EST and GCL hitting coaches, fit in. Both Martin and Lopez have been working hard with Fermin on addressing his weaknesses.

"He needs to work on, just like a lot of the other kids as well, his pitch recognition," Martin said. "You know, it's tough a lot of the time, he's geared to hit that fastball, and he's a pretty good fastball hitter, but throw breaking balls or a changeup and he just doesn't see it early enough and he's already committed. So he's got to work on his pitch recognition."

While Fermin may not be able to crush a curve ball just yet that doesn't mean that he's not ahead of the curve as a young hitter. By addressing his weaknesses early in his professional career, Fermin is showing a willingness to suffer through the growing pains that will allow him to excel down the road or in the show.

So what should scouts and fans know about the relative unknown Fermin? Staten Island Manager Gaylen Pitts has noticed a thing or two while observing the youngster the past two years at EST.

"He's a quiet guy that goes about his business and works hard, and he looks like he's going to hit real well," Pitts said.

Martin is equally enthused by his pupils' diligence and work ethic.

"Hector Lopez (Yankees Rookie league hitting coach) did a good job of working with him and everyone on staff did a good job of working with him," Martin said. "They were just trying to get him to shorten his swing up and have the mentality to hit the ball up the middle and I think that really paid off for him."

Another move that could pay off for Fermin is a move from the outfield back to his natural position at third base. Last season Fermin split time primarily between left field and first base, but he would like for that to change during his '06 campaign.

"Defensively I prefer third base," Fermin said through interpreter and EST teammate Christian Garcia. "I like it the best too."

The coaches and managers have been receptive thus far to Fermin's request as he's been playing third base some during his stay at Extended Spring Training. Fermin's defensive versatility is not going unnoticed and perhaps will ultimately aid in his ascent through the minor leagues.

"He's a guy that can help you because he's got some power," Pitts said. "Also he gives you some versatility because he plays a number of positions, if you got two first baseman he can DH, if you need a first baseman he can play first base, if you need a third baseman he can play third and he can play the outfield, so he has several positions that he can fill in for you. And he gives you a bat that has some pop."

Fermin's "pop" is undoubtedly his greatest asset as a player, PinstripesPlus currently lists Fermin as the 8th best power hitting prospect in the Yankees system.

"Angel has a lot of raw power," Martin said. "To be able to hit a baseball you have to have some type of strength and Angel is a very strong individual."

Fermin, however, could and should be ranked higher if he learns to take more pitches at the plate. He already possesses the "raw power," and he has drastically cut down his strikeouts but his walk totals are abysmal.

Fermin ranked 117th in the GCL with a meager seven base on balls, most shocking is the fact that he was 12th on his own team in the category. The good news is that he didn't strike out that much. His 27 whiffs (in 154 AB's) placed him 59th in the GCL, well behind the Tigers' Casper Wells who led the league with 59 K's.

What does that all mean? It means that Fermin now possesses three very valuable tools: power; the ability to consistently put the ball in play; and, work ethic. While Fermin or any other player could become a good hitter with just those three tools ,a great hitter needs to be a well rounded hitter, and that means that Fermin would need to acquire two more tools, patience (i.e. walks) and plate discipline (i.e. knowing what to do with what the pitcher gives you).

If you get the chance to talk with Fermin, you would understand that not only does he want those things, he's only a couple of years away from being able to put it all together.

"I would like to hit the ball more to the opposite field, to right field, and to hit for a higher average," Fermin said through Garcia. "My goals for the upcoming short season are to hit above .300 with 10 home runs and 40 RBI."

Don't go thinking Angel Fermin is a pure power guy, indeed he can leave the yard, but the most alluring thing about Fermin is that he's aiming to become a well rounded hitter. And that means consistency.

Meanwhile Pitts is looking forward to having Fermin on his ball club in the very near future.

"There's a good shot that (Angel) might go with me to (Staten Island), I don't know yet," Pitts said. "Were going to have to sit down on the beginning of June and make some decisions."

"We end on the eighth and after that we go up to Staten Island so we're going to have to start setting these rosters in a bit."

Pinstripes Plus Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nBut, that's this year. Last year, if there was any buzz at all surrounding Fermin during Extended Spring Training, it was concerning his abundance of power and his alarmingly low batting average (.211 in the '04 Dominican Summer League).
\r\n
\r\nAngel Fermin quelled those fears with MVP type production in the Gulf Coast League, hitting .305 while leading the league in doubles (17) and finishing second in total bases (81) and slugging (.526).
\r\n
\r\nHe also led his team in practically every notable offensive category, finishing first in runs (35), RBI (32), total bases, doubles, home runs (5), slugging and OPS (.886).
\r\n
\r\nFermin, however, still has plenty to work on if he ever wants to exhibit his talents at the Major League level. That's where Matt Martin and Hector Lopez, the Yankees EST and GCL hitting coaches, fit in. Both Martin and Lopez have been working hard with Fermin on addressing his weaknesses.
\r\n
\r\n\"He needs to work on, just like a lot of the other kids as well, his pitch recognition,\" Martin said. \"You know, it's tough a lot of the time, he's geared to hit that fastball, and he's a pretty good fastball hitter, but throw breaking balls or a changeup and he just doesn't see it early enough and he's already committed. So he's got to work on his pitch recognition.\"
\r\n
\r\nWhile Fermin may not be able to crush a curve ball just yet that doesn't mean that he's not ahead of the curve as a young hitter. By addressing his weaknesses early in his professional career, Fermin is showing a willingness to suffer through the growing pains that will allow him to excel down the road or in the show.
\r\n
\r\nSo what should scouts and fans know about the relative unknown Fermin? Staten Island Manager Gaylen Pitts has noticed a thing or two while observing the youngster the past two years at EST.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's a quiet guy that goes about his business and works hard, and he looks like he's going to hit real well,\" Pitts said.
\r\n
\r\nMartin is equally enthused by his pupils' diligence and work ethic.
\r\n
\r\n\"Hector Lopez (Yankees Rookie league hitting coach) did a good job of working with him and everyone on staff did a good job of working with him,\" Martin said. \"They were just trying to get him to shorten his swing up and have the mentality to hit the ball up the middle and I think that really paid off for him.\"
\r\n
\r\nAnother move that could pay off for Fermin is a move from the outfield back to his natural position at third base. Last season Fermin split time primarily between left field and first base, but he would like for that to change during his '06 campaign.
\r\n
\r\n\"Defensively I prefer third base,\" Fermin said through interpreter and EST teammate Christian Garcia. \"I like it the best too.\"
\r\n
\r\nThe coaches and managers have been receptive thus far to Fermin's request as he's been playing third base some during his stay at Extended Spring Training. Fermin's defensive versatility is not going unnoticed and perhaps will ultimately aid in his ascent through the minor leagues.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's a guy that can help you because he's got some power,\" Pitts said. \"Also he gives you some versatility because he plays a number of positions, if you got two first baseman he can DH, if you need a first baseman he can play first base, if you need a third baseman he can play third and he can play the outfield, so he has several positions that he can fill in for you. And he gives you a bat that has some pop.\"
\r\n
\r\nFermin's \"pop\" is undoubtedly his greatest asset as a player, PinstripesPlus currently lists Fermin as the 8th best power hitting prospect in the Yankees system.
\r\n
\r\n\"Angel has a lot of raw power,\" Martin said. \"To be able to hit a baseball you have to have some type of strength and Angel is a very strong individual.\"
\r\n
\r\nFermin, however, could and should be ranked higher if he learns to take more pitches at the plate. He already possesses the \"raw power,\" and he has drastically cut down his strikeouts but his walk totals are abysmal.
\r\n
\r\nFermin ranked 117th in the GCL with a meager seven base on balls, most shocking is the fact that he was 12th on his own team in the category. The good news is that he didn't strike out that much. His 27 whiffs (in 154 AB's) placed him 59th in the GCL, well behind the Tigers' Casper Wells who led the league with 59 K's.
\r\n
\r\nWhat does that all mean? It means that Fermin now possesses three very valuable tools: power; the ability to consistently put the ball in play; and, work ethic. While Fermin or any other player could become a good hitter with just those three tools ,a great hitter needs to be a well rounded hitter, and that means that Fermin would need to acquire two more tools, patience (i.e. walks) and plate discipline (i.e. knowing what to do with what the pitcher gives you).
\r\n
\r\nIf you get the chance to talk with Fermin, you would understand that not only does he want those things, he's only a couple of years away from being able to put it all together.
\r\n
\r\n\"I would like to hit the ball more to the opposite field, to right field, and to hit for a higher average,\" Fermin said through Garcia. \"My goals for the upcoming short season are to hit above .300 with 10 home runs and 40 RBI.\"
\r\n
\r\nDon't go thinking Angel Fermin is a pure power guy, indeed he can leave the yard, but the most alluring thing about Fermin is that he's aiming to become a well rounded hitter. And that means consistency.
\r\n
\r\nMeanwhile Pitts is looking forward to having Fermin on his ball club in the very near future.
\r\n
\r\n\"There's a good shot that (Angel) might go with me to (Staten Island), I don't know yet,\" Pitts said. \"Were going to have to sit down on the beginning of June and make some decisions.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"We end on the eighth and after that we go up to Staten Island so we're going to have to start setting these rosters in a bit.\"
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