But David Williams has picked up just where he left off with NCAA play this year, hitting .382 through the first ten games of the season after compiling a .412 batting average for Rutgers in 2007. Williams, however, is not yet convinced that his string of success is not just a welcomed aberration.
"I actually feel like I've been getting a little bit lucky," said Williams, a 15th round pick of the Yankees this year. "We've been putting a lot of work in the cage and everything, just trying to get used to the wood bat, but I've just been swinging and [the ball's] been falling."
"The wood bat is a little different," he continued. "I guess it's going all right, and I've been getting my hits, but it takes more consistency. With a metal bat you can make mistakes and still get away with it, but with wood you have to be more perfect."
Despite hitting just five home runs at Rutgers this year, Williams has shown power to all fields, and at 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds, he was second at Rutgers in doubles and slugging percentage only to shortstop Todd Frazier, who was drafted in the first round by the Reds earlier this month.
For now, though, the 22-year old outfielder is just happy to be playing healthy after injuries factored into his final two seasons with the Scarlet Knights.
"Last year was supposed to be my big year, and then I broke my wrist and that was the big [injury]. Then later on in the year I tried to come back and play and I twisted my ankle, and it was just like last year was a lost year."
Williams ended the 2006 season hitting a promising .314, but in only 51 at-bats.
"This year my main goal going in was just staying healthy. And I had fun, and when you have fun, it makes the game a lot easier."
The injury bug came back for Williams this year as well, as he tweaked his hamstring against Princeton in late March, a minor injury now that the hot-hitting outfielder says he still has to nurse.
"It's hanging in there, though I don't want to jinx it," Williams revealed. "Every day before the game I make sure I get it stretched out, because it's just an annoying, nagging injury, and I just have to make sure I take care of it."
Besides the adjustment to wooden bats and the consistently better pitching, Williams says one of the toughest things to make the transition to is playing games every day in pro ball, as opposed to a schedule of three to five games a week at the collegiate level.
"It's a lot different," he said. "It's like you definitely see why it's essential to stay healthy in this game. Days off are so undervalued, I mean right now I know a whole bunch of guys coming from college, and you play for the most part in your career maybe four days in a row, and you're done, physically and mentally."
"Now you have people going, 'Agh, seven days in a row now of games, and now we don't get a day off for two to three weeks.' So it's just a matter of getting the right mindset, pacing your body, knowing your body, and going out and just playing."
Williams Transitioning To The Pro Game
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