Much Being Thown At Lyon

After being drafted out of Northeastern University as a power hitting shortstop, Mike Lyon has realized his game is going to need some adjustments to adapt to playing baseball at the professional level. A pair of errors at third base leading to three unearned runs and a 3-0 loss on Opening Day can do that to you.

Mike Lyon, a 21-year-old slugging shortstop, doesn't profile as a middle infielder at the professional level. In order get that powerful bat into the lineup the Yankees organization has decided to move him to third base. It's early in his transition, but things are going well despite the ugly Opening Day.

"I had a tough first game over there," Lyon said. "I made a couple of errors, but I'm working with the coaches here and they know exactly what to expect at third base.

"Just being able to hear what they have to say about everything, they work with me everyday with different footwork and glove work and everything. I've come pretty accustomed to it right now and hopefully I'll develop into a pretty good defensive third baseman."

Even though Lyon was a college shortstop, he is not entirely new to the hot corner. His sophomore year he started 27 games at the position because of a logjam at short. He has also played there during summer leagues for the past three years.

"I played a lot of summer ball through the past three years after school," Lyon explained. "Usually they overstock on shortstops so I ended up swinging over to third base a lot and some outfield during the summers, so I got a taste of what it's like."

Lyon has the type of bat organizations find intriguing and once that bat is ready, the Yankees want to make sure he becomes a little more versatile so the team is also having Lyon working at first base as well.

"They're just looking for whatever the organization needs," Lyon said. "With Alex at third base there isn't much question that they're not going to need a third baseman.

"They're looking for power at first base and hopefully I can supply that. I'm doing work, but it's new for me over at first base."

Unlike third, Lyon has no experience at any level playing first base, so things are progressing more slowly and fans shouldn't expect to see him over there just yet. In the meantime the team is focused on the reason he was drafted - his bat.

As he makes the jump from college to professional baseball, the two biggest differences are hitting with a wooden bat and facing tougher pitching. Lyon feels that neither of these issues are going to hinder his progress as he tries to move up the ladder to the bigs.

"During the summer leagues I've been playing using wood," he said. "I swing wood at school every time I'm in the cage, just trying to get work. Both bats you're just trying to get the head of the bat on the ball and even with wood if you get the head on it its the same as metal.

"It's not really hard of an adjustment if you are a sound hitter and focus on getting that bat on the ball."

Lyon explains that he expects the tougher pitchers to make him a better hitter as well.

"When the pitching gets faster and better it makes me keyhole a little bit more," he said. "It makes me stop swinging at pitches out of the zone that were soft because I knew I could hit them, whereas now it's got to be in that little zone, that little box where I know I can drive it. It's going to make me become a better hitter."

As he adjusts to the professional pitching, the Yankees are working with him to make him a more well-rounded hitter. At the same time, they are not willing to sacrifice his powerful bat. So right now they are looking for a happy medium.

"We're going to try to utilize his power as much as we can," said Ty Hawkins, hitting coach for Staten Island. "That's one of his strengths so we definitely don't want to take that away from him. We're going to try to build on that."

The team has some ideas in mind for his swing. As per organization policy they have not attempted to adjust his swing yet, but once they begin Hawkins has some ideas in mind.

"His swing can get a little long so we're just going to try to shorten it up a little bit," Hawkins said. "We would also like to see him be a little more consistent with the lower-half of his body."

Part of the work they are doing with him to build on his power is to help cut down on his strikeout total. In his four years at school, Lyon had nearly three times as many strikeouts as walks and the Yankees would like to see the exact opposite of that.

"That's something he's working on, plate discipline," said Staten Island manager Pat McMahon, "and we're working very hard on that aspect and part of his game."

This entire process of becoming acclimated to professional baseball is a lot for Lyon. But he isn't putting pressure on himself to perform at the plate or in the field.

He just hopes that the tools he's learning at this level can help to carry him through the Yankee organization all the way to the top.

"He's progressing and doing very well for the ball club," said McMahon. "We're very proud of that. It's part of the process and he'll continue to make those adjustments."

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Pinstripes Plus Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nMike Lyon, a 21-year-old slugging shortstop, doesn't profile as a middle infielder at the professional level. In order get that powerful bat into the lineup the Yankees organization has decided to move him to third base. It's early in his transition, but things are going well despite the ugly Opening Day.
\r\n
\r\n\"I had a tough first game over there,\" Lyon said. \"I made a couple of errors, but I'm working with the coaches here and they know exactly what to expect at third base.
\r\n
\r\n\"Just being able to hear what they have to say about everything, they work with me everyday with different footwork and glove work and everything. I've come pretty accustomed to it right now and hopefully I'll develop into a pretty good defensive third baseman.\"
\r\n
\r\nEven though Lyon was a college shortstop, he is not entirely new to the hot corner. His sophomore year he started 27 games at the position because of a logjam at short. He has also played there during summer leagues for the past three years.
\r\n
\r\n\"I played a lot of summer ball through the past three years after school,\" Lyon explained. \"Usually they overstock on shortstops so I ended up swinging over to third base a lot and some outfield during the summers, so I got a taste of what it's like.\"
\r\n
\r\nLyon has the type of bat organizations find intriguing and once that bat is ready, the Yankees want to make sure he becomes a little more versatile so the team is also having Lyon working at first base as well.
\r\n
\r\n\"They're just looking for whatever the organization needs,\" Lyon said. \"With Alex at third base there isn't much question that they're not going to need a third baseman.
\r\n
\r\n\"They're looking for power at first base and hopefully I can supply that. I'm doing work, but it's new for me over at first base.\"
\r\n
\r\nUnlike third, Lyon has no experience at any level playing first base, so things are progressing more slowly and fans shouldn't expect to see him over there just yet. In the meantime the team is focused on the reason he was drafted - his bat.
\r\n
\r\nAs he makes the jump from college to professional baseball, the two biggest differences are hitting with a wooden bat and facing tougher pitching. Lyon feels that neither of these issues are going to hinder his progress as he tries to move up the ladder to the bigs.
\r\n
\r\n\"During the summer leagues I've been playing using wood,\" he said. \"I swing wood at school every time I'm in the cage, just trying to get work. Both bats you're just trying to get the head of the bat on the ball and even with wood if you get the head on it its the same as metal.
\r\n
\r\n\"It's not really hard of an adjustment if you are a sound hitter and focus on getting that bat on the ball.\"
\r\n
\r\nLyon explains that he expects the tougher pitchers to make him a better hitter as well.
\r\n
\r\n\"When the pitching gets faster and better it makes me keyhole a little bit more,\" he said. \"It makes me stop swinging at pitches out of the zone that were soft because I knew I could hit them, whereas now it's got to be in that little zone, that little box where I know I can drive it. It's going to make me become a better hitter.\"
\r\n
\r\nAs he adjusts to the professional pitching, the Yankees are working with him to make him a more well-rounded hitter. At the same time, they are not willing to sacrifice his powerful bat. So right now they are looking for a happy medium.
\r\n
\r\n\"We're going to try to utilize his power as much as we can,\" said Ty Hawkins, hitting coach for Staten Island. \"That's one of his strengths so we definitely don't want to take that away from him. We're going to try to build on that.\"
\r\n
\r\nThe team has some ideas in mind for his swing. As per organization policy they have not attempted to adjust his swing yet, but once they begin Hawkins has some ideas in mind.
\r\n
\r\n\"His swing can get a little long so we're just going to try to shorten it up a little bit,\" Hawkins said. \"We would also like to see him be a little more consistent with the lower-half of his body.\"
\r\n
\r\nPart of the work they are doing with him to build on his power is to help cut down on his strikeout total. In his four years at school, Lyon had nearly three times as many strikeouts as walks and the Yankees would like to see the exact opposite of that.
\r\n
\r\n\"That's something he's working on, plate discipline,\" said Staten Island manager Pat McMahon, \"and we're working very hard on that aspect and part of his game.\"
\r\n
\r\nThis entire process of becoming acclimated to professional baseball is a lot for Lyon. But he isn't putting pressure on himself to perform at the plate or in the field.
\r\n
\r\nHe just hopes that the tools he's learning at this level can help to carry him through the Yankee organization all the way to the top.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's progressing and doing very well for the ball club,\" said McMahon. \"We're very proud of that. It's part of the process and he'll continue to make those adjustments.\"
\r\n
\r\n

\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n\r\n
\r\n

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\r\n

\r\n

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