There are a lot of marquee names in Charleston this season, young prospects that the Yankees are invested in to continue the success of the franchise.
Flying under the radar this season, however, is Dave Williams who, while not running away with the batting title, has been nothing short of dependable for the Riverdogs this season.
Williams was selected in the fifteenth round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft out of Rutgers University and played last season with Short-Season Staten Island. He hit .276 last season and was looking forward to playing a full season with Riverdogs this year.
"I think it is all about getting a full season under your belt," said Williams. "This year, going to my first Spring Training and going through the whole grind now is a learning experience in itself."
The first half of the 2008 Riverdogs season has been yet another learning experience for the right fielder, as the Yankees have tinkered with Williams' swing. While he has been very receptive to the changes, it has caused his numbers to fluctuate.
"I started out pretty well and then I kind of got into a slump and it's been a battle, so it's been a matter of getting to know myself as a hitter. It has taught me to be more mentally tough," added Williams.
"[Riverdogs hitting coach Greg] Colbrunn has helped me out a lot and we're working through some things right now."
Coach Colbrunn is very direct when it comes to Williams' first half and why the team felt he needed some changes in his approach.
"He started out really well but then he had a three week stretch where he didn't swing the bat really well and it gave us an opportunity to break down his mechanics and make some adjustments," said Colbrunn. "He's put himself in a much better position, mechanically, to take advantage of his power on a consistent basis."
To put Colbrunn's statement in perspective, Williams has one of the Riverdogs' two Grand Slams this season as well as seven multi-RBI games and fifteen multi-hit games.
When asked about what he needed to improve upon as the first half has come to a close, Williams responds with what may very well be the Riverdogs' motto: consistency.
"I think I need to get more consistent at the plate and get better as an all-around player," he said. "That's the goal of the organization to get us better in every facet of the game and I'm on board with that."
Coach Colbrunn again expands on Williams' need for consistency and how he is approaching the changes he needs to make, citing that he's ready to play and just needs to fully embrace the adjustments and play like he has all his life.
"It's nothing major and he's taken to it. It took a stretch for him to adjust but he's a competitor and sometimes he takes a step backward, like he did in the month of May," added Colbrunn. "But since that point he's taken to the adjustments and we expect him to just take off."
As the second half of the season gets underway, the New Jersey native merely wants to turn over a new leaf. Simple and succinct, Williams is forthcoming about his plans for the remainder of the season.
"Personally, I just want to have a way better second half than the first, both offensively and defensively," he said.
Coach Colbrunn believes its just matter of routine and confidence when it comes to Williams' work in the second half, noting that he has taken to the changes but needs to completely trust his own ability and get into a routine of believing in his potential.
"I think he's gotten into the changes and he just needs to trust it when he sees the results in batting practice and take it onto the field with him, then he will have more success on a more consistent basis."
Williams Taking To The Changes
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