Adjustment Period For Grote

Every baseball player deals with a period of adjustments during their first year in professional ball, but typically they like to avoid the types of seasons Taylor Grote has gone through thus far with the Staten Island Yankees.

Early this season Taylor Grote looked lost at the plate, swinging at nearly every pitch he saw and picking up only a few extra-base hits on the rare pitch he did connect with.

"I was hitting in Extended [Spring Training] and obviously the pitching might be a little bit better here," said Grote, who hit three home runs in the final week of Extended Spring Training to earn a spot on the Staten Island roster.

"But it's not that much better that I should be struggling as much as I am. I think that the problem wasn't only about baseball. I wasn't in there and for a few games things weren't right."

Things weren't just bad at the plate, however, as he struggled in the field too. He failed to catch routine fly balls and he's even managed to botch a few nice plays, including a time when he robbed a home run only to drop it to give the batter extra bases.

"I'm probably just trying to do too much and just thinking too much, trying to overdo everything," Grote explained. "Slowly but surely I'm starting to see the ball better and I've begun to figure a few things out. I've made a few adjustments."

Since being drafted in the eighth round of last year's draft right out of high school, Grote has been assigned to the Staten Island Yankees and at 19-years-old he has been the youngest player on the team and in the league.

"Experience wise these guys have been in a lot more baseball situations than I've ever experienced," Grote said. "And it obviously helps them."

"He can hit," said Staten Island hitting coach Ty Hawkins. "It's just that this is his first full year in professional baseball. After all of last year the only experience he had to draw on was from Extended so this is a time for him to gain experience. He's basically three or four years behind the pitchers in this league."

Playing alongside mostly recently drafted college students, Grote's inexperience has shown to be his greatest weakness, but he is working hard to overcome that. He's been talking to coaches and dealing with his hitting coach on a daily basis.

"It's a learning process for him," Hawkins said. "You can kind of take his numbers and throw them away."

Nothing major has been changed, but he's made a few minor adjustments that have seemed to be paying off. After struggling to keep his average around the .200 mark all season he improved in that category by hitting .263 so far during the month of August.

"Once you start struggling I think it's almost human nature to find a quick fix," said Grote. "In baseball it's the opposite of what you need to do. You've got to slow it down let it come to you instead of going out there and trying to force it to happen."

The biggest problem Grote has been trying to correct are his strikeouts. In his first 100 at bats he struck out a gross 42 times. He's succeeded in bringing down his percentage lately, but has still managed ten strikeouts in his last 38 at-bats.

"Earlier in the year when I was really struggling bad, those strikeouts were coming from chasing stuff and swinging at bad pitches," Grote said. "My strikeouts of late are just normal strike outs that are going to happen. I had a problem where for some reason, I wasn't recognizing the ball for about a week and a half."

Aside from the minor changes to his swing, the biggest thing Grote has worked on is trying to see the ball better. To gain a better advantage with that he has focused on understanding pitch selections better with the idea that if he knows what's coming he'll be able to see it better.

"Obviously putting the ball in play is a key component in hitting and competing pitch by pitch," Staten Island manager Pat McMahon said. "It's about understanding pitching patterns and how he's being pitched. Those are the things Taylor is learning right now."

Grote's young age has been a hindrance to him this season, but it does give him an advantage because he has plenty of time to work out his issues. It's part of the reason why he is so confident that strikeouts will not be an on-going issue.

"I won't be a big strikeout guy," he said emphatically, shaking his head. "I have good hands, real good hands. I've been told by a lot of people that my hands work well and I can do things that a lot of guys can't bat-wise, so I don't think strikeouts will be a recurring thing."

Right now Grote is most looking forward to finishing this season strong and putting this year behind him.

"They haven't told me what the plan is this winter," said Grote. "I would be surprised if they played me in winter ball this year because this is my first full year where I've played in more than 40 games in a year."

He is looking forward to this offseason because it will give him a chance to rest for a bit while he refocuses himself on what he wants to work on next season. He says that time will be essential towards making his next step in his baseball career.

"I think it is something that I need," Grote said about taking time off this winter. "Since signing I've never had a period of time where I've focused on just training and I think that will really help me a lot."

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Pinstripes Plus Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nEarly this season Taylor Grote looked lost at the plate, swinging at nearly every pitch he saw and picking up only a few extra-base hits on the rare pitch he did connect with.
\r\n
\r\n\"I was hitting in Extended [Spring Training] and obviously the pitching might be a little bit better here,\" said Grote, who hit three home runs in the final week of Extended Spring Training to earn a spot on the Staten Island roster.
\r\n
\r\n\"But it's not that much better that I should be struggling as much as I am. I think that the problem wasn't only about baseball. I wasn't in there and for a few games things weren't right.\"
\r\n
\r\nThings weren't just bad at the plate, however, as he struggled in the field too. He failed to catch routine fly balls and he's even managed to botch a few nice plays, including a time when he robbed a home run only to drop it to give the batter extra bases.
\r\n
\r\n\"I'm probably just trying to do too much and just thinking too much, trying to overdo everything,\" Grote explained. \"Slowly but surely I'm starting to see the ball better and I've begun to figure a few things out. I've made a few adjustments.\"
\r\n
\r\nSince being drafted in the eighth round of last year's draft right out of high school, Grote has been assigned to the Staten Island Yankees and at 19-years-old he has been the youngest player on the team and in the league.
\r\n
\r\n\"Experience wise these guys have been in a lot more baseball situations than I've ever experienced,\" Grote said. \"And it obviously helps them.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"He can hit,\" said Staten Island hitting coach Ty Hawkins. \"It's just that this is his first full year in professional baseball. After all of last year the only experience he had to draw on was from Extended so this is a time for him to gain experience. He's basically three or four years behind the pitchers in this league.\"
\r\n
\r\nPlaying alongside mostly recently drafted college students, Grote's inexperience has shown to be his greatest weakness, but he is working hard to overcome that. He's been talking to coaches and dealing with his hitting coach on a daily basis.
\r\n
\r\n\"It's a learning process for him,\" Hawkins said. \"You can kind of take his numbers and throw them away.\"
\r\n
\r\nNothing major has been changed, but he's made a few minor adjustments that have seemed to be paying off. After struggling to keep his average around the .200 mark all season he improved in that category by hitting .263 so far during the month of August.
\r\n
\r\n\"Once you start struggling I think it's almost human nature to find a quick fix,\" said Grote. \"In baseball it's the opposite of what you need to do. You've got to slow it down let it come to you instead of going out there and trying to force it to happen.\"
\r\n
\r\nThe biggest problem Grote has been trying to correct are his strikeouts. In his first 100 at bats he struck out a gross 42 times. He's succeeded in bringing down his percentage lately, but has still managed ten strikeouts in his last 38 at-bats.
\r\n
\r\n\"Earlier in the year when I was really struggling bad, those strikeouts were coming from chasing stuff and swinging at bad pitches,\" Grote said. \"My strikeouts of late are just normal strike outs that are going to happen. I had a problem where for some reason, I wasn't recognizing the ball for about a week and a half.\"
\r\n
\r\nAside from the minor changes to his swing, the biggest thing Grote has worked on is trying to see the ball better. To gain a better advantage with that he has focused on understanding pitch selections better with the idea that if he knows what's coming he'll be able to see it better.
\r\n
\r\n\"Obviously putting the ball in play is a key component in hitting and competing pitch by pitch,\" Staten Island manager Pat McMahon said. \"It's about understanding pitching patterns and how he's being pitched. Those are the things Taylor is learning right now.\"
\r\n
\r\nGrote's young age has been a hindrance to him this season, but it does give him an advantage because he has plenty of time to work out his issues. It's part of the reason why he is so confident that strikeouts will not be an on-going issue.
\r\n
\r\n\"I won't be a big strikeout guy,\" he said emphatically, shaking his head. \"I have good hands, real good hands. I've been told by a lot of people that my hands work well and I can do things that a lot of guys can't bat-wise, so I don't think strikeouts will be a recurring thing.\"
\r\n
\r\nRight now Grote is most looking forward to finishing this season strong and putting this year behind him.
\r\n
\r\n\"They haven't told me what the plan is this winter,\" said Grote. \"I would be surprised if they played me in winter ball this year because this is my first full year where I've played in more than 40 games in a year.\"
\r\n
\r\nHe is looking forward to this offseason because it will give him a chance to rest for a bit while he refocuses himself on what he wants to work on next season. He says that time will be essential towards making his next step in his baseball career.
\r\n
\r\n\"I think it is something that I need,\" Grote said about taking time off this winter. \"Since signing I've never had a period of time where I've focused on just training and I think that will really help me a lot.\"
\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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