Hilligoss Making No Excuses

Mitch Hilligoss went from setting the South Atlantic League hit streak record and finishing in the top ten in hitting a year ago to having one of the most disappointing seasons in the Florida State League this year. He's making no excuses for his poor showing and he wants to come back next year and prove his 2008 season was just a fluke.

"It was disappointing," Mitch Hilligoss said of his year in the Florida State League, "I know that, first and foremost. You hope to maybe turn some heads every year and I don't think I did that. I turned them the wrong way maybe.

"It happens, I know that. I have to go out next year and try to prove myself. I can't worry about what the organization does and that kind of stuff. I didn't take care of what I needed to take care of. From that standpoint it was disappointing."

Setting a South Atlantic League record with a 38-game hit streak last year and finishing the season with a .310 batting average, Hilligoss says he never got comfortable this season and wound up hitting just .241 for the Tampa Yankees.

"I can't point to one thing or another," he tried to explain what went wrong. "It seemed like every week it was something else and it really was until about two or three weeks left in the season when I started to feel I was swinging better, which was a little late by then."

His longest hit streak was just seven games [between June 17th and June 27th] this past season, some 31 games shorter than his season-high of a year ago.

The good news was, however, he never went hitless for more than three consecutive games in Tampa and despite hitting 69 points lower he says plate discipline wasn't the problem this year.

"It may sound crazy but I think I had better plate discipline this year than I've had in the past," Hilligoss opined. "I know maybe the walks didn't show it, but like J-Row [Yankees hitting coordinator James Rowson] talks to us all the time about - good hitters get walks.

"I wasn't a very good hitter for the most part this year so they didn't have to walk me. They could go right at me and I would make myself get out. I think that was some of it. I got myself out.

"Whether it was a case of getting a strike early in the count, I swung, but I rolled over way too much. That was the main problem. They could come right at me and I was a double-play waiting to happen for most of the year."

Having a double-digit walk total in July shows his plate discipline was still pretty good. Perhaps the problem was his pitch recognition?

"Not really," he said. "It seemed no matter what pitch they were throwing me I was rolling over. I didn't think it was pitch selection as much.

"I think they could pitch to me because I wasn't hitting well and they knew they could come after me and get me out, and I'd get myself out."

While Hilligoss can't point to one exact explanation for his sub-standard hitting, he says the biggest reason he believes he rolled over so much was his inconsistency staying back on pitches, coming off of his back side too frequently, and never truly feeling comfortable at any point this season.

"The whole year was pretty much the same way, I never felt real comfortable - Spring Training or anytime," he admitted. "I never got to where I felt good, I don't know why. It's just the way it went all year. I've never experienced that so it's a first for me.

"Hopefully it was a fluke. I'm sure it was frustrating for the organization and for Luis [Sojo], he had to throw me out there everyday and have to watch that. Hopefully it was just a fluke and it'll be fixed next year over the winter."

Not scheduled to play in either the Instructional League or in any of the winter leagues this offseason, he believes the best thing to do is to take some time off from the game and start fresh next season.

"I'm not panicking," he calmly said. "I talked to Colby [Charleston hitting coach Greg Colbrunn] and he told me take some time off, relax, and don't worry about baseball because it's still there."

"I'm confident. I think I can still do it. Every time you look at .241, you cringe at that thought of it. I still think I'm a better hitter than that.

"No matter what anybody says, I know I'm a better hitter than that. That's a personal opinion and you still have to have the confidence. It's a learning experience to go through the turmoil and everything else.

"I've got to work my butt off and get back to Spring Training, do what I can do and open some eyes, and show them I'm ready to go."

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\r\n \r\n\r\n\"It was disappointing,\" Mitch Hilligoss said of his year in the Florida State League, \"I know that, first and foremost. You hope to maybe turn some heads every year and I don't think I did that. I turned them the wrong way maybe.
\r\n
\r\n\"It happens, I know that. I have to go out next year and try to prove myself. I can't worry about what the organization does and that kind of stuff. I didn't take care of what I needed to take care of. From that standpoint it was disappointing.\"
\r\n
\r\nSetting a South Atlantic League record with a 38-game hit streak last year and finishing the season with a .310 batting average, Hilligoss says he never got comfortable this season and wound up hitting just .241 for the Tampa Yankees.
\r\n
\r\n\"I can't point to one thing or another,\" he tried to explain what went wrong. \"It seemed like every week it was something else and it really was until about two or three weeks left in the season when I started to feel I was swinging better, which was a little late by then.\"
\r\n
\r\nHis longest hit streak was just seven games [between June 17th and June 27th] this past season, some 31 games shorter than his season-high of a year ago.
\r\n
\r\nThe good news was, however, he never went hitless for more than three consecutive games in Tampa and despite hitting 69 points lower he says plate discipline wasn't the problem this year.
\r\n
\r\n\"It may sound crazy but I think I had better plate discipline this year than I've had in the past,\" Hilligoss opined. \"I know maybe the walks didn't show it, but like J-Row [Yankees hitting coordinator James Rowson] talks to us all the time about - good hitters get walks.
\r\n
\r\n\"I wasn't a very good hitter for the most part this year so they didn't have to walk me. They could go right at me and I would make myself get out. I think that was some of it. I got myself out.
\r\n
\r\n\"Whether it was a case of getting a strike early in the count, I swung, but I rolled over way too much. That was the main problem. They could come right at me and I was a double-play waiting to happen for most of the year.\"
\r\n
\r\nHaving a double-digit walk total in July shows his plate discipline was still pretty good. Perhaps the problem was his pitch recognition?
\r\n
\r\n\"Not really,\" he said. \"It seemed no matter what pitch they were throwing me I was rolling over. I didn't think it was pitch selection as much.
\r\n
\r\n\"I think they could pitch to me because I wasn't hitting well and they knew they could come after me and get me out, and I'd get myself out.\"
\r\n
\r\nWhile Hilligoss can't point to one exact explanation for his sub-standard hitting, he says the biggest reason he believes he rolled over so much was his inconsistency staying back on pitches, coming off of his back side too frequently, and never truly feeling comfortable at any point this season.
\r\n
\r\n\"The whole year was pretty much the same way, I never felt real comfortable - Spring Training or anytime,\" he admitted. \"I never got to where I felt good, I don't know why. It's just the way it went all year. I've never experienced that so it's a first for me.
\r\n
\r\n\"Hopefully it was a fluke. I'm sure it was frustrating for the organization and for Luis [Sojo], he had to throw me out there everyday and have to watch that. Hopefully it was just a fluke and it'll be fixed next year over the winter.\"
\r\n
\r\nNot scheduled to play in either the Instructional League or in any of the winter leagues this offseason, he believes the best thing to do is to take some time off from the game and start fresh next season.
\r\n
\r\n\"I'm not panicking,\" he calmly said. \"I talked to Colby [Charleston hitting coach Greg Colbrunn] and he told me take some time off, relax, and don't worry about baseball because it's still there.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"I'm confident. I think I can still do it. Every time you look at .241, you cringe at that thought of it. I still think I'm a better hitter than that.
\r\n
\r\n\"No matter what anybody says, I know I'm a better hitter than that. That's a personal opinion and you still have to have the confidence. It's a learning experience to go through the turmoil and everything else.
\r\n
\r\n\"I've got to work my butt off and get back to Spring Training, do what I can do and open some eyes, and show them I'm ready to go.\"
\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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