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  • Writer's pictureSteve Potter

12/16/23 : This and That

High Performance Camps :

Plans are that over 100 players will return to the Clearwater and Dominican complexes on January 8th to participate in dual five week strength and conditioning camps with some baseball activities as well.  Included in the number are players continuing or beginning their rehab assignments who are working back from injuries, they will be training separately from the HP camp in their rehab efforts.  The camps will run concurrently as did the fall High Performance Camps.  It’s part of an ongoing emphasis and strategy to align the two complexes in training protocols.

The Roster Numbers :

As I mentioned before the stateside minor league roster allowance has been reduced by MLB and is in effect now for the coming season. The off season roster size has decreased from 190 to 175 while the in season (begins with the opening of AAA level play) totals go from 180 to 165.  The off-season rosters don’t include players who are on the 40 man major league roster but the in-season totals will include the 14 forty man roster players who are optioned to the minor leagues.  Once the season starts players who are placed on the 60 day or full season injured lists do not count towards the allowance however they are counted in the off-season tallies.  It’s an elimination of 450 minor league player jobs.

Playing into the Mid Thirties :

Generalizations drive me bonkers, especially some of those used in baseball.  Concerns about players productivity in their mid to late thirties is an example.  Did ya know that Steve Carlton averaged 260 innings per season from ages 35 to 39 and had a 88-47 record with a 2.90 ERA during that span.  Or that Hank Aaron hit 203 home runs and drove in 506 runs from playing age 35 to 39.  Or that Nolan Ryan pitched 1,039 innings and posted 1,028 strikeouts from age 35 to 39, he pitched effectively till he retired at the age of 46.  Outfielder Raul Ibanez hit 114 home runs and drove in 475 runs spanning his age 35 to 39 seasons.  My point is that every athlete is unique and using these players as examples coupled with today’s advanced training and recovery methods there are realistic expectations that premiere athletes like Trea Turner, Bryce Harper, Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler can excel playing at the least into their upper thirties, it’s not as if it’s not been done before.

Hitting, Biomechanics, Labs and Data :

The Phillies announced the hiring of Dustin Lind as Assistant Major League Hitting Coach at the winter meetings.  Dustin is a graduate of the University of Montana’s School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science and is a doctor of physical therapy.  Just a year after earning his doctorate, he found himself working in pro baseball.

The now 34 year old former collegiate baseball player was working as a physical therapist and strength coach in Montana while also doing part time hitting instruction when Andy McKay (Assistant GM and Director of Player Development) of the Seattle Mariners reached out to him.  Lind was coaching players remotely at the time and McKay had heard good things.  He hired Dustin in 2018 to work in multiple areas of the Mariners minor league organization (rehab, conditioning and hitting).  Lind studied new adaptations of hitting technology and in his second year with the organization was promoted to oversee minor league hitting development while also being involved with scouting, player acquisition and the high performance team.  In 2020 he was hired by the San Francisco Giants under Gabe Kapler to be their Major League Director of Hitting and Assistant Hitting Coach blending his knowledge of biomechanics, conditioning, data review and teaching.   He was one of three major league staff hitting coaches with the Giants as he will be with the Phillies working for hitting coach Kevin Long and alongside also newly hired Assistant Hitting Coach Rafael Pena.

With the introduction of new tech hitting labs last season the organization continues to progress in the use of science, data and their application to helping players do the hardest thing in sports - hitting a baseball.  Lind’s non-traditional path to the major leagues also is both encouraging and intriguing, he’s an example of passion for the game and unique qualities/knowledge being recognized.   To me that’s really good stuff!  Just sayin.

Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️

Workout Scenes from Fall High Performance Camp

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