Detroit Tigers hitting coach Joe Vavra has a message for struggling batters

The Detroit Tigers have fallen on hard times, having dropped 12 of their past 16 games and all but officially falling out of the playoff race.

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And while there are a handful of players who are struggling offensively (namely rookies Daz Cameron Isaac Paredes), hitting coach Joe Vavra is keeping things positive.

“I don’t like to see failure,” he said. “I don’t like to see kids fail. I like to see them do great things.”

“If you tell a young player nine positives and one negative, he’s going to remember the negative,” Vavra said. “That’s why, when they’re competing out there right now, you try to stay away from all the negative stuff and continuously stay positive. Because you know if there’s that one little thing that you mention that sticks in their mind, they’ll go up to the plate with it.”

Of course, there’s a natural learning curve for rookies entering the majors. Some are able to adjust quickly, while others take longer to adapt to their new reality. But Vavra is preaching patience, with the good results sure to follow.

“The pitching up here is completely different than anything they’ve seen,” he said. “It’s more precise. They locate the pitch that much better and they can set them up. So the mind spins. It’s hard to stay with the plan that they set out before they went to the batter’s box. One pitch can take them out of their plan. They have tendency to stay on that last pitch. Maybe it’s a fastball inside and it got them excited. That’s the pitcher’s intent, to get him off the outside corner or vice versa.

“Their minds are just continuously churning and you can’t really slow that down. But you go to work the next day with a positive attitude. You stay with it and sooner or later it’s going to win out.”

The fact that the 2020 campaign was shortened to 60 games can mitigate some of the struggles younger players go through over the course of a normal 162-game season. And naturally, there will be higher levels of pressure to break out of slumps, especially when every game means so much in a shortened schedule.

“I don’t want to use the word panic, but there’s a little bit more pressure to get it done in a hurry,” he said. “Over 162 games and five-plus months, you don’t have to get off to a rock-solid start. You have time to recover. The veterans understand that their numbers are going to be where they need to be at the end of the year, so they don’t panic.”

– – Quotes via Evan Woodbery of MLive Link – –

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