It’s as if Pawtucket’s Garin Cecchini is pulling a page from the Nietzsche playbook, living his baseball life under the notion that “that which does not kill us, makes us stronger.”
In experiencing the first slump of his career, the 23-year-old feels that the bumpy road that is his 2014 season can only benefit him in the long run.
“Numbers are what they are,” said Cecchini who is hitting .253 in his first stint at the Triple-A level. “From when I was here in April, never going through a struggle before in my whole career, it’s good that it’s happening because when I get to the big leagues I’m not going to hit .350 every single week.
“The best [players] hit struggles. Mike Trout struggles, but Mike Trout’s struggles are a week, they’re not two months like mine was. I need to learn how to get through this. It’s good for me because I know I can hit. Hitters hit, so I’m not worried about that.”
Cecchini did hit right out of the gate, putting up a .312 batting average and driving in 13 runs in the first month of the season.
Then the wheels started coming off, a .253 May gave way to a .205 June and eventually a .188 July.
By his own admission he was in his head too much, not accustomed to dealing with this type of a slump, he figured there was an issue with his swing and tried to attack the problem there.
“I was saying “Man, there’s something wrong with my swing,”” said Cecchini. “Nothing was wrong with my swing. The pitchers are good, they’re trying to put food on the table too, so sometimes you’ve got to tip your cap to the pitchers. Sometimes you got to self-evaluate and say “Was I swinging at the right pitchers?” because for me I wasn’t evaluating that way.”
“[He had a] hot start, now everybody knows who he is,” said Pawtucket manager Kevin Boles. “You see the adjustments with how these pitchers attack, you see the pitch plans change throughout the season.”
In re-adjusting back to the hitter he knew he was, Cecchini has cleared a major mental hurdle that all players in this game much attack at one point or another.
He is back in a comfort zone, hitting .316 with 15 RBIs in August, and more importantly he has regained any confidence that he may have dropped along the way.
“You’ve got to keep in mind that you belong here and keep things in perspective that you’re playing a game,” said Cecchini. “I’m not going to lie, it takes a mental task on you. I’m a confident person and I think that only happened like two days.
“I’m fine, I know I can hit. I’ll be back.”
Rafael Devers – On Tuesday the young third baseman snapped an 0-for-16 stretch with a 2-for-3 performance. The slump consisted for four straight games without a hit. Prior to that, Devers had only gone hitless in eight of the 58 games he had played in and never had he gone 0fer in back-to-back games.
Squeezing the system
Pawtucket (AAA) – In his last nine appearances, Cuban reliever Dalier Hinojosa is 3-0 with a 1.08 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and 18 strikeouts over 16 2/3 innings. Over his first 18 appearances this season he had gone 0-4 with a 5.47 ERA, but in the last 19 times through the bull pen door he has a 2.48 ERA with 34 Ks in 29 innings.
Portland (AA) – Outfielder Keury De La Cruz was named Eastern League Offensive Player of the Week after batting .550 with two home runs, 2 doubles, 3 RBIs, 4 walks and a stolen base in six games. He has now hit safely in six straight and is batting .361 over his last 20 games…on Tuesday, the Sea Dogs became the first team in the Eastern Division to clinch a playoff berth following a 5-4 win over Harrisburg. It will be the team’s first postseason since 2008.
Salem (A+) – The recently promoted Manuel Margot had a tough debut at the next level, but has rebounded nicely. After going 0-for-4 with 2 strikeouts last Friday, the 19-year-old outfielder has gone 8-for-13 with 2 home runs, 7 RBIs and 3 runs.
Greenville (A) – Cole Sturgeon is hitting .333 in 17 August games. A 10th round selection this past June, he has collected his first two professional home runs during the month, driving in 9 and scoring 15 times.
Lowell (Short Season A) – Over his last ten game shortstop Mauricio Dubon is hitting .452 with 4 RBIs and 6 runs. Half of those games were multi-hit efforts and on the season Dubon now has 20 games with two or more hits. However, only ten of his 62 hits on the year have be
Gulf Coast (Rookie) – After starting his career with two hits in his first 11 games, first-rounder Michael Chavis has found his stroke. In his last 20 games he is hitting .344 with 6 doubles, 8 RBIs and 12 runs. Chavis has also been successful in his last three steal attempts.
Dominican (Rookie) – The Dominican Sox hold a four game lead with four to play heading into Wednesday. Reliever Jarvis Torrealba pitched four scoreless innings on Tuesday, running his streak without allowing an earned run to 16 innings.