1,800 miles, 2 days, 4 Redbulls, and a charged I-pod later, I’ve finally arrived in Arizona. It’s been a long journey to get to this point but it’s been a great one at that. A couple weeks ago I thought my first full season had finally ended as the Akron Aeros
failed to make a late push for the playoffs. A week later I was called up to Triple AAA to help out the eventual International League Champions Columbus Clippers
. What a great experience for me to have. Now I’ve been fortunate enough to be invited to the Arizona Fall League and I couldn’t be more excited. This will be a fun test to see where I stand against the other top players in the minor leagues and another opportunity to learn the game.
This year has been my first full season in professional baseball. I’ve been an outfielder for most of my career but the Cleveland Indians decided to see if my future lies at second base. So far it’s been an interesting transition, but a fun one. There are numerous responsibilities that the infielders have that the outfielders don’t. You have to know where you’re going if the ball is not hit to you, or what bag to cover or where to throw the ball to in certain situations. I consider myself privileged to be able to learn the game from a different point of view but it hasn’t come easy. I’ll admit, I was almost opposed to the idea at first but it’s really started to grow on me. Like any player would, I thought the change meant I wasn’t skilled enough to stay in the outfield. I loved fly balls in the outfield…They never take any bad hops! So once I started to realize that the switch could be beneficial to me and might be my ticket to move up the ladder, I got to work. It’s hard learning a new position all over again, especially at a higher level. It’s a work in progress right now but I feel it’s coming along well and I’ll be able to handle my own there in no time.
The Arizona Fall League brings a bunch of great opportunities to me. I get the chance to learn from great players, watch how they approach the game. I get to face the highest level of competition to this point, which is always something any true player wants. I get to further my development not only as an infielder and hitter, but as a all-around player and person. Those are only a couple of the reasons and for that I am honored to be a part of this league and cannot wait for it to get started. I’ll be mixing in with guys like Dustin Ackley at second base, and if that weren’t enough, to help rosters out, I might even see some innings at third base in the first week. Dustin and I have drawn a lot of comparisons to each other but there is no bad blood between us. Since day one, we’ve talked nothing but baseball from the time we’re at the field, til the time we leave. It’s great to be able to bounce ideas off each other or helpful tips. It’ll be also nice to have someone there to push me if I ever get lazy. If I see him taking extra groundballs, I know I should be doing the same. Games start tomorrow so It’ll be kinda cool to finally put on a Cleveland uniform for the first time. It’s one I’ll wear proudly and will hopefully represent the organization to the best of my ability.
That’s all from me for now. Need to rest up for Game 1 tomorrow. This is a shout out to all of the Peoria natives and Sundevil fans out there to come cheer us on in Peoria. If there’s nothing going on, come check out a ballgame and see some great players competing.