action:article | category:SPORTS16 | adString:SPORTS16 | zoneID:40

Home » Sports » Sports Columns

April 10. 2013 5:49PM

Kevin Gray's On Baseball: Making adjustments

TODAY'S professional baseball managers have enough data and video on players to fill up a social network. They have a field staff, minor-league roving coaches, coordinators and hands-on helpers around every corner.

While those resources are an important part of player development, they should not get in the way of allowing players to - get this - play the game.

"With all the stuff we have going on and (stats), sometimes that's the best answer. Keep it simple," first-year Fisher Cats manager Gary Allenson said on Wednesday as the Fisher Cats wrapped up the homestand, defeating Trenton, 6-3. "There are going to be times when you have a prospect and there's a situation when you might want to pinch-hit for the kid, but how's he going to learn how to hit if you do that?"

Allenson pointed to the case of Red Sox No. 1 pick Greg Blosser, selected 16th overall in the 1989 draft. Blosser, a lefty hitter, had trouble against southpaws while playing for Allenson at Double-A New Britain in 1991. The manager kept penning Blosser's name on the lineup card even when it lessened the team's chances of winning.

"As a hitter, you need to learn how to make adjustments. Same thing for pitchers. Too many times they are looking for help when they need to learn for themselves how to work out of jams," said Allenson, who played six seasons with the Red Sox and one season with the Blue Jays in 1985.

In the fifth inning, the manager gave starting pitcher Marcus Walden some wiggle room, keeping him on the mound after giving up back-to-back hits and tossing his 80th pitch. Walden walked the next batter, Tyler Austin, before Allenson called in Matt Wright from the bullpen. Wright gave up a single and an inherited runner scored, but he put out the fire, creating a happy ending for everyone involved.

Since the Fisher Cats arrived in 2004, we have watched a delicate balance between winning and player development. The first-ever manager Mike Basso guided the Fisher Cats to an Eastern League championship by rolling out the baseballs - at least it seemed - and letting them play.

Basso rarely ever pinch-hit for players, and he allowed a previously unknown lefty named Gustavo Chacin to work deep into games. Chacin won 16 games for the Fisher Cats and finished the season with the Blue Jays, along with righty Brandon League.

Allenson has been told by Toronto management to keep specific position players within the top six spots in the batting order. He declined to name those players, but they are most likely Kenny Wilson, Kevin Pillar, Ryan Schimpf and perhaps one more. Those are the so-called "priority" players on the roster.

They have a high ceiling, according to the Toronto brass, and they will have every opportunity to reach the majors. The manager, however, must squeeze every ounce of talent from all 23 men on the roster.

"You can make yourself a priority guy," Allenson said. "I started out in Triple-A (Pawtucket) in 1978, batting eighth, and five weeks into the season I was batting third. You never know. That priority stuff can be overrated."

______
ERROR WATCH: The Fisher Cats already have committed 13 errors, including a franchise record-tying five Es in a loss against Reading. In the series finale, the Fisher Cats were cruising with a 5-2 lead until a John Tolisano throwing error opened the door for Trenton, which scored an unearned run against Clint Everts.


______
WHAT'S NEXT: The Fisher Cats hit the road for a seven-game road trip beginning at Binghamton tonight. Righty Deck McGuire (0-1, 5.79 ERA) takes the mound for his 33rd career start for NH.


 NH Sports Angle Ľ more
Links to news and happenings around the world of sports with a Granite State connection, updated daily.

NASCAR: Logano interview makes UNH writerís dream come true

Nashua's Fayne moves from Devils to Oilers

Granite State Pro Stock Series to make debut at Lee Speedway

BRIAN McCLOSKEY

Ex-UNH hockey coach indicted on four charges

Growing up a hazard to golf: Real world claims talent from NHGA

Concord man wins National Javelin Championship at 2014 USA Track & Field Masters Championship

Conway's Locke happy with first half, believes best yet to come for Pirates

Court filing details prosecution's perjury allegations against Aaron Hernandez girlfriend

Is N.H. really home to longest mini golf hole on the planet?

Professional hockey coming to Berlin

van Riemsdyk setting high expectations for pro career

Life changes in an instant: Travis Roy shares story at Frank Monahan Foundation event

Improvements help, but traffic still a problem on race weekend in and around Loudon

Itís show time in Chicago for Dartmouthís Hendricks

State sells Windham golf course site for $3.06M

Ex-minor leaguers sue MLB over low salaries

$14M to beaten Giants fan returns security focus

Matt Bonner and brother bring rock show back to Redhook

GM: Twin State Speedway progressing with revival

Foot golf arrives on Seacoast

New Hampshire's Burns gets more than he could ever ask for

Pro runner's yoga class will raise money for clean Kenyan water

Menard wrecks as New Hampshire testing concludes

Lawyers try to bar Patriots from paying Hernandez $3.2M bonus

Pease Golf Course celebrates opening of lower nine holes

MORE

 New Hampshire Events Calendar
    

   Ľ SHARE EVENTS FOR PUBLICATION, IT'S FREE!

Upcoming Events

 New Hampshire Business Directory

  

   Ľ ADD YOUR BUSINESS TODAY!