Friday, April 15, 2016

Top Pick Randolph not discouraged by slow start

"C" Randolph, Image- Jay Floyd
After starting the season with some struggles at the plate for the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws, last year's top Phillies draft pick Cornelius Randolph has maintained a positive approach.

Fresh off a season-opening road trip that saw the 18-year-old go 2-for-28 (.071 avg) in six contests, the young man that goes by the nickname "C" was anxiously awaiting the moment when he would start shaking off some bad luck at the plate and seeing his efforts pay off.

"In the box I feel good.  I mean, I'm seeing pitches early.  I'm taking good swings, I'm just not getting the results I want.  That's part of baseball.  It's gonna happen.  I'm not too much worried about it," Randolph stated in the home dugout at Lakewood's FirstEnergy Park prior to Thursday's home opener.

After debuting as a pro last year, the five-foot-11 205-pound lefty batter looked sharp with the rookie level Gulf Coast League Phillies.  In 53 games, Randolph posted a .302 batting average with 15 doubles, three triples, a home run and 24 RBI.

Manager Shawn Williams, who is entering his second season at the helm for the BlueClaws, is confident the Georgia native will soon show BlueClaws fans the skill set that made him the tenth overall pick in last year's amateur draft.

"The bat speed is there and that's what's impressive (about him). The things I have seen- guys with really good fastballs, which is hard to do, he'll turn it right around on them.  For me, that tool, it's hard to really teach hitting and you can't teach bat speed and he's got the ability to hit.

"For me, he's exciting just watching him hit.  He's done a fine job defensively.  He can run a little bit.  He can steal a base.  He has instincts.  He knows how to steal a base.  So it's kind of looking forward to him getting going and seeing the full package," Williams stated.

With the BlueClaws taking on Greensboro in their home opener on Thursday night, Randolph looked comfortable at the plate, going 1-for-2 with a double and two RBI while drawing three walks.

Did he feel pressure to turn things around?

"None at all, honestly.  I know it's going to happen, so I'm not really stressed and I'm just trying to barrel the ball up right now," Randolph said.

He'll continue to put bat to ball throughout the weekend, as the BlueClaws host Greensboro for three more games (Friday at 7:05pm, Saturday at 4:05pm, Sunday at 1:05pm).  Tickets for each contest are just $1 each.

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