Sunday, July 14, 2019

PhoulBallz Interview: Lakewood hitting coach Christian Marrero

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Marchan and Marrero, image- Jay Floyd
The Class A Lakewood BlueClaws are among the weakest offenses in the South Atlantic League. Overall, at the time of this writing, the team ranks last in the league in runs scored at 301 (29 runs fewer than the next closest team). The club also sits last in hits, batting average and OPS.

This week I talked with Lakewood's hitting coach and former Phillies minor leaguer Christian Marrero. He offered his thoughts on several of Lakewood's standout names including catcher Rafael Marchan, middle infielders Jonathan Guzman and Luis Garcia as well as outfielder Malvin Matos, plus his thoughts on the lineup's overall struggles.

Read ahead for that full, brief interview.


-Rafael Marchan has been solid of late. He notched three separate three-hits games recently and has been as consistent as anyone of late, batting over .400 this month. Can you share some thoughts on him?

Marchan, he’s progressed offensively and defensively. Right now, on both sides of the plate, his approach has gotten a lot better. Swinging the bat a lot better.

-What strides have you seen him take? What’s different for him between spring and now?

Just his approach at the plate. He’s getting smarter. He knows how pitchers are attacking him. He’s making adjustments in the box and he’s using the middle of the field.

-I don’t mean to imply that it should bother you...but does it bother you, as the hitting coach, when so many guys are struggling to get (above) or stay above .200 with their averages?

You know, you always want everybody doing well. But, for me, I don’t really look at that too much. I just see the quality- if they’re having quality at bats, if they’re progressing throughout the year. I think, right now, from day one almost the whole team has gotten better. And that’s the main thing, is developing these guys and making sure they’re doing the right things on the field.

-Malvin Matos got a little taste with the big club in spring training, gets up there for a game or two and hits a home run. He’s one of those guys having a tough time with the average. What have you seen from him this year?

He’s been up and down, you know, inconsistent, but as of late, you know, his (at bats) are getting better, his approach is getting better. And like I said that we still have a month and a half left and I feel like all these guys are going to finish strong.

-I wanted to also ask about the progress of your middle infielders, so can you share some thoughts about Guzman?

Guzman, from day one, he’s gotten so much better. Defensively, for me, he’s one of the top shortstops that I’ve seen in a while. And his approach in the box, he’s aggressive in the box, and he’s using the middle of the field. He’s learning, he’s learning how pitchers are attacking him and – the same thing- he’s making adjustments in the box. He’s gonna finish strong.

-What have you seen on the other side of the bag, as those guys share time at both shortstop and second base, from Garcia?

Both of them, those guys are unbelievable where ever you put them. Same with him, they’re both young kids. Their (at bats) have gotten so much better. They’re progressing and that’s the main thing with them.

-I've seen you as a player at Double-A and probably Triple-A, so seeing you in the coaching spot still seems new to me. What’s the job like for you this year?

You know, the main thing is just being there for (the players) at all times and we’ve just got to keep them positive. It’s a long year and I’ve got to keep reminding them that’s it’s an everyday grind and it’s not how you start, but it’s how you finish.

-How much do you enjoy the role?

Oh, I love it! It’s a lot of young kids. They keep me energized. They give me energy and I’m having fun.

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