A lot of fans have been asking about Mychal Givens, the shortstop that the Orioles drafted in the second round, with the 54th overall selection, last June out of Plant High in Florida.
Givens turned 20 a week ago today and continues to play every day at extended spring training. He is expected to play for a short-season O’s affiliate when they begin play next month.
Gary Kendall, who will manage again this year at Aberdeen, is heading up the staff at extended spring training in Florida and here is his take on Givens.
“He is progressing really good down here. He’s learning more about shortstop and learning how to play the game, being a high school player and after getting a taste of the Gulf Coast League last year.
“When he didn’t make the Delmarva club (in April), he handled that very professionally. He knew he had some work to do, some on defense and some on game situations on offense. He’s done very well with the bat and glove.
“He’s doing a lot of good things on defense and learning the position at the professional level where the game is a little faster. He’s getting in a lot of games here.
“He’s showing the tools that the scouting department thought he had with his arm strength, making good decisions and turning double plays. All facets of the game he’s making good strides.
“It’s very hot here and to go out with his intensity every day is a plus. He’s done very well.”
I asked Kendall what Givens needs to keep working on and improving on.
“Consistency at shortstop. If he makes an error down here it’s sometimes on a play where he doesn’t set his feet. He may lay back on the ball and rush with his hands and bobble the ball for an error.
“So it’s just consistency. He’s got the tools, soft hands and a good strong arm. On the basepaths, making good decisions based on the scoreboard, when to go first to third. His secondary leads and his setup on stealing second base.
“(Coach) Butch Davis worked with him a lot down here on his setup stealing and getting leads at first base.
“As far as batting, he’s not getting fooled at the plate. His knowledge of the strike zone is pretty good. The biggest thing is recognizing an off speed pitch from a fastball and staying back in a good position to hit.”
Kendall reports that pitcher Luis Noel recently left extended spring to join the Delmarva club, although he has not been activated yet.
There are 45 pitchers and 33 position players at extended where they will continue to play games until June 11th.