After managing the last three seasons at Double-A Bowie, Brad Komminsk will work in a new role for the Orioles during the 2011 season: hitting coach for Triple-A Norfolk.
What will be some keys for him in this role?
"I think egos and stuff and getting guys to trust you," Komminsk said. "Hitters can be fragile and they have everybody in their ear. Every player is a hitting coach and every parent is a coach, every fan they have to deal with so much.They hear a lot of stuff from a lot of different people."
Komminsk is a believer in teaching his hitters to work counts, but said not everyone can do that.
"There is a fine line. Some organizations really push to see a lot of pitches. In the same token, sometimes strike one might be the best thing you see all night. But overall, the more pitches you see and get into the bullpen, it's what it's all about these days. There is that fine line. Some people just can't do it or don't have the confidence to do it. (Nick) Markakis, he's not afraid to ever go 0-2. He's not afraid to take as many pitches as he needs to.
"Usually, there is x-amount of guys that will go deep in the count, but others who never seem to go deep. I believe in making the pitcher throw pitches, but also sometimes in jumping on a first-pitch fastball right down the middle."
Komminsk said players that did a good job at working the count last year in Bowie included Paco Figueroa, Danny Figueroa, Tyler Henson, Ryan Adams and Joe Mahoney.
Here is Komminsk's take on some of the hitters he had last year in Bowie and their approach at the plate.
"The kid can hit without question. I think he had his best year ever. He used the whole field and can drive the ball from gap to gap. As long as he stays with that approach, he'll be fine."
"No. 1, the strikeouts are a huge red flag. He gave up some at-bats. If you go down swinging real aggressive, that is one thing, but a lot of times it seemed like he struck out almost giving up. I think he needs a better two-strike approach and bear down. If he strikes out really battling, that's OK, but I don't think he did enough of that."
"Joe has a good eye. Sometimes his lower half gets out of synch a little bit. I think that is an issue some, staying tall on your backside and getting down through the ball. When he does that, he's pretty good."
"Also needs some work on two-strike approach. He can drive the ball to all fields, right-center as well as left-center. When he doesn't see the ball, he gets in mini funks, where he can get totally out of synch. He needs to get out of them quickly. Sometimes it takes him a week or so, which is too long."
"I think his biggest thing is he tried to pull the ball way too much. His backside collapses and he gets under the ball too much. When he goes gap to gap, he has a chance. Sometimes, he was dead pull down the line. He needs to believe that's what he has to do He was stubborn at times."