DUNEDIN, Fla. – Mitch Nay, a top 10 prospect for the Toronto Blue Jays, is working on bringing his power back into his game.
The team’s first round selection in 2012 hit the ball hard until he reached the professional level. He has displayed his power during batting practice and his high school coach, Mike Woods, described him as a “big power bat third baseman.”
For some reason, Nay has not translated it to games at the professional level yet.
“I think I have a good idea where I was going wrong after last year,” he said. “It is probably more of a mechanical thing. I think part of the deal being in the minor leagues is figuring out what works best for you.”
Since Nay was drafted right out of high school, he has not stayed in one place, or around the same coaches, for a long time.
In 2013, he played in only 64 games for the Bluefield Blue Jays, Toronto’s rookie league affiliation. Nay was called up to the Lansing Lugnuts for the start of the 2014 season before being promoted to the Dunedin Blue Jays.
Even though he finally stayed in one place for an extended time last season, he never really got comfortable, batting .243 and hitting only five home runs in 109 games, while slugging .353.
“I didn’t really feel comfortable at all last year,” said Nay. “I don’t know what it was. I was trying different stuff and nothing seemed to make me feel right.”
He will have to get used to another new face as the Dunedin Blue Jays have hired a new hitting coach for this year. Nay has had to deal with a variety of hitting coaches since high school because he has been promoted so quickly.
However, Nay knows that it is up to him and not his coaches to figure out his hitting problems.
“I think you have to be smart,” he said. “Hitting coaches are there to help you. You should be able to tell what information to use and how to apply it to yourself to make you perform the best. It has to do a lot with the individual hitter. He’s got to know what he’s doing. He’s got to be the one to make adjustments. Nobody can do it for you.”
Although he is still confused about why he has not hit the ball hard like he did in high school, he is still confident that he will get his power back.
“Eventually it will come out for sure,” Nay said.
Woods also expects his old third baseman to find his swing.
“I think he will hit for power. He’s got it in him; there’s no doubt.”
Nay is not the only one in his family that has it in him.
His grandfather, Lou Klimchock, played in the MLB for 12 seasons. Over his career he played 318 games and hit .232 with 12 home runs and 69 RBIs.
Nay admits that Klimchock was the reason he initially wanted to play baseball, but it was his choice, his desire, and his drive to try to play pro ball. Luckily for Nay, his grandfather was able to give him advice on how to conduct yourself as a professional.
“You just keep in control and be a professional out here,” his grandfather told him, adding, “Don’t ride the highs too high or take the lows too low.”