LA Angels News

LA Angels: Impressions from Inland Empire 66ers Media Day

By Ryan Falla
Los Angeles Angels, (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Los Angeles Angels, (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /
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ANAHEIM, CA – APRIL 06: Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim walks on to the field from the dugout to shake hands with teammates after defeating the Texas Rangers at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on April 6, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CA – APRIL 06: Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim walks on to the field from the dugout to shake hands with teammates after defeating the Texas Rangers at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on April 6, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) /

IF’er Jordan Zimmerman

Jordan Zimmerman is looking for a big bounce back year after struggling through the 2018 season with the Inland Empire 66ers. Zimmerman has strong, raw talent, the only struggle has been fully accessing those talents.

It’s a classic story of baseball; the young talent with the stuff to get to the bigs, but there is just happens to be something keeping him from fully growing into himself. If you saw him play with the 66ers last year you might have wondered the same thing; he has talent and he has work ethic, but what is missing from this formula?

It’s not the physical tools/approach, it’s the mental approach to the game. Zimmerman swung to the effect of a .231/.268/.388 slash line in 478 Plate Appearances with the 66ers in 2018, a stark contrast to his 2017 numbers of .293/.335/.457 with 9 HR’s in 557 PA’s.

There are a couple of silver linings that show to the true trajectory of his talent as he hit 11 HR’s in 2018 despite an offensively challenged season all around. The fact that he was able to produce more HR’s with far lesser offensive stats show that there is palpable energy with his bat.

Again, the issues don’t stem from physical prowess, it’s the mental game that is key here.

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Zimmerman [on altering his approach]: “One thing I took from the big leaguers [in Spring] was their daily routine, how they presented themselves throughout the day, what they did to prepare for a game. Their mental aspects as to how to react after a bad at-bat. I didn’t take too much regarding the physical aspect, it was more of the mental for me.

That’s a big thing with me, I’ll add too much pressure to myself. Expect too much out of myself. I need to actually keep it AB to AB and just focus on what’s going on during that at-bat. Once it’s over, whether it’s a good at-bat or bad at-bat, I just cancel it and move on to the next thing.

You watch the big league guys and they don’t ever really push the panic button. Over the course of the year they trust what they have done their whole lives and that’s the approach I’m going with this year. Just trust what I’ve done to get here is going to work and it’s gonna continue to work. I’m excited to see how it’ll work out this year.

Last year at third base I feel like I played a little too loose, so hopefully this year I can have a little more focus when the pitch is about to be thrown. I still wanna play loose cause once you tighten up that’s when errors happen. I need to play as loose as possible while staying focused, that’s key for me. When I made errors last year it’s because I wasn’t as locked in to the game at that point.”

Zimmerman [on his plans to stay loose in 2019]: “I’m trusting that everything I did this offseason will work. There may be stretches where I go 0-15 or 0-20, I can’t start changing things like I did last year. I’d push the panic button and freak out a little bit, I’d think “Oh I gotta change something” but this year I’m gonna try to stick to what I’m doing now and continue it through the whole year and trust that what I’ve had success doing in Spring Training is gonna pay off through this whole season.

Early on I wrote down a whole plan with steps cause I did a pretty big swing change for myself mechanically. At this point I have a routine set where I take less swings but more quality swings. My exertion level won’t be as high going into a game. I’m trying to stay healthy the whole year and trying to stay in the present, not worry about the future and what’s going on around me. Just sticking to a routine and doing it.

Next. Taylor Cole Makes Rehab Start in Inland Empire

This year I’m not gonna overload myself with too many swings before the game. Just trust that what I did in this offseason will come out on the field. Last year throughout the whole season I was trying to change stuff, not really trusting what I did in the offseason was gonna work. This season I’m gonna go in and trust what I’ve done is gonna work and not overwork myself”

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