|Silviano Knows He Can Do It|
Silviano hasn't lost any confidence
At first glance the debut season numbers for catcher John Silviano are not too impressive, especially after last year's 13th round pick wound up hitting just .164 for the Gulf Coast League Blue Jays. However, in almost sponge-like fashion he has been picking up a lot of things along the way and he says he is still as confident as ever.
"I think it was a big adjustment season," he admitted. "I had to make a lot of adjustments. It was a good transition though. I expected a lot of what happened playing baseball everyday. I really liked it and I thought it was a good transition for me."
It's always easy for those outside of the game of baseball to forget just how hard the transition is for first-year catchers to the professional level because few realize just how much work is involved in making that adjustment.
"Probably waking everyday and coming to the field and catching so much," he said of the hardest adjustment. "As a high school catcher you're not used to catching bullpens everyday and then going into the game, and having full four hour practices before every game. That was probably the toughest thing and then being down here in the GCL, that's the hottest league."
Catching for several hours each day in itself is a daunting task, but then to throw in all of the work that goes into hitting too is just adding fuel to the proverbial fire.
"In the beginning of the season your body is so fresh it doesn't really matter but towards the end of the season you start to get a little worn down," he admitted. "It's normal but it's tough."
But to be fair all young catchers are asked to work predominantly on their defensive duties first since the position is such a demanding one on the field, and in the case of teenage aged catchers there is just so much thrown at them initially.
"Working on my receiving and my blocking are two big keys, and that comes from being more flexible," he said. "I just have to get more flexible so I can get into those positions that I need to get into.
"In the strength and conditioning room, and in the weight room, I do certain stretches and stretch out each morning to help me get more flexible.
"I think I've become a lot better blocker and receiver just because we've worked on it so much. We have so much early work in the cage that I think I've gotten so much better."
While there is nothing wrong with his plate discipline, drawing more walks than he struck out, there's still the matter of improving a batting average that was way below the Mendoza line so there is also the added work of fine-tuning his swing.
"I'm working on some new stuff with my stance and my launch position. That's mainly been what I'm trying to accomplish right now.
"My hands used to be higher above my shoulder and now they're a little bit below my shoulder to get me into a better launch position to develop a quicker and shorter load and be more direct to the ball.
"I used to have a long swing and that would make me hook more balls to second and first base so having a shorter swing will allow me to hit the ball to left field better.
"I think I can be a lot better hitter. There's always, always room for improvement. There's always a lot of stuff you have to work on. You can never be satisfied when you're working. You always want to have to get more."
Even though he and everyone else would like him to improve his offensive game, when it comes to catchers the harsh reality is that they have to choose one particular area to focus more on in the short-term.
"Probably my catching," Silviano admitted. "I've always been a pretty good hitter and hitting comes pretty naturally to me.
"Even with more work [there] I know it will always come natural to me, but with catching and all of the defensive stuff -- receiving, blocking -- I'll always have to work on that extra hard."
Seeing significant progress in his blocking and receiving skills, and making the small tweaks to his swing at the plate, he feels his game has already gotten a lot better and as a result his confidence has not taken a hit at all.
"Everyone is good here but I like to think I'm one of the best because you can't go out there without confidence. You have to have confidence in yourself to do good.
"That's something I've always had, I've always had confidence. It's not cocky or anything but just confidence in myself to know I can do it," he concluded.