Pirela Fighting His Way Back

Pirela is batting .287 since June 1st

By the time baseball prospects enter the Double-A field in Trenton, their game is expected to be generally polished. But back in April, shortstop Jose Pirela got himself into an unexpected slump. Luckily for the young player, things have gradually begun to look up for his season as he fights his way back.

"It's a level where you expect these types of mistakes," Trenton manager Tony Franklin said. "But by the end of the year, you hope that he is going to be a very proficient shortstop out there. And I think he is going to do that. But steady progression here is what we are after.

"I felt like things didn't happen the way I wanted [them too]," Pirela said through a translator. "I'm going to still work on it."

During his rough patch in April, Pirela was hitting in just the .100s but since then he has made his way around the bases to climb back up to a .240 hitting average.

"Here's a guy who had a really tough April," said Franklin. "He got to a very slow start and I think since April he's made a steady progression to getting back some respectability. His play is certainly improving, but defensively, he is still making his mistakes out there on the field."

The 5'10, 190 pound shortstop continues to up his game but is still making mistakes when it comes to making the out. Coach Justin Pope thinks it all has to do with his confidence here in Trenton.

"He started off slow but that's as expected," said Pope. "Over the past few months or so he's been swinging the bat very well [and] holding his own.

"Defensively, he's starting to come around and starting to realize he can play shortstop at this level. It's just all about confidence, I think, and his confidence is pretty high right now. He's realizing he can play here."

With using Jose Gil, a catcher for the Trenton Thunder, as the translator, Pirela said that he has to "keep his head up and keep working hard" through the season to better himself as a shortstop, which seems to bare troubles for the young prospect. But even with these slight troubles, Pirela continues to be in high spirits as he flies through the radar.

"[He has to work on ] a little bit of everything I guess," said Pope. "Defensively, just playing above the speed of the ball and cut down his mistakes and make the plays.

"Offensively, just keep working on what he's working on now and get better every day. He has to recognize the pitching and have an idea of what the pitchers are trying to do."

"Offensively, I have to work on the little things in the sense that they mean a lot," said Pirela through Gil. "Defensively, I have to work on everything."

But what some people aren't aware of is that Pirela also plays as a second baseman. It was this start that has allowed him to begin his path as a solid shortstop.

"One thing is just playing with confidence and knowing that he can play it as a shortstop," said Pope when asked about what Pirela has as a second baseman that allowed him to transition to a shortstop. "He can play it, he knows he can play it, and he enjoys playing it.

"And as a shortstop, he has to want to play the position and know that he can play it at this level. I think all of that will correlate to him doing well."

"I've always liked second base, but I've always had some trouble as a shortstop," said Pirela through Gil. "I know that is my weakness and I have to work hard every day."

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