Gumbs Looking To Slow Down

Gumbs wants to get back to his approach

It was supposed to be a breakout season for Angelo Gumbs in 2013, at least, that was the hope. It turned out to be another injury-plagued season, however, and when he was healthy enough to get on the field he pressed too hard. Finally healthy once again, he's looking to get back to slowing the game down and allow the game to come to him.

He hit just .213 between high-A Tampa and low-A Charleston this past season with a lower walk ratio than the year before, a lower extra-base hit percentage, and less stolen bases.

"I felt like it was a tough year," Gumbs admitted. "I had some high points and some highlights, but offensively it was a tough year. Defensively I did what I had to do, I did my thing and felt very confident."

He began the season in high-A Tampa despite not playing the second half of the season last year in Charleston with a triceps injury. His rough start in the Florida State League this year was compounded by yet another injury, a swollen ligament in his middle finger to the point where the finger was locked out straight and he couldn't bend it at all.

He missed nearly five weeks with the injury and found himself pressing way too much upon his return to the Tampa lineup, almost trying to make up for lost time and prove to team officials that his early season promotion to high-A was warranted.

"I feel like there was a sense of that," he said. "I'm also the hardest person on myself. I'm going to be the best teacher I could have, that's what I'm working towards.

"I'm hard on myself. I press sometimes and it doesn't work, and I'm learning and maturing as a player. I'm learning to not press and live in the moment, don't look too far ahead and do what I have to do right now."

He simply got too hard on himself after his demotion to low-A Charleston mid-season and then yet another injury occurred, this time a concussion when shortstop Jose Rosario ran into him.

Having three separate injuries that have kept him out of the lineup for extended periods of time have not allowed the natural athlete to really feel like himself for a long time now.

"I feel exactly like that," he said. "I've only seen parts of the player I could be here and there.

"Things have held me back and right now I'm at Instructs working on everything I need to work on. I feel like if I'm a healthy player I can be good. And if I'm good at Instructs I know I'll be that player next year."

In a viscous cycle, Gumbs has battled a lot of injuries early in his career and then battled himself when he has been able to return, unable to fight the temptation of trying to make up for lost time.

His biggest goal this Instructional League season is to get back to the approach that made him so successful a year ago, employing his up the middle approach, staying patient, and allowing the game to come to him.

"I need to keep my approach towards the middle of the field, stay with it, and get my direction there, and keep my front side in more because I tend to pull off when I try to do too much. I need to stick with the approach of [going] up the middle.

"The game is a crazy game. You just have to slow it down because at certain levels and certain points of the season things begin to speed up for you, and you just have to learn to step back and let the game come to you. That's what I'm looking to do at Instructs," he concluded.

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