If you’ve ever listened to North Shore Nine, you’ll find there is a common theme. We frequently use the word intriguing and beg for outside instruction for players who fit into that category.
It appears a few have received the memo. At some point, while scrolling the interwebs, I followed Driveline on Instagram. If you’re a baseball fan you’ll know what Driveline is. To be honest, I’m not sure I fully comprehend what they do. What I can tell you, however, is that whatever they do appears to work.
Henry Davis, Joshua Palacios and now Canaan Smith-Njigba have all visited the Driveline facility this off-season. I’m not going to sit here and write a 2,000-word blog post explaining why this is a good thing. Truthfully, none of us really know what’s being worked on. I will say that it is encouraging to see these guys seeking outside help from a legitimate source. I’m probably speaking out of turn here, but it didn’t seem like this has always been the case. These guys are a creature of habit. They are in the big leagues for a reason and if they’re anything like me (an arrogant podcaster) they’re not going to ask for outside help
We can see the talent with Davis. I think we all still believe he will be a good Major League hitter. I won’t say there aren’t any concerns. He doesn’t have a position, he pounds the baseball into the ground and he can’t hit a slider. Aside from that, I think he’ll be fine. As you see in the video above, he’s working on swing decisions. In my humble opinion, that is possibly Davis’ biggest issue to this point. I would like to think that being a rookie and dealing with struggles led to looking lost at the plate at times, but only time will tell.
Joshua Palacios also has visited Driveline along with his brother. I’m not going to waste time on this one. Personally, I’m not a believer. He’s fun and the Kenny Pickett of baseball. I just don’t think he’s good enough. Feel free to trash me if he has a big year. I’ll gladly take it and not delete this post like others.
Canaan Smith-Njigba is the one who interests me the most. Maybe I have a soft spot for him because his brother was a Buckeye. I like the guy. I like the approach. I have a hard time believing that a guy with his walk rate and not awful strikeout numbers can’t be a useful major leaguer. To this point though, there hasn’t been enough power. There were flashes of it last year in Indianapolis, but it never seemed to fully come together. Maybe I’m a moron and Smith-Njigba will become the next former Pirate who wasn’t good that I didn’t hate, but I’m hanging onto a thread.
At any rate, I’m encouraged to see these guys get an outside opinion. It’s incredibly hard to make any changes to a player once Spring Training fires up, so most of the work is done in the off-season. At the very least, it’s encouraging to see the organization open to outside opinions. Who knows, it worked for Mitch Keller, right?