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  • Get to Know Twins Draft Pick Nate Baez


    Ted Schwerzler

    The Minnesota Twins zoned in on collegiate players through the first 10 rounds of the 2022 Major League Baseball draft. They didn’t deviate from that decision with either of the next two picks, but they went back-to-back with catchers and took Arizona State’s Nate Baez in Round 12.

    Image courtesy of Monica D. Spencer/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK

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    Nate Baez began starting in 2021 for the Sun Devils, and then drew starts in 55 of 57 games last season. He slashed .319/.403/.562 last season, and while the home run total jumped just from eight to ten, Baez pushed his doubles total from three to 21 last season. He’s seen as a decent receiver, and he has played some second base as well. Minnesota would certainly love to see him stick behind the dish, and catcher depth is something the system can use.

    Baez took the time to answer a few questions following his selection by the Twins.

    Twins Daily: Having worked a little on the infield and corner outfield, the Twins drafted you as a catcher and that's probably where you'd like to stick. What is your process and game behind the plate? What are some of your biggest strengths?

    Nate Baez: My game behind the plate is to do everything I can to help my pitchers succeed. Their success is my success. My biggest strengths behind the plate are my presence and toughness. Whatever I do I like to go all out and catching is no different. 

    TD: With electronic strike zones still at least a few years away, what would you say about your game as a framer and receiver? Minnesota has been influential when it comes to a knee-down stance, is there something that makes you most comfortable behind the dish?

    NB: Framing and receiving are the better part of my game. Coming from the infield, the quickness of my hands has helped me to transition and have success early. I like doing a little of everything when it comes to what stance I’m in. The situation will dictate it but there are times when one knee is best and times when it’s not. I am open to everything. 

    TD: At the plate, it seems like you tapped into more power this season. Was that intentional? How did you go about tweaking your swing?

    NB: I am always looking to add more power to my swing. I just need to do it with less swing and miss. I worked a lot on pitch selection and plate discipline which helped me to hit better overall, and in turn, added to my power. I didn’t really tweak my swing. I tweak my mentality and game plan when I hit.

    TD: What has been your process in the box? You've done a great job limiting swing and miss issues. Are you a big video or analytics guy?

    NB: This past year I worked completely off of feel. I never really looked at video or analytics. I know how my swing works and what it needs to feel like to be good. I do like watching video, It just wasn’t really something I did this past year. 

    TD: What do you know about the Minnesota Twins? Have you ever been to Target Field?

    NB: I do not know much about the Twins, but I do know that they have a very good organization with great development and I’m honored to be a part of it. Never been to Target Field, or even Minnesota.

    TD: If there's something you want Twins Territory to know about you as a person or player, what would it be?

    NB: I'm just a kid from Tucson, Arizona, having fun, playing the game I love.

     

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    Always interesting to see how catchers do when they come into the organization. Generally, if you look at the catchers throughout the organization, especially in the lower levels, most of the catchers catch just twice a week. Hard to get into an offensive rhythm like that, but they want lots of guys ready defensively and getting reps because it is such a position of attrition. 

    Then again, always interesting to see which catchers get an opportunity to DH. Ryan Jeffers caught a couple times a week and DHd pretty much every other game. 

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    5 hours ago, ashbury said:

    The pros are going to be a whole new experience, based on his comment about "feel" versus video.  I'm sure he'll adapt to that though.

    Yeah I laughed at that comment too.  He will have to adjust to that in pro ball, especially the twins organization.

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    Buxton had trouble hitting when he 1st came up. They kept on telling him how to hit and he couldn't get it right until he threw everything out the window and went with what felt right. For some they can be over analytical, they need to keep it simple. Baez said he likes to watch videos but last year he felt the need not to.

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    1 hour ago, Seth Stohs said:

    Always interesting to see how catchers do when they come into the organization. Generally, if you look at the catchers throughout the organization, especially in the lower levels, most of the catchers catch just twice a week. Hard to get into an offensive rhythm like that, but they want lots of guys ready defensively and getting reps because it is such a position of attrition. 

    Then again, always interesting to see which catchers get an opportunity to DH. Ryan Jeffers caught a couple times a week and DHd pretty much every other game. 

    And they drafted 3 guys last year out of the college ranks. And while all 3 got in a handful of games, have to remember that really, thus season is really their first real exposure to pro ball. (Along with instructs). Winkel has had a solid year at the plate, and at CR to boot. That's a pretty solid jump, IMO. Cardenas hasn't done a lot with the bat initially, but his numbers have risen of late, and I'd like to believe the high OB he's got shows hit potential. Tatum has struggled the most with the bat, to be sure. But he also has a much higher OB vs his BA. Is that also an indicator he may get the bat rolling eventually?

    I think there's a lot to like about both Cossetti and Baez this year. But I don't expect anything dynamic initially. The nice thing for them is the milb season going in to mid September now. They might each get a full month introduction.

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