Nunez Knows He Has Proving To Do

Nunez already has more HRs than last year

CHARLESTON, SC - First baseman Reymond Nunez is trying to prove himself this season with the Charleston RiverDogs after spending time in Extended Spring Training to start the year. He is confident and committed to keep improving, give his all, and show everyone what he is capable of.

Extended Spring Training is a time for players to work on what the organization thinks they need a little extra improvement on before going out.

Extended gave Nunez time to feel less pressure in front of a crowd and to not feel like he needs to over perform and push numbers. It also allowed a different, calmer atmosphere and more time to work individually.

"Spring Training for me was good," he said through the help of a translator. "I was a little upset that I was kept in [Extended] but then I realized that I needed that time to work on my hitting and my mental approach. I spent more time finding the stroke where I can be successful, hitting for power, and hitting for average.

"Obviously I was a little disappointed that I didn't start right away with the team, but a couple days later I realized it happened because it gave me more time to prepare myself better, to work on my mechanics offensively, and now I can tell that staying behind the in standup is paying off."

Nunez obviously wanted to break Spring Training with a long-season league team, but he now appreciates the extra time he had to prepare himself for all that comes with his dream. His strength and power goes a long way in his game and he has been working consistently on his offensive game this season.

"He's a guy that works very hard day in and day out," Charleston manager Al Pedrique said. "He has a good swing and is trying to keep it on a consistent basis where he stays through the ball, stays sure, and drives the ball through the entire field.

"He's been working really hard with our hitting coach P.J. Pilittere on staying down, keeping his head down, and just to hit where the ball is pitched. Offensively he has great potential."

"Nunez' biggest strength is that he has big-time power," Pilittere added. "e's got some of the most power than any player we have throughout the system. He started the year in Extended to try and unleash some of that power, to find a way to use that power as an asset for him.

"He's done a nice job of figuring out his swing, maturing as a player, becoming a lot more intelligent as a hitter, and he's been doing a nice job for us."

With Nunez growing as a player and improving so quickly, the real question is, what changed and why now suddenly?

"The reason I changed is because I can tell the difference now of what I was struggling with in Extended and I keep working on it and getting better," Nunez said. "Now that I'm here, I'm trying to keep that same approach, especially mentally.

"I know what it takes now to get ready and have the approach of taking one bat at a time. Right now I'm just trying to keep it simple in order to improve my game offensively and defensively, and prove that my time in Extended paid off, and I've been working on everything."

His coaches have seen positive change as well.

"Obviously for anyone that has seen Nunez he's a big imposing player," Pilittere said. "He's a large man with a lot of strength and I think in the past he would have the tendency to hit with his hands too much. As much as these guys are big and strong, the strongest part of their body is always going to be their legs.

"Right now we are just really consistently monitoring his hands, making sure his hands aren't moving too much and just constantly reminding him of using his legs for his power and not trying to create with his upper body, just on a daily basis.

"He's really done a nice job of focusing from the ground up, and really unleashing the power that he has. Defensively, he's a solid first baseman.

"He's a big guy and moves around the bag really well. He's got good feet and really good hands, they're soft, and he does a nice job of throwing the ball as well. He's a pretty solid defender at first base."

Pedrique believes that Extended Spring Training teaches the players something that regular coaches can't, and that is the sense of urgency that makes the player's feel like they want to and need to work their hardest to keep moving up. He believes that because Nunez had this time in Extended, it is really paying off for him in all aspects.

"Now that he realizes that he's been up here with us for a while with the club, he's been having some success and he knows that he can play up here," Pedrique said. "Now his goal is the second half is to prove his game offensively and defensively. He wants to show the organization that he's ready.

"What I mean by ready is in all the areas: base running, defense, offense, the mental approach. Once he gets to that point, and he's well on his way, I think he has a chance to be a great player."

So what's next down the road for the 6-foot-4, 210 pounder?

"My goal is to do the best I can to move up," Nunez admitted. "I want to really show the organization that I'm ready.

"I know I'm a little behind because I spent time in Extended, but on the other hand I want to obviously move up before the season is over with, so I have a lot of proving to do. I know I'm getting better and I understand that this is a process, and that things happen for a reason," Nunez finished.

"If he can just remain consistent and continue to think about power with his legs, driving the ball to all fields, and using that power and being a big man and big hitter, he's got a chance to really do something special, even hit a lot of home runs," Pilittere added. "This guy can hit them as far as anybody in the game."

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