Editor’s Note: This is part of a season-long series in which Ottawa graduate and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim prospect Michael Hermosillo chronicles his journey in professional baseball.
TEMPE, Ariz. — Spring Training is the best time of the year. It’s the only time where everyone from their respective organization gets together in one place to play baseball.
Technically, Anaheim is the home of the Angels, but a lot of the guys in the front office call Tempe, Ariz., home because it’s the place where players from the major leagues and minor leagues are all together.
So far, Spring Training has been a great and exciting experience, but it definitely was a little overwhelming at first. The main reason it was overwhelming was there were around 200 players who reported to camp. You barely get that many when you do high school showcases, so there were a lot of guys going a lot of different places on the different fields.
At first it was something that was hard to get used to, but now it’s an everyday thing. Honestly, I think it will be weird only having 25-30 guys on a team after experiencing all of this.
A typical day of spring training starts at 6 a.m. and we usually get done between 3-5 p.m. depending on if you have to workout afterwards.
The morning usually starts with eating breakfast and going to the weight room to stretch yourself out, using a foam roll and/or getting in a light conditioning — by jumping rope or jogging on a treadmill — before you get ready to get on the field.
From there, you make your way outside to get in your early work, whether that be hitting or defense depending on the day. If you have hitting one day, you will have defense the next depending on which group you are part of.
After that, you start a team stretch that is divided into four fields for four different affiliate teams, which are broken down by Low-A Burlington (Iowa), High-A Inland Empire (California), Double-A Arkansas (located in Little Rock) and Triple-A Salt Lake City.
I started out in Burlington but lately have been playing with Arkansas. I won’t be playing with Double-A Arkansas in the season, obviously, but a lot of the guys on the roster will actually be going there so it’s a great chance for me to learn from them, see how they play the game and apply it to my game.
After a stretch, you throw, run the bases and start batting practice. Once battling practice is done, you go back inside to have lunch. From there, you either hop on a bus or stay at home to play a game.
Every day is long, but it’s fun. The biggest thing I’ve learned since being drafted is you have to keep the game of baseball fun. You can’t let one bad at-bat affect you. You can’t let one error affect you. That’s how one thing leads to another.
I remember I got so mad when I struck out or made an error in high school, but you can’t do that here. You have to realize everyone is good at the professional level and the reality is a great hitter only gets a hit three out of every 10 times.
This game is full of failures and if you let one bad thing get to you, you’ve already lost the next battle.
For me, the best part of Spring Training right now is actually being able to play every day. Health obviously was a big issue for me last year, so the biggest stat for me right now is “Games Played.”
Some cool things about Spring Training are obviously being able to see and meet some of the big leaguers, whether they are coaches or players.
It sounds kind of silly, but seeing them just makes you want to get to the big leagues more and more. It’s just that extra motivation on top of what you have already.
My main focus right now is just to get my timing down hitting-wise and have everything fine-tuned for the season.
As of right now, I don’t know where I’ll end up, but my guess is extended spring training because that’s usually where the Angels send most of their high school players to start out their first full year. Plus, the lack of games that I had last season adds to that.
From there, I can get called up at anytime — it just depends what the Angels think is best — but that’s something that I’m not worried about because that’s another thing that if you think about too much it will start affecting your game.
There are only about nine more days of Spring Training so I’m just going to finish strong and keep taking things one day at a time. I’m excited for this upcoming season and can’t wait to get it started!
Michael Hermosillo can be reached at email@example.com.