JJ Bleday with a strong week in Pensacola, adjusting to life in Double-A

Updated: Jun. 4, 2021 at 10:08 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) -JJ Bleday continues to work to adjust to life in Double-A baseball, and what will be the longest season of his baseball life.

The Mosley alum in his first year with the Pensacola Blue Wahoos, the Marlins affiliate in the Southern League. Bleday showing some versatility at the plate this week as he makes those adjustments. For instance, Wednesday night, with the Mississippi Braves playing a shift against Bleday, he showed he can lay down a perfect bunt, putting one down the third base line for an easy infield hit. Then Thursday night, the Braves working the shift again against JJ, and this time, no bunt, instead another tape measure blast off the top of the scoreboard in right. Bleday on a bit of spurt, 7 hits in his last four games, Five of those hits for extra bases,. That as of Friday afternoon, raising his average 30 points to 179. Obviously he’s struggled overall to adjust to Double-A p<itching, but he’s learning to deal with the why of it all!

“I think there’s a lot of off speed (pitching)” JJ told me via Zoom recently. “I think that’s the biggest difference. In High-A they’re coming at you with a lot of velocity. You know mainly fastballs. Not that they don’t throw fastballs in Double-A. But they’re able to cross-count strikes. So if you’re in a 3-1 count, or a 2-0 count, you know if you’re in a very expected fastball count, they can flip in anything they want for a strike.”

And another adjustment, plowing through a 120 game minor league season, which will easily be the longest season of Bleday’s baseball life. And that coming off missing an entire year of minor league ball in 2020 because of the pandemic, which shut down all minor league baseball last year.

“I think the year and a half off from the regular season allowed us to kind of rest our bodies a little bit. But at the same time get stronger, get mentally ready to take on something like this. I think spring training helped out a lot. I got a lot of good reps from big league arms. And I think if you’re able to do that then you should be able to carry it over to Double-A. "

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