JJ Bleday talks about progress in first AA season

Published: Aug. 3, 2021 at 10:07 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) -Mosley alum JJ Bleday continues to work through his first season at the Double-A level. When we last spoke to JJ, about a month ago, his batting average was hovering around .180 or so. Since that time he’s upped it a bit. Following Tuesday night’s win at Biloxi he’s posting a .206 average, with 9 homers and 33 runs batted in. That in 270 at bats. He tends to make good contact more often than not, though his strikeout numbers aren’t where he wants them to be, 70 K’s, so about one in every four at-bats. JJ telling me he knows things aren’t going the way he wants them to at the plate, but listening to him, you sense he certainly has the right frame of mind to deal with that.

“I know this isn’t my best, I can do better.” Bleday told me via Zoom. “But you know with the at bats I’m getting it’s definitely a learning process. The pitching is good, but I don’t want to give the pitchers too much credit. Because I’m still getting pitches to hit, it’s just that some days you miss them, some days you don’t. So I think the biggest thing is making adjustments in-game. And I think this second half I’ve been a lot better than what I was doing in the first half. I think the first half was a little slower start, but I’m able to kind of figure out what I need to be doing from pitch to pitch. And obviously that is being on time as a hitter, getting a good pitch to hit, swinging at strikes, and taking balls.”

JJ went on to say it’s important he keep his attitude positive, and that will help him get through what can easily become a minor league grind, especially come August!

“You know what the end goal is, you know where you want to be.” says Bleday. “At the same time you’ve got to be where your feet are. And you know that’s minor league baseball. Again it’s getting into the dog days of August. It’s getting hot, mentally that’s where it’s at. I think that’s where the game is, towards the end of the season, over the body. Obviously your body, you want to stay healthy, you want to be ready to play. But it’s a mental grind, but being able to be prepared, mentally and physically, it’s huge.”

Bleday says he remains confident his numbers will improve, confident he is growing. That led to me asking him what aspect of his game he feels he’s improved on from the first half of the season to the second?

“Refining what makes you see the ball better.” he replied. “I think that’s what’s gotten me, that’s where I’ve improved. I’ve improved in my approach, kind of taking some risks on how guys are pitching me. So I’ll be able to sit on pitches, in certain aspects of the count. To where it’s ok to take a chance, and take a good swing off. Because the scenario of the situation is giving you that.”

Bleday and the Blue Wahoos with 41 games left following Tuesday’s win at Biloxi, so JJ has plenty of time to beef those numbers up this season.

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