"The first month of the season basically started out pretty rocky," Seth Conner
said. "[I] just didn't get off to the start that I would've hoped for, but the end of last week and then this week, I'm starting to swing it better and feel more comfortable at the plate, kind of knowing what I want to do. I'm feeling better right now, so hopefully I can just transpire through the rest of the season."
The month of June certainly was a struggle for Conner. He hit .129 in 29 at-bats. Since then, though, he has turned things around considerably, especially in the last 10 games. Since July 18, Conner is batting .419 with two home runs, seven runs batted in, and ten walks.
Overall on the season, the righty has upped his average to .247 with an impressive .383 on base percentage, having struck out just more time than he has walked. He also has three homers and 13 RBIs. A game on July 19th, in particular, has helped Conner progress at the plate. On that day he hit a home run and a double, while also drawing a walk.
"It definitely helps mentally, whenever you can string a good game together," Conner said, adding that it also helps just to make good contact with the ball even on an out, rather than getting soft contact and popping it to the shallow outfield. "I'd been swinging a little bit better to that point and I think that definitely helped my mental side."
GCL Batting Coach Paul Elliot has now seen plenty of Conner's approach at the plate this season. Elliot said that once Conner finds his game, it's all about keeping it going.
"He's continuing to improve. It's a work in progress with him," Elliot said. "He's still trying to find what works for him, and when he gets it, it's just trying to keep it consistent with him."
One area for Conner to improve on is hitting lefties. He has a .200 batting average against left-handed pitching this year, and the ability to hit opposite-armed pitching can be an asset moving forward in his career.
"Sometimes I give them too much credit because I'm trying to figure out what they're doing instead of just letting it be free and hit," Conner said. "I definitely kind of like hitting off of righties better at this point, but I don't mind hitting off lefties. It's been getting better as I just get more comfortable and confident."
Defensively, Conner has in-game experience at both third and first base, with the former being his primary position. He also reported to Spring Training with the pitchers and catchers, getting some experience as a backstop during bullpen sessions. Coach Elliot said the ability to play those three different positions could make Conner that much more valuable for a team. As for how he's been playing defensively, Elliot likes what he sees.
"He's doing a nice job making all the routine plays," he said. "That's all we can ask of him."
Just 97 recorded at-bats into his professional career, Conner has a long road ahead of him. While he is in Dunedin for GCL, though, he has plenty of things he is looking to improve on and accomplish.
"I definitely think just having more consistent at-bats; just consistent, good at-bats, squaring it up more often," Conner said. "I definitely think I've just got to learn defensively, especially at first base because I hadn't played it until I came here, so just learning my positioning and footwork and just learning to hit the pitching better."
The 41st round pick in last year's Major League Baseball Draft, 19-year-old Seth Conner is getting his first action as a professional ball player. The right-handed infielder out of Logan-Rogersville High School in Rogersville, Mo., is currently with the Gulf Coast League Blue Jays, and has played in 29 of the team's 35 games this season.
Seth Conner got off to a rough start in the GCL but he has really turned things around lately.