"This is my first year, so I was really nervous," Sotillo said through the help of a translator. "It took me a couple days to settle in but once I settled in, I was able to get down to work.
"[The adjustment] was really hard. With the [English] classes every day, we have to be here earlier than all the other guys in addition to all the other work that we do everyday."
Sotillo went on to explain that he has made strides defensively since arriving with the team, a point that GCL Blue Jays manager John Schneider echoed.
"For him defensively, his game calling, his leadership abilities, and just kind of his overall game behind the plate has really improved," Schneider explained. "His flexibility and his blocking have been great. His throwing has been good.
"Looking down the road to this year and next year, we'd like to keep his catching game going because he's pretty good back there. He can play for a long time with the way he catches."
The game-calling and leadership aspects of Sotillo's game are qualities in which the 19-year-old takes pride.
"I'm a very big team player," Sotillo said. "I'm a very big family man, so I know what it's like to be a part of a team. I feel that one of my strengths is being able to talk to [my teammates], help them, and encourage them."
With Sotillo's defense and leadership abilities shining through since arriving with the team, the biggest focus for the 5-foot-11 backstop has been to improve his hitting. The Venezuelan native has hit for a solid average this season, batting .302 in limited time with the GCL Blue Jays, but has been mostly a singles hitter, as only two of his nineteen hits have been of the extra-base variety.
"He's definitely a contact hitter," Schneider said. "He's has good hand-eye coordination and I think over time he'll develop some power because of the way he's built.
"That's the biggest thing we're trying to work with him on is to get into a strong hitting position to use his hand-eye coordination. Hopefully that develops into some power down the road. But he's done a good job.
"It's tough with these kids who are young. You try to be patient with them, but he's made good improvements over a pretty short amount of time since he's been here."
While Schneider is impressed with what he's seen from Sotillo this season, there are a few things in addition to developing more power that the manager would like to see from his catcher going forward.
"If he can really get his offensive stuff down, he'll be pretty good for a long time. Throwing is something we're going to continue working on with him. He has a good arm, but we're trying to get everything a little bit quicker behind the plate with his throws.
"With a lot of these young kids, it's just putting the work habits into a game situation and letting them have some success and hopefully move on up," a seemingly clairvoyant Schneider concluded prior to Sotillo's promotion to Bluefield.
DUNEDIN, FL - Upon coming to Dunedin for his first professional season with the GCL Blue Jays, Andres Sotillo took a little while to get comfortable, but has quickly settled in at catcher, so much so that he was recently promoted to short-season Bluefield over the weekend.
Sotillo Moving Up
Andres Sotillo has made progress to his entire game, so much so that he's been promoted.
Dunedin Beat Writer
Sotillo was promoted to Bluefield this weekend
Aug 5, 2013