Let Athleticism Reign
After Diamondbacks outfielder Anfernee Grier ran through a lengthy list of lessons learned during his first full season as a pro, he acknowledged how eager he was to get back to work again.
"I’m really excited,” said Grier, 22, in early February. "I had a lot of downs--and I had some ups, too--and I was able to learn from it all. This will be my second full year and I’m ready to get back out on the field and see what happens.”
Grier’s season at low Class A Kane County disappointed some onlookers. He hit .250/.340/.331 in 123 games, and while he stole 30 bases in 41 attempts, he hit just four home runs. Some with the organization thought he lacked the kind of explosiveness at the plate he showed at Auburn before the D-backs made him a supplemental first-rounder in 2016.
But there was optimism entering the spring. Coaches say Grier looked more comfortable at the plate in instructional league and during a January minicamp, and they hope that translates into a stronger 2018.
"He has some really good ability and it’s starting to come out,” D-backs coach Micah Franklin said. "I think he’s going to have a really good season this year.”
Grier credited Franklin for helping him make adjustments with his swing at instructs, though both suggested the changes were relatively minor. More than anything, Grier feels he’s in a better position to let his athleticism come out at the plate.
2016 Draft Report Card: Arizona Diamondbacks
The Diamondbacks grade top pick Anfernee Grier as a 70 runner
"(Franklin) just got me to kind of trust my swing and stick with what I’ve got,” Grier said. ". . .We did work on stuff like keeping the barrel in the zone a little longer and not staying inside the ball as much, but really it’s about letting it fly, just letting it go.”
Grier said he feels better about dealing with the grind of pro ball, navigating the ups and downs of a season and maintaining a daily routine. He also admitted to allowing his high draft status cloud his daily approach.
"I learned how to deal with that,” Grier said. "They picked you there for a reason, so just go out and play your game. You don’t have to prove anything.”