Sunday, May 4, 2014

Kancylarz's patient approach at plate has been a winning formula

By SAMUEL BOTWINICK | Staff Writer
May 4, 2014, 6:20 p.m.
@avdbkr20samuel

Baseball has two types of hitters: Those who are aggressive and who swing at most pitches, and those who are more patient, and who only swing at pitches that they like.

Stefan Kancylarz would fit into the latter category.  The junior infielder believes that the more walks you accumulate, the more hits you will get.

"I think it has helped me, because it kind of has just helped me get my pitches, get the pitches that I have really wanted and needed," Kancylarz said.  "I am, therefore, able to better see the strike zone, which prevents me from chasing balls that are out of the zone, and to hit strikes that are in the zone, increasing my batting average and hit total.  It has caused pitchers to throw more strikes than they would like to, because they know that they can't nibble with me, or else they will walk me.  

"I imagine that there is a direct correlation between walking and hitting.  Usually, the best players in the Major Leagues walk.  They draw a lot of walks, which leads to their having great averages and production.  The pitchers are trying to make you swing at pitches out of the strike zone, and then all of a sudden, you're not swinging at them.  They have to come at you with a fastball now.  That's when you hit those pitchers hard; in a 3-0, 2-1 count.  When they have to throw you your pitch, you know what's coming, and you're ready to hit it."

Kancylarz has always made an impact on the diamond ever since he was named  the Hawks' Rookie of the Year in 2012 for leading the team in hits (56), runs scored (27), and triples (3); being tied for the team lead in walks (26), and being tied for second in RBI (25). 

In 2013, Kancylarz had a productive season as well, leading the team in walks (35), and being tied for second in both RBI (29) and home runs (5). 

This year, while his batting average is up from last year (.288-.331), the infielder's hits (43), long balls (2), and RBI (23) don't seem to project beyond his impressive numbers of last year.  He is currently tied for second on the team in walks (22) as well.

The decline in production for the junior can be attributed to an injury he suffered earlier this season.  On March 28, Kancylarz suffered a grade-two high-ankle sprain while sliding  into second  base in wet conditions.  He was concerned about when he would play again, and whether his body would be the same as it was prior to the injury. 

"It's cool," Kancylarz said.  "I was kind of worried that I wouldn't perform well.  I didn't know how I was going to perform.  To be honest, I've never really been injured, and I was kind of nervous about how I would perform, and if it was going to hold me back.  The training staff did a great job helping me to get back to 100%.  It feels good to be back." 

Kancylarz did his job at the plate on Sunday, going 1-3, with a walk and a run scored.  His efforts weren't enough to help the Hawks sweep the Richmond Spiders, though, as they defeated the Hawks 8-5 to salvage the three game series, and break St. Joseph's ten-game winning streak.

Kancylarz and the Hawks will look to start another winning streak and to clinch an A-10 playoff berth when they resume action on Tuesday against the Delaware Blue Hens at Smithson Field at 3 p.m. 

- The Philadelphia Baseball Review is the top baseball news blog in Philadelphia, providing news coverage and analysis of the 2014 Phillies and baseball in the Philadelphia region.

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