Onerous-working Athletics catcher Langeliers prepared for full-time function
MESA, Ariz. — The Athletics did plenty of rebuilding this offseason following a 102-loss season. Shea Langeliers has been working onerous this spring to show there’s one spot they received’t have to fret about.
The 25-year-old catcher is probably the most superior of Oakland’s younger prospects and he’ll be taking up a full-time, beginning function after simply 40 video games within the majors final season.
Langeliers has to make up for the lack of Sean Murphy, the A’s catcher who developed a commanding presence on the plate and behind the it over the past 4 seasons earlier than being traded. However there’s motive for optimism that Langeliers is as much as the duty.
Placing a lot belief and religion in a younger catcher will be tough, however veteran A’s pitchers Paul Blackburn and James Kaprielian are assured Langeliers is the best man for the job.
“He matches proper in and he’s ready,” Kaprielian mentioned. “He’s acquired the instruments and the abilities and now he’s simply going to have to supply on a constant foundation. There’s little doubt in my thoughts that he’s able to fill in and be that beginning catcher for us.”
Final season, Langeliers spent a majority of his season in Las Vegas with the A’s Triple-A affiliate earlier than getting referred to as up in mid-August. He then appeared in 40 video games the place he ran cold and hot on the plate, hitting .218 with six house runs and 22 RBIs and a .691 OPS.
This spring he’s already off to a greater begin; Langeliers has homered twice and is batting .250.
His work ethic, progress and abilities have been sufficient to impress supervisor Mark Kotsay, noting how Langeliers has been adjusting to the beginning function.
“He’s carried out an amazing job with coming into camp and being ready to tackle his workload,” mentioned Kotsay, who’s starting his second season as supervisor. “His maturation from final yr to this yr and his engagement with the pitcher reveals what he took from final yr’s expertise being right here.”
Final yr, Langeliers was in a position to study and prepare behind Murphy, one of many prime defensive catchers within the sport. Blackburn believes these classes discovered from Murphy had been invaluable for Langeliers.
“He was a man that was at all times following (Murphy) round, asking superior questions and attempting to study as shortly as he might,” Blackburn mentioned.
This season, the catching roles are considerably reversed. Manny Pina, a nine-year veteran, can be behind Langeliers. Pina is recovering from a wrist harm that landed him on the IL, however he hopes to return a pair weeks after Opening Day.
Although the beginning function is Langeliers’ to lose, pitcher Kyle Muller doesn’t see his longtime good friend dropping the job any time quickly.
“He’s the right candidate for it,” Muller mentioned about his roommate. “I haven’t been right here too lengthy to see his development from final yr to this yr, however from the time I’ve recognized him, it was solely a matter of time.”
Muller, who grew up enjoying Little League and highschool baseball with Langeliers in Texas, has been impressed together with his good friend’s maturity and progress.
“We nonetheless joke round,” he mentioned. “Nevertheless it’s simply that understanding of what it means to be skilled.”
Kaprielian mentioned Langeliers’ maturation is most evident in understanding what it means to be named the beginning catcher. He mentioned they’ve had a lot of one-on-one conversations, the place Kaprielian reminds Langeliers that he’s the man in management.
“He’s embracing it and simply shopping for into it,” Kaprielian mentioned. “Though he’s a youthful man with not plenty of service time, that place on the sphere, you’re form of the commander of the crew. I’m wanting ahead to him hopefully moving into that this yr and within the subsequent few years.”
To regulate to his function, Langeliers has carried out plenty of work over spring coaching, specifically engaged on his timing and discovering his method hitting. Defensively, he mentioned he labored on a little bit little bit of all the things, together with framing, blocks, pop ups and, most significantly, his work with the pitchers.
Kaprielian, Blackburn and Muller have loved working with Langeliers and mentioned there haven’t been any difficulties.
Blackburn has been impressed with Langeliers’ information and preparation, which helps the catcher develop a commanding presence on the diamond.
“Each catcher is exclusive,” Blackburn mentioned. “He’s at all times there speaking about what he sees and attempting to get on the identical degree because the pitcher sees. As a pitcher, you may’t actually ask for something extra.”
Langeliers mentioned a part of his secret to forming robust bonds together with his pitchers is attending to know them as folks and constructing friendships. The work has been observed.
“Everybody that I’ve talked to pitching workers sensible loves him,” Muller mentioned. “It’s cool having a good friend again there as a result of we’re on the identical web page.”
These friendships permit the gamers to be extra direct with each other and be trustworthy about issues they should change throughout a specific sport.
Langeliers, for one, can’t await the true video games to start.
“I’m simply excited and able to go,” he mentioned.
Autor Haley Smilow