Technique Tigers Baseball Academy Excellence through Hard Work Wed, 10 Jun 2020 15:37:31 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Technique Tigers Baseball Academy 32 32 Former pro teaches baseball in Trumbull Mon, 01 Jun 2020 19:53:20 +0000

A Bridgeport man who played professional baseball is teaching children the sport and giving back to the community.

Former player Manny Torres is working with children from all over southwestern Connecticut at his baseball facility in Trumbull.

Torres played at the University of Alabama, helping pitch the Crimson Tide to three College World Series. He then he signed a free agent contract with the Cincinnati Reds, but an injury ended his professional career.

After moving back to Bridgeport, coaching stints at schools led Torres to create Technique Tigers Baseball Academy and Travel Program. He says the program’s staff is committed to making a difference.

“We’re very passionate about teaching kids and we all love baseball,” he says.

Torres says he and his staff use the game as a way to instill pride, respect and a strong work ethic in the hundreds of young athletes who participate every year.

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FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Fairfield University Baseball Head Coach John Slosar announced that Manny Torres has been named a volunteer assistant coach.Torres will assist with the Fairfield pitching staff as well as the day-to-day operations of the program. He pitched professionally in the Cincinnati Reds organization after spending four seasons at the University of Alabama. Torres was a standout with the Crimson Tide, earning NCWBA All-American and Freshman All-American honors as well as All-SEC accolades. He made three trips to the College World Series, making a start as a senior, and helped the team to three SEC Championships. He finished his career with a 21-4 record and 211 strikeouts. He received his bachelor’s degree in education and human performance in 2002. Torres, a native of Bridgeport, was the 1995 USA Today Connecticut Player of the Year as well as the Gatorade Connecticut Player of the Year at St. Joseph High School in Trumbull. He was selected in the 28th Round of the Major League Baseball Amateur Draft by the Texas Rangers before accepting a scholarship to Alabama. Torres also has an extensive coaching background. He is currently the owner of Technique Sports Training and director of Technique Tigers Future Stars Baseball Academy, where he has instructs more than 400 local youth throughout the year. He also spent three years as a teacher and athletic director at St. Lawrence Elementary School in Shelton, Conn. Fairfield went 18-32 during the 2010 campaign and several Stags were recognized in the offseason. Rob Gariano ’10 was drafted in the 36th round of the MLB Draft by the San Diego Padres and is currently pitching for the Class-A Eugene Emeralds. Current senior Tucker Nathans was named to the All-MAAC Second Team, the NEIBA All-Division I First Team and played in the All-Star Game at Fenway Park. Anthony Hajjar was named the MAAC Rookie of the Year and earned Freshman All-American honors from both the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper and Ping!Baseball.

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ELSBERRY Bridgeport’s Torres back in baseball, teaching the game Mon, 01 Jun 2020 19:50:04 +0000

TRUMBULL — Manny Torres’ last shot at making the big time had come and gone. A second torn labrum had ended that dream, and for a long time afterward, Torres was down. Down on baseball.

But slowly, his mindset began to change. The game had been his life since he started playing back in Little League. He played high school ball at St. Joseph, college ball at Alabama as a pitcher, going to the College World Series three times.

Torres had injured his shoulder in his junior year with the Crimson Tide. Just two years later, while working his way through Class A ball with the Cincinnati Reds organization, Torres blew out his arm again.

But he couldn’t stay down forever. He loved the game too much, and he had to be involved in baseball in some way. And on those summer days when he would drive around to places like Seaside Park in Bridgeport and see empty baseball fields, he started to think about what he could do to get kids playing baseball again.

To that end, Torres created Technique Sports Training and the Technique Tigers Future Stars Baseball Academy. For the past five years, the Bridgeport resident has been working with kids ages 6 to 18, teaching them the game of baseball.

“I decided to start a summer-fall program and we focused on kids that didn’t make all-stars between ages 8 to 12, and then it expanded to travel ball teams in the spring,” Torres said during a morning practice with the Technique Tigers at St. Joseph High School. “We started with 52 kids the first year, and then the following year, we added a travel team of 15 kids. That grew into four travel teams and now we’re at six travel teams (85 kids) and 120 kids in the academy.”

The travel teams, for players 12 to 18, play from April to mid-August. The academy, for players 6 to 12, runs from late-August to mid-October. That focuses on development.

“I’m huge on repetition. I believe in that,” said Torres, who went 21-4 in his career at Alabama with 211 strikeouts in 237 2/3 career innings. “I believe that kids are going to get better through practice. Games are for entertaining the parents and making sure that the kids are progressing, but skill-wise, it’s all about practice. In a game, a shortstop might get two or three ground balls, but in practice, we’ll hit him 80 to 100 ground balls a day.

“I have this thing that I call the triangle of success: step one is preparation, step two is success, and once that they have some of that, then three, they build confidence. Once the confidence comes, that’s when the game becomes fun.”

The game was sure fun when Torres played. He was the 1995 Gatorade State Player of the Year and a two-time all-state selection in ’94 and ’95. At Alabama, he was named to the 1999 National Collegiate Baseball Writers third team (a couple of first-team members were Ben Sheets and Barry Zito), and he pitched against Miami in the ’99 CWS in Omaha, Neb.

He signed a free-agent deal with the Reds, starting in rookie ball in Billings, Mont., going 1-1 with a 3.48 ERA, before moving up to A ball in Rockford, Ill., where he had Adam Dunn as a teammate. But when he tore his labrum again, baseball was over.

For a while, anyway.

“I had been back here in Bridgeport for around 18 months and one day I went to the mall and Ed Pikor was there at Frozen Ropes (Training Center). I told him who I was and I told him I wanted to get into coaching. He remembered who I was, so I started out with Ed at Frozen Ropes,” Torres said. “I coached at Greens Farms Academy, then I went to Fairfield Legion with Ed, moved to Trumbull Legion as a pitching coach, I came here (St. Joe’s) for a year as pitching coach, was at Central High School as a pitching coach. And then I said, `You know what? I want to start my own program.'”

So he did.

“I just realized that until fall baseball comes around, the kids who weren’t playing all-stars weren’t playing at all. We had to do something for those kids,” he said. “Little League has 200 kids. They have two all-star teams. That’s 30 kids. What happens to the other 170 kids? It was up to me to go out and say `this is who I am,’ and by word of mouth, we’re up to 200 kids now in the program.”

And they come from all over. Torres has kids from Staples, Bunnell, McMahon, Notre Dame of Fairfield, Trumbull, St. Joseph, Bullard-Havens, Shelton and Central high schools, just to name a few.

“That’s something that I really like about our program … we have kids from all different ethnic backgrounds, kids from all different towns, kids from the suburbs, kids from the inner city, kids that live in mansions, kids that live in the projects,” Torres said. “They all come together and learn from each other.”

Contact Chris Elsberry at

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Technique Tigers: Baseball academy teaches players to be students first Mon, 01 Jun 2020 19:48:56 +0000

Nothing lasts forever when playing sports.

That’s the message Manny Torres tries to instill in all his players when they walk through the doors of Technique Tigers Baseball.

“I tell them that your education is what stays with you forever,” said the former St. Joseph High School standout pitcher, who was named both the Connecticut Gatorade Player of the Year and USA Today Connecticut Player of the Year in 1995.

“That’s one of the first messages they hear from me — athletics, and being able to play sports, is temporary,” he said. “Without my education, I wouldn’t be able to run a business today.”

Hailing from Bridgeport and growing up a mile away from the 12,000-square-foot baseball facility he now operates in Trumbull on Lindeman Drive, Torres admits that what drives him every day is the opportunity to pass something on to his players — to create a positive impact by teaching them a skill they can use to improve their game or by teaching them a lesson they can use to improve themselves outside of it.

He played in three College World Series as a pitcher at the University of Alabama and was twice named as an All-American, posting an outstanding 21-4 career record. He said he uses his experiences on the ball field as a learning tool for his students when they ask about his career, but that he doesn’t like to blurt out or show off his accomplishments.

“They like to hear what it takes to play at that level, whether it’s the University of Alabama or a Division III school,” he said. “I try to explain to them that there’s a process and it takes a tremendous amount of self discipline and commitment. It’s not easy; it’s a full-time job.”

And what makes the journey difficult is that it’s a job that requires round-the-clock persistence — on the field and off it.

That’s why Torres has all of his players focus on being overall student-athletes, rather than just focusing on hitting, pitching and fielding.

“I always preach, ‘Mom and dad wake up to go to work, to serve you, to have a better life; your job is to go to school and get an education,’” he said. “Baseball is an after-school activity, and that’s an important a message we try to repeat often here.”

And the message is more than just words.

In a conference room that’s part of his facility, Torres plans to host SAT prep courses for student athletes who are eligible as well as other tutoring services for younger players.

“We want this to be a community center that obviously uses baseball and softball as a driving force to get kids aware of what it takes to be a full-time student athlete,” he said.

Pillars of success

After his playing days at Alabama, Torres earned a stint in the minor leagues with the Cincinnati Reds before succumbing to his second shoulder surgery in three seasons.

He played his way into the professional ranks on a healthy diet of self-discipline, attention to detail, and commitment to routine — some of the founding pillars of Technique Tigers Baseball.

The others, displayed above the playing grounds before players enter for their training, are listen, effort, and respect.

“I set the tone with those rules and I stand firm with that,” said Torres, who runs the operation with longtime assistant coaches Ramon Sanchez and Vinny Arjune.

“My delivery to the kids is honest, and I think that’s why they respond to me,” he added. “I don’t sugarcoat anything — I’m honest off the bat and I expect effort from everyone who comes in here.”

Before he committed to play in Tuscaloosa, Torres was offered a pro contract from the Texas Rangers, who selected him in the 28th round of the 1995 Amateur Baseball Draft, but he decided to go to college.

After his second surgery, he said, he could have continued to follow his lifelong dreams of being a professional ballplayer, but ultimately he chose the “guaranteed route.”

“I didn’t want to be that guy rehabbing trying to come back to something that wasn’t guaranteed,

especially when I was only nine credits away from getting my degree at Alabama,” he said.

“I left with my head held high, knowing that I worked my butt off my whole life and gave it everything I had,” he added. “It wasn’t in the cards for me.”

He admits that when he first returned home he wanted nothing to do with baseball.

A multi-sport athlete who also played basketball at St. Joseph High School, Torres began working with kids in juvenile detention centers and group homes before starting to coach basketball with his mentor Jim Olayos, who ran and operated Future Stars Basketball Academy.

Slowly but surely, he found himself splitting time between coaching kids in both the sports he grew up playing before ultimately starting his own business as a baseball instructor.

“Once I started with baseball, I found a passion for it again,” he said. “Eventually, I was teaching kids about more than just the game — I was teaching them about life — and I found out that I was pretty good at it.”

Fantasy ride

Despite his short reprieve from the sport, Torres looks back at his baseball playing days with nothing but a smile.

“High school was a lot of fun,” he recalled. “It wasn’t as regimented as college.”

As a Cadet, he was selected to Connecticut’s All-State Team twice, in 1994 and 1995.

“I was just a kid out there enjoying the game, “ he said. “I remember going out to the field and having 12 to 15 major league scouts watching me — that was something I always dreamed of ever since I was a little boy.”

In the Southeastern Conference (SEC), the fast-throwing pitcher found success right away when he was named as an All-American and All-SEC First Team member as a freshman in 1996.

That year, the Tide took home the SEC Championship — an accomplishment they would achieve twice more, in 1997 and 1999, with Torres on the mound.

“I call it a fantasy ride,” he said of his Alabama days. “To be part of the greatest four-year span in the history of University of Alabama baseball and having a role in it makes it even more special. …

“Coming from a small city like Bridgeport, to play in such a powerful conference and play against the best players in the country and play a major part in the success of the program was unbelievable,” he added. “You can’t replace those days. I look back to playing there and it was just amazing.”

Dream space

The first decade as a coach and an instructor were a bit of a challenge for Torres, whose business bounced around without a home from Shelton to Stratford.

In a story that would mimic the “if you build it, they will come” magical mantra from the 1989 film Field of Dreams, the facility in Trumbull is Technique Tigers’ first physical location — an opportunity that the former pitcher couldn’t pass up.

“This town is so baseball rich,” he said, recalling Trumbull’s past glory on the diamond.

“When my broker called me up and said, ‘Manny I have the perfect space,’ I said to him, ‘Don’t tell me you have 25 Lindeman.’ He paused on the other end of the phone and said, ‘How did you know that?’ I told him,’Because that’s the only perfect space for something like this. …

“I used to work here as a pitching instructor when it was Sports Palace of Trumbull about 10 years ago when I first started out,” he added. “It’s cool I ended up right where I started.”

Inside the building, Torres and his coaches help softball and baseball players ranging in age from 6 to 18. He offers team rental services as well as conditional programs for travel teams, ages 10 through 18.

He would like to have an indoor softball hitting league for adults as well as other training programs and already hosts college players who are home on winter break.

“This is a premier, year-round training facility,” he said. “And with the weather the way it usually is up here in the Northeast, it’s a great opportunity for us to expand our program offerings in the winter when kids can’t be outside.”

As for equipment, Torres has plenty, including 10 batting cages that move around for defense and open up for long-toss throwing. In addition, he has three mounds and three pitching tunnels, as well as four crossover symmetry stations for arm care.

“Being a victim of two shoulder surgeries, something that cut my career short, I always preach using the bands,” he said.

Poster child

While Torres is proud of the facility’s physical attributes, it’s what he offers to his players when they step off the turf field that sets him apart from other baseball programs.

On the door outside the conference room that will be used to tutor students is an essay written by one of Torres’ former players, John Natoli, who exemplified another one of Technique Tigers Baseball’s virtues.

“Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard,” Torres said of the Natoli letter.

“John went from being the 15th person on the roster and became one of the best players we’ve ever had,” he added. “He’s become the poster child for the program — not only for his improvement as a player, but in academics.”

The classroom and the baseball diamond are never too apart in Torres’ mind, and that’s why he appreciates that Natoli not only rose up the ranks of his travel baseball team, but he did so while gaining acceptance to Cornell University. The note hanging outside the room is his acceptance letter to the school, in which he talks about his struggles as a baseball player and how he overcame them through the lessons he learned at Technique Tigers.

“We’re proud we had such an influence on him to write something of that magnitude and to get accepted into one of the highest-ranking schools in the country and play on their team,” Torres said. “It’s really the perfect story. The kid has been an underdog his whole life and now he’s going to Cornell University — that’s something that will take him a lot further in life than any sport could ever do.”

Full circle

Natoli’s story isn’t the only one that could be labeled complete.

Everything has came full circle for Torres, and he recognizes the opportunity he’s been given.

The former St. Joseph High School standout is now teaching youth in the town he once played in, in a facility he once instructed in, and in a building he lived only a mile from when he was a baseball-crazed kid.

“I used to live down the street from here on Stone Ridge Road, behind Trumbull Gardens, and to be in this position and touch this many lives all the time, it’s very gratifying,” Torres said.

It’s been a journey — a fantasy ride, as the All-American pitcher likes to say — that leaves the door open to a lot of potential going forward.

“I think the kids respond to me well because I’ve been there and I genuinely care about their development,” he said. “At the end of the day, I don’t care about winning and losing; I care about the development of their skill set and how they develop as a person — that’s more important to me than anything. …

“I tell them that I can’t let them outside the door without giving them a message — I wouldn’t be able to sleep that night, I wouldn’t feel good about myself,” he said. “It results in some long-winded speeches, but they definitely listen.”

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Manny Torres finds his field of dreams in Technique Tigers Baseball Academy Mon, 01 Jun 2020 19:46:42 +0000

“I’ve been playing baseball since I was six,” recalled Manny Torres. “My passion has always been playing the game.”

While Torres always had enthusiasm, he also had talent. As a student at Bridgeport’s St. Joseph High School, his pitching won him the Connecticut Gatorade Player of the Year and USA Today Connecticut Player of the Year in 1995. At the University of Alabama, he played in three College World Series as a pitcher and was twice named as an All-American. 

After college he played in the Cincinnati Reds’ minor league system, but in 2000 a severe shoulder injury required surgery and his dreams of professional baseball abruptly ended.

“I didn’t want anything to do with baseball for a long time,” Torres recalled, adding that his self-imposed exile from the game put him “in a really dark place.” Realizing that his life was missing the structure and discipline that baseball provided him, he decided to start a new chapter in helping young players pursue their sports dreams.

“I started getting into coaching by working with baseball clinics,” he said. “I fell in love with the game again.”

But unlike Torres’ experience of rising through the school baseball ranks, he recognized that many Bridgeport-area youth had limited opportunities to enjoy the game if they weren’t star players.

“In 2004 and 2005, I went around the parks and realized there were not a lot of kids playing baseball in July or August,” he explained. “If you weren’t on the Little League All-Star Team, you did not play. I wanted to start a developmental league for kids that didn’t make All-Stars and were home and not playing.”

This concept grew into Torres’ Technique Tiger Baseball Academy, which launched in 2005 with 60 kids divided between four teams that played each other on an in-house basis. Bridgeport’s Jewish Community Center offered Torres an unused field in the rear of its property for the summertime games, and allowed Torres and his youthful players to drill and practice inside during the autumn and winter months.

After the first year, things began to grow very quickly. “It just kind of bubbled into one travel team the following year, and (enrollment rose to) 85 and then 100,” he said. “Several years later, we had four travel teams.”

Torres eventually sought out his own facility. In August 2015 he leased a 12,000-square-foot space at 25 Lindeman Drive in Trumbull for indoor training, complete with 10 tunnels and three full mounds; he plans to expand later this year into a 1,200-square-foot space upstairs on the property. Outdoor training is held at Veterans Park in Bridgeport.

The Technique Tigers training program runs 11 months, from December to October. Sessions are held three days a week in the late afternoon and early evenings, and Torres relies on one full-time coach and 10 volunteer coaches to provide guidance.

The academy divides its teams by age, with 12 to 13 boys per team. Nine teams travel during the spring and summer, taking on baseball organizations throughout the state and in Long Island, Massachusetts and Delaware. “We’re looking to go to Virginia and Florida in the fall with a group of 18 year olds that we have,” Torres noted.

He recently added training for a girls’ softball team, which “gives us a diversity of athletes,” he said. 

Torres stated that while training exercises focus on speed and agility, he also stresses to his players that baseball is a team sport and self-important attitudes have no place on the diamond. “We set the tone with our founding rules: listen, effort and respect,” he said. “Once we give them that spiel, the kids do a good job in policing themselves on that.”

Another aspect of the game that Torres emphasizes is the emotional reality that players cannot win every game. “Baseball is a tough sport,” he admitted. “You will fail a lot more than you will succeed. We do a lot of mental training and assure our players that they’re going to get frustrated, as well as showing them how to respond to that.”

Torres charges an annual fee of $2,600 for players aged 11 to 18 and $1,600 for those 10 and under. “It’s not bad,” he said. “We over-deliver. We practice three days a week, with the practice sessions from two to two-and-a-half hours, so we definitely give the parents the bang for the buck. I know a lot of local programs charge more and deliver less.”

Since he started coaching, Torres has watched some of his former students go on to play college ball at Cornell, Fordham and Norfolk State University. His most notable student is Matthew Batten, who is now playing in the Double-A team connected with the San Diego Padres. 

As for himself, Torres said he is grateful for his second chance at the game and his efforts to help youngsters find their strength and sense of purpose. He cited a quote from the legendary Roberto Clemente as a daily reminder of his own value.

“I have this tattooed on my leg,” he said. “It says, ‘Any time you have an opportunity to make a difference in this world and you don’t, then you are wasting your time on Earth.’”

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Minor Leagues: Shelton’s Matt Batten keeps battin’ at every level Mon, 01 Jun 2020 19:44:52 +0000

There aren’t many baseball players with a more appropriate last name than Matt Batten.

Everywhere he’s gone, he’s hit. From helping lead Shelton National to the 2008 Little League World Series, through his years as a standout at St. Joseph’s High, to his four years at Quinnipiac, where he set the school’s all-time career hits record, Batten has proved he’s more than adept at … well, battin’.

Now that he’s a professional in his second season in the San Diego Padres’ organization, that hasn’t changed. Batten has hit a robust .341 for High-A Lake Elsinore, and that’s been good enough to earn him a recent promotion to Double-A — marking his third different level of ball this season and fifth since the Padres selected him in the 32nd round of last year’s MLB draft.

“So far, so good,” the soft-spoken Shelton native said earlier in the week, prior to his most recent promotion. “I’m putting together good at-bats, and fortunate balls are finding some holes right now.”

Batten found himself in a fortunate position earlier this season, and took advantage of it. He began the year in extended spring training, a victim of the numbers game. But when the Padres went down to Mexico to play the Dodgers from May 4-6, they called up a few players from Triple-A and needed to fill some spots at that level.

Batten, who was at the Padres’ spring training complex in Peoria, Arizona, got the call to join Triple-A El Paso, which was playing a four-game series in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Less than a year removed from playing home games at Quinnipiac Baseball Field, Batten was one level away from the big leagues.

“I thought I’d be a little nervous,” he recalled, “but I was excited to go up there and play at a very high level.”

Batten started two of the games and had six at-bats. And though he managed just one hit, he walked four times and scored a pair of runs.

“That was an awesome experience,” he said. “It was cool to see how those higher-level guys go about their business, to see what to do, what not to do. It was a great learning experience.”

Batten was optioned down to Lake Elsinore after the series and has been hot ever since, notching a hit in each of his first seven games, including three on May 15 against Inland Empire. On Thursday, he was promoted to Double-A San Antonio.

“My whole thing, especially now with so many talented players, is to be competitive at all times, every at-bat,” he said. “Whatever happens, happens, as long as I give everything I’ve got and try to outwork the pitcher.”

He’s also been the ultimate utility infielder, logging one start at first base, three at second, two at shortstop and three at third base so far.

Batten, 22, finished off a tremendous career at Quinnipiac a year ago. He not only notched the program’s total hits record (249) but also stolen bases (65), and tied the school’s Division 1 record for career runs scored (139). He put together a 25-game hitting streak as a sophomore and became the first player in school history to record at least 50 hits in all four seasons of his career.

He was drafted by the Padres last June and reported to rookie league. In 49 games between rookie ball and short-season Class-A, Batten hit .241.

“I was happy with everything,” he said, “but I was more excited because I knew what I had to work on in the offseason. I was ready to make adjustments, because my numbers weren’t where I wanted them to be.”

This year, he spent almost all of his first spring training in minor league camp, but got an unexpected call-up as a reserve for the big-league team in its final Cactus League game. Batten played the last two innings at second base and drew a walk in his lone at-bat.

Even better, his parents, John and Linda Batten, had flown in that day and were at the game.

Batten followed from afar, with pride, as Quinnipiac surprised everybody by finishing second in the MAAC this season, despite losing Batten and fellow MLB draftee Robbie Hitt to graduation.

“From when we first got there to when we left, we did a good job of leaving the program in a better place,” Batten said. “That means a lot, because the coaches are bringing in different kids with similar personalities. Coach (John) Delaney knows what he’s looking for. There have been no backwards steps at all.”

Now, Matt Batten is battin’ his way forward in his own professional career.

“Obviously, the end goal is you want to make it all the way to the big leagues,” he said. “Every day, I’m making sure everything I’m doing is working towards that, not taking it for granted. Just continue to grind and work my way towards my main goal.”


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Batten’s bat providing consistency in Chihuahuas lineup Mon, 01 Jun 2020 19:37:12 +0000

With some of baseball’s top prospects in the El Paso Chihuahuas’ lineup, it is easy for a guy like Matthew Batten to get lost in the mix. Batten’s power numbers might not jump out at you and his style of play is not exactly flashy, but the utility man does all the little things right.

Batten, 23, was a 32nd round draft pick by the San Diego Padres in 2017. You will not see his name on any of baseball’s publications for top prospects in 2019, but he is quickly rising through the Padres farm system and turning a lot of scouts’ heads in the process.

The Quinnipiac College standout is hitting .352 this season with the Chihuahuas and is flying under the radar with players like Luis Urias, Ty France, Josh Naylor, Austin Allen, and others in the lineup throughout the year.

“Each day I get to go out there and play,” said Batten. “It’s nice to have some of those guys in the lineup that draw a lot of the attention. It helps me get a few more pitches to hit.”

The Padres’ farm system was ranked No. 1 is baseball this season by multiple media outlets. The San Diego front office has also made splashes in free agency the past couple years making Batten’s road to the big leagues a little more challenging.

“With guys like that, as a coach, you try to explain to them to forget about the labels,” said Chihuahuas manager Edwin Rodriguez. “You need to forget about the prospects, non-prospects and you just keep playing.”

That is what Batten has done all season long. He has delivered in big situations with his bat and his glove.

“For me, he’s the MVP of the team. Everywhere I put him, whether it’s first, second, short, left field, third base, he plays everywhere,” said Rodriguez. “Offensively, he has the ability to put the bat on the ball. He always makes contact.”

Batten played for Rodriguez last season in Single-A Lake Elsinore, but has made major adjustments to his swing since arriving in El Paso last month.

“I’m just putting in a lot of work with Morgan {Burkhart} and Lance {Burkhart} here has helped me tremendously,” said Batten. “I had a few different tweaks I had to make and I can see them, especially right now, starting to unfold and help me produce a little bit.”

The Chihuahuas will play a double-header on Monday in Fresno. El Paso is currently 31-18, 4.5-games up on Las Vegas for first place in the PCL Pacific Southern Division.

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Matt Batten’s Adventurous First Year in Pro Ball Mon, 01 Jun 2020 19:00:46 +0000

Matt Batten has lived up to his surname in professional baseball.

Batten was the Padres 32nd round pick, 948th player taken overall, in the 2017 Major League Baseball Draft. The right-handed batter was drafted as a shortstop after his senior season with Quinnipiac University. According to Doug Bonjour with the ctpost, Batten holds multiple school records, including 249 career hits and 65 stolen bases. Matt also tied the school’s record for runs scored with 139.

The 23 year old became a professional baseball player when he signed with the Padres for $1,000. That number is as low as it is because of his draft position, but also because college seniors don’t have as much leverage in negotiations. If the player wants to play professional baseball, then they’ll take the money. If not, then the team only lost a late round draft pick.

Being drafted where he was, I think most scouts would instantly label him an “organizational player.” That is mostly used as a derogatory term meant for guys that are just on minor league rosters to give the actual prospects the occasional rest. In only one year since being drafted, Matt Batten has played for every Padres minor league affiliate except low-A Fort Wayne. While some of that organizational player term is suitable for Batten, he has put up some numbers that prove he shouldn’t be disregarded.

Matt’s first stop in professional baseball would be the Arizona League where he slashed .263/.336/.394 for a .730 OPS in 110 plate appearances. He moved up to the Padres short-season team, the Tri-City Dust Devils, for the final month of his 2017 season. In 77 plate appearances with Tri-City, Matt slashed .206/.338/.238 for a .576 OPS. That left him with a season slash line of .241/.337/.333 for a .670 OPS across the two levels. Matt played mostly second base in his first season, but mixed in a couple of games at the hot corner.

Batten started the 2018 season in what I’m sure was a disappointing circumstance for him. He was left off all the minor league full-season rosters and assigned to extended spring training in Arizona. When the Padres needed an extra player for their series against the Dodgers in Mexico, they called up shortstop Javy Guerra from Triple-A El Paso. That left a roster spot open in El Paso for.. Matt Batten?

After not playing a single game over short season in 2017, the first actual game Matt played in 2018 was in Triple-A. His stay in El Paso was short lived as Javy Guerra was sent back down after the Padres three-game series in Mexico. In the two games Matt appeared in he accumulated 10 plate appearances. He reached base in five of them, recording one hit and four walks.

After that, Batten was transferred to high-A Lake Elsinore. Matt appeared in 13 games for the Storm and amassed 47 plate appearances. In the short amount of time, his slash line was .341/.426/.390 for an OPS of .816. He recorded at least one hit in each of his first six games and in 10 of 13 games he appeared in. One of those games he came in as a defensive replacement and didn’t record a plate appearance.

Matt is currently in Double-A with the San Antonio Missions. He has now appeared in 14 games (three of those as a defensive replacement and didn’t record a plate appearance) and accumulated 41 plate appearances. His slash line is sitting at .278/.350/.417 for a .767 OPS. Batten has again played mostly second base in 2018, appearing in 11 games and starting 10 of them at the position. He has played eight games at shortstop, starting seven of them. He has been the designated hitter in three games.

While Batten hasn’t shown much power in his short career, hitting only two home runs, he has shown the ability to get on base. His career minor league slash line is currently .261/.359/.351 in 285 plate appearances. He has only attempted 10 stolen bases, being successful in eight of those. Not bad for a guy that was a 32nd round draft pick.

The Padres have had success developing late round draft picks in A.J. Preller’s tenure as general manager. You can point to Phil Maton, who was taken in the 20th round. Ty France, a 34th round pick, is currently starting in Double-A for the Missions and proving that he has some on-base ability himself. Matt Batten hasn’t had as much opportunity as some other players, but he certainly has made the most of the ones he’s received. I look forward to watching his career unfold.

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Me Versus Me, Me Versus You! Mon, 18 May 2020 15:25:20 +0000

Welcome to Tigers Coach Blog at our staff and I are super excited to provide our followers, fans, parents, players and youth baseball coaches a content page to help our baseball community, one post at a time.  At Technique the model has always been, improve daily, win everyday, work hard, have fun, etc. etc.  Training youth athletes on a daily basis is what we do here at 25 Lindeman Drive Trumbull, CT. 06611, in our 12,000 square foot facility we feature 9 batting tunnels, 3 pro mounds, 20 foot ceilings, all tunnels can move to open up our space to execute team defense, skill work, long toss and all your youth baseball training needs under one roof!  We also have a baseball specific weight room to make sure our athletes are implementing resistant training into regimens along with speed agility and quickness.  All of these amenities are available to all players that are part of the Technique Tigers Baseball Academy, the longest tenure travel baseball program in Fairfield County, CT.

BUT LETS FACE IT…… can build the Taj Mahal of baseball training facility but if the staff that makes up the atmosphere, environment or culture in your training facility are not skilled at communicating and teaching, its going to be a tough road ahead.  TTBA holds to three founding rules:  LISTEN, EFFORT & RESPECT!  Our training style is systematically structured to allow all player to improve skill sets over-time.  We believe preparation is the key to success in anything you do in life.


Let’s get something very clear, becoming a skilled pitcher is VERY difficult.  I do not want to start out this post being “negative nancy” or come across as being pessimistic.  I am speaking the truth with love and you need to understand that pitching in baseball is a battle that happens simultaneously and you need to learn to have fun with it and COMPETE ALL THE TIME!  The me versus me and the me versus you, a pitcher battles everyday.  This battle is the reason for the 100 dry reps per day, the extra arm care, the extra long toss session, the extra throws to a target.  The continuous battle is exhilarating when its going well and humiliating when it’s going bad!  Are you prepared to compete twice on everything?

Many layers to becoming a great pitcher.  It’s a journey to find what is RIGHT.  That’s the ultimate question, WHAT IS RIGHT?  In the life of an athlete, we are consistently trying to find ways to compete, be efficient and improve.  The goal is to be the best, win, conquer, overcome…….. no one tells you that as a pitcher you have to do that TWICE times!   

Me versus me, me versus you…. the constant battle.  To be a pitcher you have to love the mental challenge of competing against yourself (mentally) and against a batter (physically).  The love of doing this needs to be natural in order to get the most of your ability.  As an athlete you have to commit to the win twice approach, when a pitcher  genuinely loves that challenge that’s when he will experience the bliss, zen of being a dominant pitcher.  He will work harder towards his goals, it will not feel like work, it will feel fun, peaceful and RIGHT! 

“Throw strikes”,  simple focused statement, specific and detailed!  The name of the game “throw strikes” sounds easy, correct?  In baseball a pitcher throws a ball across home plate and the hitter attempts to hit the thrown ball somewhere into the field of play.  This is called a contest, at a contest people, COMPETE!  Keep it simple as a pitcher, you must be ready to compete, twice times!  A pitcher works everyday to develop the ability to consistently throw strikes in different areas of the strike zone to make it more difficult for the hitter to hit.  This requires skill and is difficult to do it consistently.  Unfortunately, internal pressure (me versus me) and external pressure (me versus you) kicks in, mechanics get out of sink, negative thoughts creep in and your courage is challenged.  As a pitcher you have to possess courage, if you start the throw the ball with fear you will not locate well and that usually results in a mistake.  Pitching is a difficult skill to master, not every pitch has to be a strike, a ball can be used to set up a strike later in that at bat.  A pitcher need to have courage to throw strikes and give him and his teammates the best chance to win the game!

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Desire is King! Mon, 18 May 2020 15:20:43 +0000

Desire is King!  A pitcher must have the desire to do well and desire to compete, internal and external. Compete twice; be ready to have courage when throwing and locating the baseball. The mental battle within needs to be maintained. When you are able to maintain the internal competition, the focus shifts to the physical battle with the hitter. The fun part is executing pitches, locating the ball where the barrel misses and controlling the tempo of a baseball game.  Pitching a baseball is a special skill, each pitch is different and all pitches have a purpose in a baseball game.

During my days playing at the University of Alabama, coach Jim Wells in his “red book” explained to our teams that the outcome of a baseball game is determined on 7 pitches on each side of the ball. As a young player, when I first heard such a thing, I was lost!  Coach Wells was a technician with building mental toughness within all the baseball athletes during my four year run in Tuscaloosa 96′-99′. Our team motto one year was “one pitch at a time”. Our main focus as a group was, “one pitch at a time” meaning: focus on now and pay attention to details. This approach resulted in four years of winning,  and winning is fun. So learn how to focus on each pitch.

Baseball players are very superstitious and the mental game is very important. Players at every level need to understand the importance of the mental game. What might have been abnormal years ago, might be considered the proper way players approach practice and implement the mental game. Anyone who has played or has coached the game, somewhere along his journey as a player or coach has seen teammates and players work on mental practices. Baseball teams and coaches are hiring sports psychologist to provide players with coping strategies and exposing them to methods for improving consistently.  

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