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Washington Nationals Minors: Getting To Know Auburn Doubledays' 1B Jimmy Yezzo

The Washington Nationals drafted University of Delaware first baseman Jimmy Yezzo in the seventh round of this June's draft and sent him to the Auburn Doubledays to start learning the pro game. Doubledays beat writer Jeremy Houghtaling provides an update on his development.

Washington Nationals' 2013 7th Round pick Jimmy Yezzo works on the basepaths with the Auburn Doubledays
Washington Nationals' 2013 7th Round pick Jimmy Yezzo works on the basepaths with the Auburn Doubledays
Photo © Jeremy Houghtaling

Jimmy Yezzo's college statistics were eye-catching.

As a junior at the University of Delaware, the first baseman led the conference with a .410 batting average, and he registered 96 hits -- 43 for extra bases -- and 64 RBI in 55 games. Those numbers got the attention of the Washington Nationals, who drafted the Cherry Hill, N.J. native in the seventh round of this year's draft.

Assigned to the Auburn Doubledays to begin his professional career, Yezzo is refining his talents in the batter's box against better competition.

"He knows how to hit, there's no doubt about that," said Doubledays manager Gary Cathcart. "Now we have to turn him into a professional hitter, as opposed to a good college hitter."

"He knows how to hit, there's no doubt about that," said Doubledays manager Gary Cathcart. "Now we have to turn him into a professional hitter." -Gary Catchart on Jimmy Yezzo

That process begins by working on Yezzo's discipline at the plate, and teaching the left-handed batter to wait for good pitches to hit.

"He's one of those guys who's such a good hitter and has been so successful, he thinks he can hit every pitch, no matter where it is," Cathcart said. "So sometimes he expands his zone a little too much."

"Since I've been in pro ball, I've been figuring out when to be aggressive, and when to wait and pick out a certain pitch," Yezzo said. There has been progress. Yezzo batted .318 in June, but is up to .390 in his last 10 games. Five of his seven RBI have come in the last seven games.

"I've been figuring out when to be aggressive, and when to wait and pick out a certain pitch," Yezzo said. -Jimmy Yezzo on adjusting to pro game

The 21-year-old has shown flashes of power, and registered one home run and two doubles in his first 16 pro games.

"It's coming along," Yezzo said. "It's improved since the first couple of games."

It could be a matter of getting acquainted with his new environment and routine. Like any new professional, Yezzo is getting used to playing every day.

"He's settling in as a professional," Cathcart said. "There's a lot thrown at these guys."

Although he doesn't fit the typical mold of a power-hitting first baseman, Cathcart believes Yezzo is performing better than his 6-foot, 200-pound frame would normally suggest.

"He doesn't look like the prototypical baseball player," Cathcart said. "He's not 6-3, 220 (pounds), but the kid knows how to hit."