While Yadier Molina and Michael Wacha have garnered the headlines of late in Springfield, when you ask teammates and coaches who on the Double-A squad is the guy that hasn’t been talked about enough the consensus was Cody Stanley.
Drafted in the fourth round of 2010, the 25-year old Stanley has seen his game come together not just with the bat but also behind the plate this season.
“Cody’s really grown in a lot of areas,” commented Springfield manager Mike Shildt. “Defensively, he’s really cleaner. He’s towards the league leader if not leading the league in stolen base percentage–he’s thrown out about 44% of the runners (27-61). He’s blocking really well. He’s given up the least amount of passed balls, along with Travis Tartamella in the league.”
The Texas League All-Star MVP in 2014, Stanley entered Thursday with a .291 batting average to go with 12 home runs and 42 runs batted in.
“He’s always been able to swing the bat, but he was more pull conscious and what he’s learned to do over the course of time is have a more consistent approach,” explained Shildt, noting that teams that shifted to the pull-side for Stanley early in the season are now playing straight up defense as he has shown the ability to drive the ball the other way.
“If you have the same approach every at-bat and they know you’re not trying to do anything special with the ball,” shared Stanley. “You don’t pull-out, you don’t try to pull it–you stay with the approach of getting a ball up to drive no matter where it is on the plate. As the at-bat goes on and you face a pitchers over time, you can start eliminating pitches and that’s when they have to start playing you honestly because they know you’re not going to chase.”
Stanley gives a great amount of credit to Springfield hitting coach Erik Pappas for his work on a daily basis to help with that consistent routine at the plate–and behind hit.
“He knows the game–he knows the game as a catcher, he knows the game as a hitter. Because he was a catcher he can help us pitch selections as well with our pitchers and the communications with them. There’s nothing better to have than a catcher helping you hit, helping you catch, helping you with the pitching staff. We’ve been lucky–Mike Matheny, did the same thing my first year–he was the catching rover. Having him back to help us out, it was unbelievable.”
Another step forward in Stanley’s development was the departure of teammate and good friend James Ramsey, who was traded the end of July. The outfielder was the team leader and with his exit, Stanley and fellow catcher Travis Tartamella found themselves with a larger role to fill in the clubhouse.
“We did step into a louder, more vocal leadership role but our actions have always spoken out loud here,” admitted Stanley. “(Ramsey) leaving helped us make strides. As we move forward in our careers, we’re gonna have to do that anyway. It’s good that it came sooner than later, but we put ourselves in a good spot.”
The Texas League announced on Thursday that Stanley–and Ramsey were two of 12 position players named to their Post-Season All-Star squad.