Matt Holliday looking forward to the challenges of a new position and a new league
Holliday did spend a little time at first base last season for the first time in his career, and within that, he had to learn a whole new set of basics and nuances with the new position. There really aren't any new basics to being a DH, per se - in the end, it's still hitting, something Holliday has done nearly 7,500 times in his career - but there is one huge nuance to learn: how to deal with all the in-game down time.
"I kind of have to come with some strategies on how to stay warm and ready," Holliday admitted, "but I'll be ready to do whatever they ask. My job is to be prepared and do whatever they ask me to do, and I'll do the best that I can with that."
Holliday may still occasionally play the outfield or even first base, both of which he naturally said he'd be ready for, but in his role as the DH, he's going to have to adjust not only to a new position, but also an entirely new set of opponents.
That, he says, is where his reliance on video will help this spring.
"There's some big advantage to having video, especially with moving into a new division and getting acquainted to some of the new pitching in the American League," he said. "I can use it to look at whoever is starting, and look at some patterns to see what guys' pitches look like, so maybe I can expedite the process of getting to be familiar with the pitching in the AL East."
Despite the fact that pitchers do move leagues and new ones debut all the time, it's natural that having this large of a sub-set of new territory means a huge adjustment all at once. But as he reiterated that's where the video will help, and the ability to make in-game adjustments will be one of the benefits to Holliday of all that in-game down time that a DH could have.
"I think you're always more comfortable in situations where you've seen the pitcher; there were guys we faced all the time in the National League Central, and you know what their pitches look like, so there's a comfort level in that," he said. "But, I think that it shouldn't take me too long (to get up to speed); like I said, hopefully the video will expedite that, and then once you've seen it once or twice with your own eyes, you can kind of get moving a little faster."
And once Holliday does get moving, well, he's hoping to be able to use his opposite-field power to take advantage of one very big nuance of his new home stadium.
"That short porch in right field? It's exciting," he smiled. "Playing in St. Louis, it was a big ballpark and not easy, so you had to earn all your homers. Hopefully, here, I'll get a few that just miss to right and right-center, but they'll get over the fence where otherwise they would've been outs…I'm excited for that!"