No More Restrictions For Card’s Lance Jeffries
TheCardinalNation.com asked the question Cardinal fans were seeking an answer to last August, “Where Is Lance?” This question came up since the Card’s 2011 draft product out of McCluer High School in Ferguson Missouri, Lance Jeffries, had not appeared in a game for the short-season Johnson City Cardinals since July 24th. Lance missed out on the last month and a half of the season and there was no injury involved. While reports never came out about why Lance was gone, Cardinal nation eventually learned he was placed on the restricted list.
The restricted list is used in different scenarios, but entails a player not being able to play in a game for a certain amount of time. In most cases it means the whole season, or remainder of a season for a player. Lance told me, “I had an altercation with one of my best buddies on my team and it led to some unprofessional actions.” Luckily for Lance, he is completely past it and has learned from the experience. “Not playing baseball everyday, it kinda killed me,” Lance explained. He spent most of his time in the cages after hitting the restricted list and is now focused on improving a few elements of his game in preperation for what could be a breakout season for the 20 year old speedster.
Lance is entering his 4th experience in the minors. He joined the Gulf Coast League after he ran with his mom around his house screaming when he heard he had been drafted in 2011. “The Cardinals were sneaky in drafting me,” Lance said. He thought he was going to be a Kansas City Royal, but the Cards snuck in and snagged him in the 10th round. He then spent 2012 and 2013 in Johnson City. In both his first two seasons in the minors, Lance boasted an OBP of 100 points higher than his average showing his on base skills. Does that mean he will forever be a .250 hitter in the minors while getting on base at a .350 clip? [quote]“I feel like I can be a .300 hitter because my hitting coach my first year, Oliver Marmol, taught me how to take walks, and now I am working this offseason to learn to adjust to the curveball” [/quote]
Could his lower batting average be blamed on his inability to hit the curveball thus far? “I feel like If I improve my hitting on curveballs even 20 or 30 points, I feel like I will be a much bigger threat at the plate”.
Lance is known for his speed, and despite a crowded outfield for the Cardinal minor leaguers he has a chance to breakout this season. Fans may look for him to start 2014 in the Midwest League playing for the Peoria Chiefs. Lance sported a .256 average in 2011, a .220 in 2012, and a .235 in 2013 despite boasting as high as a .370 OBP in 2012; a whole 150 points higher than his average. With his speed, hitting tools, and improving approach against curveballs we may be hearing about the 5’ 9” outfielder much more this upcoming season. Did I mention? He also tells Jack who his favorite artists are, his current tv shows, and even talks about Call Of Duty briefly in the final seconds of the show. No matter where Lance ends up next season, his first and most important step was to get off the restricted list. He is now off and is ready to begin his journey. He admits he stills gets goosebumps thinking about playing in such an organization as the Cardinals.