As part of MLBPipeline.com's visit to all 30 Spring Training facilities, we'll be sitting down with prospects and getting to know them a little better. At Phillies camp, it was No. 10 prospect Cornelius Randolph.CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Cornelius Randolph was the Phillies' first-round Draft pick in the 2015 Draft, taken
As part of MLBPipeline.com's visit to all 30 Spring Training facilities, we'll be sitting down with prospects and getting to know them a little better. At Phillies camp, it was No. 10 prospect Cornelius Randolph.
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Cornelius Randolph was the Phillies' first-round Draft pick in the 2015 Draft, taken No. 10 overall. The Georgia high school standout had an uneven first full season of pro ball in '16, missing time with a shoulder injury while playing for Lakewood in the Class A South Atlantic League.
MLBPipeline.com: It's your second Spring Training now. How much more comfortable are you? How is this year different for you?
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Randolph: I'm a lot more comfortable. My first year, I was trying to press, trying to make my presence felt, I guess. Now, I feel a part of the organization, I feel comfortable. I can take my time and work on things with the coaches and prepare for the season. Last year, I was trying hard to make sure I made that club in Lakewood. This year, I know I'm going somewhere. I just need to work on some things to make sure I'm ready for the season wherever I go, so I can hit the ground running.
MLBPipeline.com: What are some of those things you are working on this spring? You've always had a middle-away approach at the plate, but it looks like you're working on pulling the ball more?
Randolph: I'm working on some small things. On defense, I'm working on my first step. In the cages, I'm working on the fact that my bat head is moving too much right now. I just need to calm that down. Other than that, I'm getting at-bats and getting my timing down. My plan now is when I see a ball middle-in, if I get a fastball, I'm trying to barrel the ball. I have more time and space to try to turn on the ball now. The power is going to be there, I'm not too worried about that. I'm more concerned with just barreling the ball. The more balls I barrel, the more chance I have to hit home runs. It's one of those things, the more I grow and the older I get, the stronger I get, the more home runs I'll hit.
MLBPipeline.com: You were a shortstop in high school and made the move to left as a pro. How has that transition been going? Do you miss playing on the dirt at all?
Randolph: I feel like it's gotten a lot better. It's going to keep getting better. I feel like I'm in a good spot now. I'm going to continue to work on it, continue to make sure my defensive game gets better. I feel pretty good about it. I was a shortstop all of my life, so of course I'm going to miss playing there, but I have bought in to playing the outfield. I'm working on it every day, getting my first step down, taking good routes. I'm doing what I need to do out there.
MLBPipeline.com: Last year was a bit of an up-and-down year for you. In many ways, it's the first time you had failure, plus you had to deal with your shoulder injury. What did you learn from the experience?
Randolph: I learned how to separate a game. I learned that I need to separate my time at the plate with my defense. If you strike out at the plate, you can't take that with you out on defense, because you'll make mistakes out there. You're going to struggle, I learned that. There are only a handful of guys who don't. It's going to take time. You have to wipe it off and keep going. With the injury, I learned that I have to take care of my body. As an 18-year-old, I thought I could just stretch a little and be good. Now I have to take care of my body, eat right, drink a lot of water. Smaller things make a big difference.
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MLBPipeline.com: Georgia has become such a hotbed for amateur baseball. How much regional pride do you take in that? There must be so many guys you see that you played with or against when you were in high school.
Randolph: I take a lot of pride in that. We had a good group, and there are still guys coming from there. Baseball is booming in Georgia. Pretty much everywhere I played last year, I'd see someone I played with. We'd go grab dinner or talk on the field. I remember playing against Miami, the Greensboro Grasshoppers, Josh Naylor was there. In Augusta, there was Jalen Miller. I hit a double against Augusta, and I was talking to Jalen pretty much the whole time I was out there. We work out together in the offseason. It's fun to play against those guys. It's comforting knowing you always have someone you can talk to, you always have someone who is going through the same things you are. It's someone who really can relate. I have friends I can call. Like Daz Cameron. We pretty much went through the same thing last year, we struggled then we got hurt. We worked out together this offseason knowing that the main thing for us is to stay healthy.
Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.