08 February 2018

Dan Duquette's First Orioles Free Agent Signing (2011): Matt Antonelli

On November 21, 2011, Dan Duquette made his first addition to the 40 man roster by signing Matt Antonelli.  At one point, Antonelli was a highly regarded infielder who could play third or second and racked up a 307/404/491 line in his second professional season.  It led to him exploding onto the prospect lists and catapulted him into the struggling San Diego Padres lineup in 2008.  His career derailed at that point.  His performances were poor at both the AAA and MLB levels.  It was suggested that the game was simply moving too fast for him.  He reached non-prospect status and an injury ended his career with the Padres.

He signed as a MiL free agent with the Nationals and proceeded to get his career on track.  He slashed a 298/390/457 line primarily in AAA as a second and third baseman.  Several teams were intrigued that he might have figured things out.  The Orioles were the only club that offered a 40 man roster arrangement and a clear path to the Majors on a team that was struggling to fill both second base and third base positions.  Injury and performance were contributing factors that kept Antonelli behind Robert Andino, Ryan Flaherty, and Wilson Betemit.

He was released in May after a terrible stretch in Norfolk to make room for Lew Ford.  He was picked up by the Yankees off waivers, struggled, and shut it down for the year.  The following season he signed with the Indians on a MiL deal and his career did not bounce back.  Since then, he has been providing services as a coach as far as I am aware.

A year after he had signed with the Orioles, I interviewed Antonelli for a column that I wound up never running.  I am dusting it off here for you all.

Camden Depot: On the internet there has been a proliferation of scouting sites that predominantly use video to evaluate players, but do not actually go to the games.  On your youtube channel, you have provided your opinions of hitting mechanics on the game's stars.  What can video do and what can it not replace with in person assessments?

Matt Antonelli: I think video is a great tool to use when looking at mechanical aspects of the swing, the delivery, etc. I know it is something that I use heavily when working on my own mechanics, and have found it very useful when doing lessons during the off-season. I make sure to videotape every single session and the players I use it with find it extremely helpful. I always say that "feel" and "real" are never the same, and the only way to really get a player to understand the adjustments that need to be made is by watching video. As far as scouting goes, I think you can use it in a very similar way to understand a players mechanics, but obviously there is a lot more that goes into breaking down a players ability than strictly mechanics. Video definitely has a role in scouting, but it can't be the only thing you rely on.

CD: I know you recently discussed your views on batting donuts.  At the Depot, we have noted similar studies showing the negative impact of used weighted bats before getting into the box.  Can you elaborate on your thoughts.

MA: Well I have read different studies that they have been done in both baseball and golf showing the affects of using a heavier instrument when warming up and then going to your game bat or golf club and in most cases it shows to have no affect or a negative affect on bat and club head speed. It also has shown to have a negative affect on bat and club head accuracy. Again, I didn't perform these tests but it was just something I have read.

CD: There was a lot of interest in your review of how Alex Rodriguez' batting mechanics have changed over the years.  How do players respond to your online analysis?

MA: I typically don't analyze many player's swings online. I just happened to receive a bunch of questions on A-Rod's swing so I threw something online very quickly noting a few things he has done differently over the years. It was more showing what has changed with his swing, not what type of swing I believe he should have or what he is doing wrong.

CD: What are your thoughts on minor league salary scales? What are the difficulties players face? What should be done about the system?

MA: I think there are certain things that should probably be changed. Salaries for most minor leaguers, especially your first few years is very low. I believe my first year in pro ball I made around $6,000. By the time you pay for housing, food, dues, etc. most players are losing money to play, especially if they didn't receive a signing bonus. Obviously if you one day make it to the Major Leagues you are rewarded with a huge pay raise, but the percentage of players that actually make it to the MLB is extremely low.

CD: What are some of the more interesting superstitions you have run into during your time in professional baseball?

MA: I've seen a lot of superstitious things throughout my career. It's mostly seeing guys go through the same routine over and over again if they are successful. Things like eating the same food, wearing the same clothes, riding to the park with the same people, etc. Baseball is really a game of routine so guys end up doing things over and over again, especially when things are going well.


Below is a video that Antonelli put up last November on his training regime with Brady Anderson.


Update: I think this is a video of Brady doing part of his workout routine.


Matt Kremnitzer said...

Please stop.

Jon Shepherd said...

Frankly this shows an absolute lack of empathy or feeling about anything other than yourself. Someone gives us their time for an interview and you think that it is appropriate to call that person garbage.

I am tired of correcting you. There are other places where you can comment on things.

Jon Shepherd said...

Editor's note: the first reply was marked for abusive language. My reply above was to that comment. Not Matt's.