Many minor league players spend their off-season playing in winter leagues to stay in shape and to be ready to compete by the time spring training rolls around. K.C. Hobson, one of the Blue Jays most promising first base prospects is one such player to take advantage of winter ball this off-season and has joined the Canberra Cavalry of the Australian Baseball League this off-season.
Playing winter ball in 2012-2013 is a first in Hobson’s career as he told JaysProspects near the end of the season that his usual off-season would mostly consist of working out and staying active in hopes to become a better and stronger player. “In the past, my typical off-season includes workouts assigned specifically by the Blue Jays organization,” he said. “I do a lot of running, weight lifting, and footwork drills. Then, around the beginning of January I typically start taking ground balls and work on my hitting.”
This off-season, his offensive and defensive skills were tested earlier, as he joined the Canberra Cavalry shortly after his season ended with the Lugnuts. Presently in the ABL, Hobson is batting .262 with seven doubles, three home runs, and 15 RBIs in 20 games. In December, Hobson’s success in the league was witnessed as he was named to the ABL World All Stars roster.
But this success should not come to a surprise to many, as all of this came after Hobson had a breakout year in Lansing. In fact, in 2012, the 22-year old batted .276 with 43 doubles, two triples, ten home runs, and 86 RBIs. What made his strong season even better was that Hobson’s 43 doubles set a new Lugnuts’ single season record, “Setting the record for doubles was really cool. It’s an accomplishment, but I still have a lot of work to do,” the young first baseman said.
Lansing Lugnuts’ hitting coach Kenny Graham spoke highly of what he has seen from the California native, “JT [Tamargo] was the hitting coach here last year and [was] a tremendous help for K.C. He has done as much for him as I have just because he’s seen him more than anyone else in the organization.”
He added, “Overall, the hard work that K.C. has done can’t be undervalued. He has been focusing on his at-bats and becoming a better competitor every day.”
Hobson’s hard work enabled him to make great strides this past year. In 2011 with the Lugnuts, the young California native posted a .250 average and showed less power than his most recent season, hitting 19 fewer doubles (24), six fewer home runs (4) and a slugging percentage exactly .100 points lower (.433 in 2012, .333 in 2011). His recent success was observed by all who had watched Hobson play throughout the years, but specifically by Lugnuts’ Manager John Tamargo, who added, “K.C. improved tremendously from 2011 to 2012. He’s doing what he needed to do and is becoming quite the player.”
Expect even more improvements and another big season from K.C. Hobson in 2013.