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Nick Podkul Working Hard at First Base

Nick Podkul Working Hard at First Base

April 29, 2022

Photo credit: Jaylynn Nash

Prospect Nick Podkul is working hard at both phases of the game this season with Triple-A Buffalo. Podkul, who is playing more at first base these days is making continual adjustments to master his new role.

After playing occasionally at first base in college and the lower levels of the minor leagues, Podkul started logging the majority of his innings in the field at the position in 2021 with Double-A New Hampshire.

And that trend has carried over this season to Buffalo, too. Already appearing in nine games at first for the Bisons, Podkul is enjoying his new role.

“I think growing up as a middle infielder helps me be a pretty solid defender at first base,” said Podkul. “I still like to look at myself as a utility man because I believe I can help a team win wherever they put me in the field. At the end of the day, every position is great as long as you’re out there playing.”

Podkul also sees first base as a position that’s evolving in today’s game, “First base is definitely evolving as a position in my opinion,” Podkul added. “With the increase in shifting throughout the game, first basemen need to cover a lot more ground. Sometimes the first baseman is the only person on the right side of the infield. I think it’s important to have good range to cover ground in the shift and still have the ability to get back to the bag for a play at first base.”

Podkul is also growing as a hitter in pro ball, “I think the area I’ve grown the most as a player is my approach at the plate,” explained Podkul. “I still have some things that I am working through with swing mechanics, but my approach now lets me use the whole field and be adjustable to hit both fastballs and off-speed pitches hard.”

And his approach is transitioning nicely this season, as Podkul is currently slashing .282/.404/.462 with an OPS of .866; after 39 at-bats for Buffalo.

Seeing an increase in power since turning pro, Podkul feels he’s becoming a complete hitter.

“Power is the biggest jump between Lansing and Buffalo,” stated Podkul. “I hit a couple homers to the pull side early in my career, but now I have some power to all fields which I believe makes me much more of a complete hitter.”

Keep an eye on Nick Podkul, as he continues to work hard at both phases of the game.