Summer Collegiate : : Story
Friday, June 21, 2013

Plantier finding groove at plate

Hudson Belinsky        
Photo: Cornell

The Elmira Pioneers might be as talented as any club in the PGCBL this season. Through ten games the club sits at 5-5, tied for first in the league’s West Division. Players have yet to really show who they are, but the early looks at Elmira first baseman Ryan Plantier are very promising.

Plantier blasted his first home run of the season on Wednesday night, and he’s starting to find himself at the plate.

His numbers early this season don’t immediately jump out at you; he’s hit a solid .263 through ten games. If you take a closer look, however, you’ll notice that Plantier has reached base at least once in every game this season, and is near the top of the league in walks, with nine. He’s displayed a patient approach at the plate, and it looks like his excellent batting practice power is starting to find its way into games.

I think my walks are a result of choosing good pitches to swing at and having a better two-strike approach,” Plantier said.

Elmira Head Coach Matt Burch had good things to say about Plantier.

He’s doing very well. He’s a patient hitter…he looks pretty comfortable defensively as a first baseman. He’s just a good baseball player.”

Plantier’s natural ability could be genetic. His father, Phil Plantier, played in parts of eight MLB seasons. In 1993, his only season as an everyday player in the majors, the elder Plantier crushed 34 home runs and drove in 100 batters for the San Diego Padres.

Professional baseball has obviously had an influence on Ryan, and it will continue to impact him going forward. Prior to becoming the Pioneers’ skipper, Burch played seven years in the minor leagues. When asked about whether or not Plantier could follow in his father’s footsteps, Burch was optimistic. “Absolutely,” he said.

I tell these guys—and I believe this of a lot of players in this league—‘If you have a uniform on, you have an opportunity to play in the big leagues.”

Ryan’s baseball career has yet to take him to the levels that his father or Burch reached, but he’s still got a uniform on, and he just finished his junior year at Cornell, where he also displayed a patient approach and impressive raw power. Plantier struggled at the plate at times during his first season as the Big Red’s starting first baseman, but it looks like he’s starting to turn his tools into game skills.

Over his past six games in the PGCBL, Plantier is hitting .304 and getting on base at a .467 clip. After slugging his first home run of the season, Plantier will look to keep his hot bat as he enters his senior year.

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