D-backs’ Geraldo Perdomo, Buddy Kennedy acclimating to big-league level in rookie season
PHOENIX — Arizona Diamondbacks rookie infielders Geraldo Perdomo and Buddy Kennedy are finding out exactly what the everyday rigor of an MLB workday entails.
“A young player’s first full season in the big leagues, it’s just a grind,” D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said Tuesday. “It’s a mental, physical grind. … The hardest part of becoming a big-leaguer is acclimating — to get here, know where you are, know where you’re standing and know what you’re going to be offering your team at that given moment.
“It’s not always the same, especially for a young player. Mike Trout will know what he’s going to do on that day. He’s got that type of talent. He’s been around long enough to know what his body is ready to give on that given day.”
In his first full season with the Diamondbacks this year (11 games in 2021), the 22-year-old Perdomo is slashing .198/.309/.276 on five doubles, three triples, four home runs and 14 RBIs to go along with 29 walks and one stolen base.
In describing how Perdomo might be trying to do too much in his preparation, Lovullo used the metaphor of taking too many notes in a college class as a freshman before eventually figuring out when and what were the important parts that require the most effort, with the final “test” being an MLB game.
“I think (Geraldo) is just a very young player that is figuring out how to acclimate and how to plug into his day,” Lovullo explained. “There’s value in getting him, pulling him back and creating awareness. And then that’s what my job will be. And then for him to go out and execute the game plan, to have success on that day and give 100% of what he’s able to is the most important aspect of it for me.
“The one part of it is the perspective is that of focus and engagement. … You learn how to focus at the right times, you’re not constantly focusing for 50 minutes of that lecture. You’re focused — soft focus, hard focus, in and out. I think he’s still figuring that out, so those are the discussions I’ll have with him (Tuesday).”
Lovullo gave Perdomo the day off on Tuesday, but added there is “no doubt about it” he is the team’s shortstop and that his teammates know it as well. The rookie became the D-backs’ everyday starter in the No. 6 hole due to a lingering right shoulder injury to Nick Ahmed that eventually required surgery.
The 23-year-old Kennedy has also garnered playing time due to the leg injury to starting second baseman Ketel Marte that has Lovullo keeping the Dominican in the lineup as the designated hitter. After being called up on June 17, Kennedy is slashing .154/.258/.385 with one double, one triple, one home run to go along with eight RBIs and three walks in only 26 at-bats (nine games).
Coincidentally, Kennedy and Perdomo hit their first big-league home runs 12 days apart — both of which were grand slams.
The #Dbacks have had two rookies hit grand slams for their first career home runs in the last two weeks:
June 7: Geraldo Perdomo at Reds
June 19: Buddy Kennedy vs. Twins⬇️pic.twitter.com/lDsXuzxBYh
— Jake Anderson (@jwa1994) June 19, 2022
“He’s just a good guy to be around. He’s comfortable in this environment and you don’t see that for somebody that’s been in the big leagues for a week,” Lovullo said of Kennedy. “It’s a credit to him and the development that he’s come in here and he wants to wants to impress and he wants to get things done the right way.
“It’s hard to walk into a major-league clubhouse, but I think we do a good job of welcoming young players because we know how important they are. He’s standing on two feet and he’s ready to go every single day and we take notice of that. All these young players have to come here and work. It’s not to come here and it’s a country club and just expect to get base hits. He knows he’s got to get work done. And he’s going out there every day to do that.”