07/13/12 — Wright faring well with Cedar Rapids

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Wright faring well with Cedar Rapids

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on July 13, 2012 11:23 AM

 A few weeks has made a big difference in Zach Wright's life. On June 5th, the East Carolina graduate relaxed at home as he casually followed the Major League Baseball Amateur Draft on the Internet.

One month later, Wright is in the starting lineup for the Cedar Rapids Kernels of the Midwest League. The transition has not been easy but the end result has placed Wright squarely on the radar of minor league scouts.

"It has been kind of a whirlwind coming out here and jumping right in," Wright said prior to a recent game. "Luckily, I knew a few of the guys on the team because I had faced them during summer ball or in college, so that has helped me fit in a little bit."

Being red-hot at the plate certainly has helped as well.

Over his first eight games with the Kernels, a Single-A affiliate of the Anaheim Angels, Wright has fashioned a .375 batting average and has belted three home runs. Despite a minor leg injury that kept him out of action for a week, Wright has become a key figure in the Cedar Rapids offense.

"I am seeing the ball really well right now and making good adjustments," Wright said. "The big thing for me is making contact and putting the ball in play. When I am able to square the ball up like I have been, it gives me a lot of confidence."

Making his way at the plate has been the easiest part of the game so far for Wright. Adjusting to calling his own pitches and finding a groove with the Kernels' pitching staff has been much tougher.

Cedar Rapids pitching coach Chris Gissell, who played in the Colorado Rockies organization before turning to coaching, has entrusted Wright with calling his game from behind the plate.

"We have a lot of young arms on this team and they have a lot of talent, but they are a little raw," Wright said. "Getting to know them and creating a working relationship with them has taken some time. I love to call the game myself because it gives me one more thing to focus on.

"Coach Gissell might suggest a specific pitch if he sees something from the bench during an at-bat, but for the most part he lets me go and that is something I really enjoy."

Cedar Rapids is currently 2-7 overall in the Midwest League second half standings. The Kernels finished 32-38 during first-half play.

"Cedar Rapids is probably not the place that most guys would pick as an ideal minor league assignment," Wright said. "But I think it works well for me and I have just been enjoying the experience."

An experience that has been a success so far.