Phelps is learning new positions to add to utility resume
With two Triple-A National Championships and a Columbus Clippers record under his belt Cord Phelps has made his mark during his four seasons at Huntington Park.
Phelps has grown up in the Indians system and has continued to improve every year in different aspects of his game. With a resume a mile long, he is learning to play a few new positions this season.
Phelps has mostly played second base in his career, but has used this season to lengthen his defensive resume and become more of a utility player by playing some left field and first base.
“Of course he is a very good second baseman and good offensive player, so for him to have the ability to also play other positions; left field, first base, as well as potentionally third and short at times, that just adds to his resume and his ability to fit in with a major league club,” manager Chris Tremie said of his veteran.
Phelps has put in extra effort to become a viable first base option this season, spending as much time there as any of his other positions.
Tremie has witnessed the work being put in.
“He's probably had to work more on first just to get familiar with the position, the footwork around the bag, and understanding his range at first base and where he goes," Tremie said. "Left field is not easier, but it's a little bit simpler initially learning that position."
It’s no secret that Phelps is intelligent on the field, however his intelligence carries much farther than that. Phelps attended Stanford University after earning a 4.83 GPA out of high school. The second baseman majored in Human Biology during his three years playing baseball at Stanford.
“I was trying to get my degree in biology, something that interested me at the time and that was the approach," Phelps explained. "You know, if I'm going to be in class I'm not going to waste my time and do something I don't like. Human Biology was definitely an interest for me.”
Phelps was drafted in the third round of the 2008 draft by the Cleveland Indians. Phelps breezed through the farm system reaching Columbus by 2010, quickly becoming a top prospect in the Indians system. During the 2011 season Phelps split his time between Columbus and Cleveland. Phelps continued to grind through his 2012 season spending the majority of his time with the Clippers, but remained on Cleveland’s radar with a few short callups.
Spending a fourth year at Triple-A may take its toll on some players; however, Phelps continues to thrive, becoming the all-time Columbus leader in doubles history with 95. Phelps has been the Clippers most consistent offensive weapon this season spending most of his time batting cleanup, and has proven he has a good eye for the ball. Phelps is currently tied for most RBI's on the team this year with 46 despite two stints on the disabled list his season.
“[This is my] first experience dealing with this type of thing, I think it will make me better,” Phelps said, seemingly unfazed by the injuries that have plagued his season.
Even in the wake of a few disappointing injuries, something else Phelps has decided to work on this season is enjoying himself.
“I think that as I have progressed over the years the focus becomes more on just enjoying myself and enjoying the whole process because you never know when it will be over," Phelps said. "Obviously I hope to play for a long time, that's my goal, but I've just kind of seen the aspects of the game that players can't control. You really have an appreciation for everyday and how lucky we are to play."
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