READING — If Adam Haseley didn’t have to sign autographs, he probably would have stayed in the batting cage a bit longer before Sunday afternoon’s game.
While most of his Reading teammates hung out in the locker room — there was no on-field batting practice — the second-year outfielder was in the tunnel at the far end of FirstEnergy Stadium taking some extra cuts, even after starting his double-A stint 4-for-11 with two home runs.
Haseley’s mentality is the same as it was five or six years ago when he was just hoping to play his way into a Division I offer.
“Going into college, I wasn’t really a sought-after player,” Haseley said. “Just working on stuff in college and creating a role there and now having an opportunity in professional baseball — it’s kind of the way I’ve looked at things my whole life. You just have to work for it and earn it.”
The Phillies’ first-round draft pick last season, No. 8 overall, hasn’t spent much time in one place. Haseley played 58 games in his junior season at Virginia before making stops with the Gulf Coast League Phillies, low-A Williamsport and single-A Lakewood last year. He began 2018 with the Phillies’ high-A affiliate in Clearwater and batted .300 with a .758 OPS in 79 games for the Threshers.
After last Monday’s game in Dunedin, Haseley got word he’d be packing his bags and heading to double A. It was the next step in what has been a quick progression for the former first-team all-American.
“I had a little bit of a personal goal to perform well in Clearwater and have this chance during this season,” Haseley said of reaching double A. “I was never really told about a step-by-step plan. It was more, if you perform well, you’ll have a chance to progress, and fortunately, I played well enough down in Clearwater to have this opportunity.”
Haseley didn’t need long to get acclimated. He was immediately slotted into the No. 2 spot in the Fightin Phils’ batting order, and Friday night — his second game — Haseley launched two homers. As a result, he earned Eastern League player-of-the-week honors.
It all comes back to that blue-collar mentality.
“He comes to the ballpark almost like he’s on a mission to get better for that day. There’s a calmness to him, a professionalism, a confidence,” Reading manager Greg Legg said. “He’s looked comfortable and confident, and I think that’s one of his greatest assets, his self-confidence that he can do this.”
Haseley, a natural centerfielder, spent a lot of time playing a corner outfield this season in Clearwater. Much of that was because he was playing alongside 2016 first-rounder Mickey Moniak.
Yet nothing seems to break Haseley’s focus. As the level of competition continues to rise, so does his game.
“You’re going to get out what you put in off the field. I feel like I do a better job each year of preparing and doing my homework,” Haseley said. “You just have to be really defined and clear in what your plan is.”
That approach at the plate was obvious in his first at-bat Sunday. Haseley fell behind in the count, 1-2, before getting around on a fastball that was well inside and sending it back up the middle for a single.
He reached base safely twice more in the game — on a walk and a hit-by-pitch. He has reached base in his last 10 games.
Legg added that Haseley’s power will “take care of itself,” but Haseley isn’t all that worried about what will come next. He’s just excited for even more progress in these final 47 games.
“Whether that’s executing a certain plan in an at-bat or bringing good intentions each day, I just want to be a consistent player,” Haseley said.