GIANTS WINTER DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM AT AT&T PARK
Dave Aardsma, Matt Cain, Kevin Correia, Jesse Foppert, Brad Hennessey, Travis Ishikawa, Fred Lewis, Noah Lowry, Pat Misch, Dan Ortmeier, Billy Sadler and Nate Schierholtz have all seen time at the Major League level for the Giants, but they also have another thing in common. They all took part in the Giants’ Winter Development Program in 2003, the first year that the Giants started a program that brings 25 of their best prospects that are fairly new to the organization (as selected by the Baseball Operations department) to San Francisco for a week.
Ever since then the Giants have held the Winter Development Program at AT&T Park. This year’s program started on Monday with prospects such as Gary Brown (24th overall pick in 2010), Jarret Parker (2nd round selection, 74th overall) and Carter Jurica (3rd round, 105th overall) getting a taste of what it’s like working out on a Major League baseball field.
The program starts every morning from around 8:30-9:00 a.m. with strength and conditioning drills, as conducted by organizational trainers and strength and conditioning coaches. This lasts until noon everyday and then the players receive a one hour break for lunch and showers. Then it’s time to hit the classroom from 1:00-2:30/3:00 p.m. each afternoon. The classes change somewhat on an annual basis, but there is always a central core. The owner (Bill Neukom) speaks and former and current Giants players get together as a panel and talk about how to be a good teammate as well as a good citizen, how to navigate the minors, attitudes, philosophies and work ethic. There is also a media afternoon with sports writers and broadcasters coming in and talking about their roles in the media. Giants public relations staff also informs the group on the organizational approach/perspective on the role of the media. Strength and conditioning coaches always do a segment on Supplementation and the players are informed about drug testing policies and procedures. Following the classes, the players are taken back to their hotels where they all have free nights to explore the City by the Bay.
That has to be an experience for the players too. Does every club do this? I think (may be wrong) the Indians do the same, and it seems like a good idea.