The former Mets slugger plans to share specific advice with the current Mets slugger during the remainder of Piazza’s three-day stay in camp as a guest instructor.
“I told him that when I talk to him, I’m going to tell him that there’s going to be a lot of pressure on him this year. He’s going to be expected to do a lot. And I have a little bit of experience knowing that pressure,” Piazza said Sunday, upon arriving in camp. “And I hope he’s able to discipline himself and really refine his strike zone and realize that when the pitchers are not pitching to him, he’s got to take his walks. I think you saw that in the World Series a little bit. He just got too anxious and was trying to do too much and was just swinging, trying to hit the ball out of the stadium. I would tell him, ‘Look, you don’t have to hit the ball out of the stadium. You just have to hit it over the wall. Or hit it off the wall is fine.’ That happens sometimes.
“Here’s a kid, he came from Cuba. He grew up completely different than what we did. So handling all that and coming to the States, it’s culturally different for him. I think we need to be patient and understand.”
Piazza is keenly aware that Cespedes arrived in six different vehicles during the past six days of camp.
“I see he’s been working on his collection of cars,” Piazza said. “I said, ‘I don’t care what you drive as long as you drive in runs.’ That’s the key. But I think he’s going to be fine. I think he’s so talented.
“The key for him is to try not to do too much when he’s being expected to do much. If he gets a hit and a walk in a game, that’s .333. And that’s the way I looked at the game. Sometimes you have to take your walks and, I think, let the guys around you do their jobs. He’s a smart hitter. He knows he’s got to learn when they’re not giving him something to hit he’s got to take his walks.”