Leclerc Having to Adapt Quickly

When the Peoria Chiefs needed an outfielder after losing Yusuf Carter to Class High-A Daytona (who in turn lost top prospect Tyler Colvin to Double-A Tennessee), Brian Leclerc wasn't prepared to be that outfielder.

At the time he was promoted to Peoria from short-season Class Low A Boise in late June, Leclerc had only played one game in the Cubs' farm system.

"I was surprised to move up this high, this quick," Leclerc admits. "I learned a lot from all my coaches and my time in Boise was a good stay for me."

Leclerc, who hails from Clearwater, Fla., spent four years with the Florida Gators before becoming a 31st-round Cubs draft pick last month.

After being drafted and promoted nearly straight to Peoria and the full-season Class-A Midwest League, Leclerc has struggled – mightily.

Thus far, playing sporadically and very rarely in back-to-back games, the left-handed hitting Leclerc has gone 3-for-28 at the plate.

The full-time switch from aluminum to wooden bats could be a possible reason, but Leclerc says that's no excuse for the poor start.

"This whole 3-for-28 streak is just me needing to get accustomed to things," the outfielder said. "I've been hitting the ball hard, just at people. On different days, I may have eight or nine hits out of this string of at-bats, but it is what it is."

As for the wooden bats, Leclerc says he has adjusted. The 22-year-old had already picked up some experience in wooden bat venues such as the Cape Cod League for two summers prior to joining the Cubs.

"It took me about a week to get used to the wooden bats," he said. "If you don't square it up, it's going to break very easily. I'm getting it down."

It isn't the first time Leclerc has struggled at the plate, either.

In fact, with the Gators this past season, he began the year by batting just .043 at one point through the first month. As a sign of his resiliency, he ended the year with a .313 mark in 50 games.

"You can't get down on yourself, because it's just part of baseball," Leclerc said of his tough luck thus far in Peoria. "You're going to have streaks like this, but the main thing is to never give up on yourself."

And though he still hasn't gotten consistent playing time, Leclerc would rather be at a higher level, learning more and playing with more advanced players than being back at a level like Boise, he says.

"I like being here in the situation I'm in," Leclerc said. "I loved Boise, but my goal is to keep moving up and I can learn a lot from these coaches here."

Leclerc declares himself a playmaker on defense. With that, his job is often to control the outfield and make the tough plays.

While that's something he feels he will always be able to do, Leclerc says he does worry about how his power (or lack thereof) will transfer to bigger parks and with the use of wooden bats on down the line.

"Right now, I'm more of a contact hitter and not necessarily a power hitter yet," Leclerc said. "But I expect that to come because I know what kind of hitter I am. Once I get more accustomed to the wood, I expect the ball to start jumping off the bat."


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