The Wright Formula

Ty Wright has been an RBI machine for Class AA Tennessee. The Smokies' starting left fielder has played in all 19 games this season, and his 22 RBI in that span lead the Southern League.

Wright, 25, was a seventh-round Cubs draft pick from Oklahoma State in 2007. Now in his second season at Double-A, he is batting .329 with three home runs and six doubles after batting .290 in 128 games there a season ago.

We asked Wright for his thoughts on spending a second season in Double-A, whether his approach has changed from last season and how much playing time he expected to get entering the season, and more.

Q: You're back in Double-A and have been hitting really well. You lead the league in RBIs. What's been the main thing you've been working on since returning to Tennessee?

A: When you look at stats and categories such as RBIs, the thing that gets overlooked is the team that helps one get RBIs. In my case, there are guys that are suited more to run like Tony Campana and Starlin Castro, who has done a little bit of both getting RBIs and scoring runs. But everybody has a specific role on the team and I just feel like if the team is working together, then people are going to accomplish first the team goals and second the individual goals. Campana and Castro and guys at the bottom of the order have done a tremendous job of getting on base for guys like myself to have an opportunity to get those RBIs.

Q: Have you changed your approach any from last season?

A: Basically, one thing I've changed from last year is I'm trying to use the whole field with some force. Not just flipping balls here and there, but being able to use all fields with a little power and driving balls to the gap to set ourselves up not just for a little inning but trying to hit doubles and set ourselves up for big innings. I think that's a big difference: opening up to right field more instead of trying to pull everything like I would last year.

Q: Do you think it's that approach or the fact that guys are getting on base in front of you that is helping more with the run production?

A: I think it's a little bit of both. Those guys get on base to put me in a situation where a hit here or there, I can get some RBI. I know that with their speed on the bases, all you've got to do is find a hole and they're going to score from second base pretty easily. At the same time, I think the mental approach at the plate, of using that right-center field gap and hitting to right field, does help out a lot. You look at some of the big RBI guys in the big leagues and they're going the opposite field. When guys are in scoring position, Derrek Lee is a guy that got 100 RBIs last year because he was able to wait on the ball and let the ball get to him and go the other way with it.

Q: Do you think that being back in Double-A has you helped a bit being that you now have more familiarity with the league?

A: I think so. It's been really the first time that I've gone back to a (level) and I've really enjoyed it. The guys, the manager (Bill Dancy) and really everything about Tennessee right now I have really enjoyed. Last year playing, I learned to lead a little bit and this year I came in with high expectations for myself and wanted to come out of the gates real aggressive and get going in the right direction. Last year, I started out slow but this year, one of my main goals was to be aggressive and let it play out on the field.

Q: Coming into the season, did you expect to get a lot of playing time?

A: I didn't really know what to expect. I came in kind of pushing for a Triple-A job, but now that I'm here in Double-A, I'm proud of it. Looking at the Triple-A team, there are a lot of the outfielders – they have (Micah) Hoffpauir there and (Bryan) LaHair – playing. Coming back to Double-A, I really see the Cubs' idea with me coming back and getting a chance to play every day. I'm really excited about that and am glad they took care of me in that situation, bringing me back here and getting a chance to produce.

Q: Have you enjoyed batting third this year?

A: I'm very comfortable there and it's a spot where I've hit really throughout all of the minor leagues. I've hit 3-4-5; mainly those spots. But in Daytona, I was pretty much an everyday No. 3 hitter for Jody Davis and this year I've not hit anything but No. 3. I think that goes to the manager just having faith to leave me in the three-hole and let me do my thing, and let the guys get on base and not be overly aggressive.

Q: How do you like playing for Bill Dancy, a newcomer to the organization?

A: I've absolutely loved playing for Bill Dancy. He's a great manager and just his overall attitude day in and day out toward the game and toward the team goes into a lot of the reason why I love being back here in Double-A – because I love Bill Dancy. I feel like he's just handled every situation and as a player one on one with him, he's been great. I could go on and on with him, but I really, really have enjoyed playing for him and am really looking forward to being with him and getting into the playoffs.

Q: So a few days ago, you had a career night: two home runs, seven RBI. Both were career-high's for you. What was that like for someone who's not a power hitter?

A: It was fun. Any time you have two home runs and seven RBI, you can't say anything else but that you had fun. It was a night where our whole offense was dialed in. We started off and one of those RBIs came early on when Castro I think was at third base. I was looking for a pitch to (sacrifice) and then I just hit the RBI. Outside of that, I really just settled in, got focused and got some nice pitches up in the zone to hit. It was really fun for that game also because they (Carolina) made a little run to try and get back into it. But we put it on them in the latter half of the game.

Q: What do you like best about your team compared to some of the other teams you've played on? You only have the best record in all of minor league baseball.

A: I go back to Bill Dancy because I think some of it has to do with our lineup rarely changing. I think that has an effect to where everybody knows their role on the team. People know what they're supposed to do and people know what they're not supposed to do as far as hitting. I really believe that the main factor is that guys show up to the park and it really has a spring training feel to it. We show up and we play really hard. And quite honestly, we're really not worried about wins and losses right now. We're just playing baseball and I think that speaks volumes for our team.

Q: How has your work in the outfield been and is it any different than in years past? Has anything changed in your approach defensively?

A: A little bit. With Campana being in center field, it's really allowed myself and (Brandon) Guyer, who play the corner positions, to take certain chances and play a certain way knowing that Campana has got our back because he's so quick and so fast and can cover pretty much any amount of ground to get to a ball. So I think Campana being in center field has really given Guyer and I the confidence that we can move a certain direction on a hitter and really take a chance every once in awhile.

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