FutureBacks Audio: Bryan Byrne

Bryan Byrne of the South Bend Silverhawks is not your average cleanup hitter. He's got six home runs and is slugging under .400. But Bryan hits cleanup for a very good reason: he hits well when it counts.

While just a .246 hitter with the bases empty, Byrne hits .305 with runners on.  If one of those runners happens to be in scoring position, the average jumps to .330.  His 52 RBI is tied for seventh in the Midwest League and leads the Silverhawks by a wide margin in that category. His work with minor league hitting coordinator Rick Schu has helped him to stay back on the ball more, and his approach at the plate is to stay within himself. 

"I'm a gap-to-gap guy," Bryan explains.  "The minute I try to hit home runs, I get into trouble anyway.  I just try to put a good swing on balls, get a good counts to hit, have good AB's, and the numbers will show."

And while the numbers are good now, they can indeed get better.  The former 12th round pick hit over .300 in each of his three seasons at St. Mary's.  Bryan Byrne never did hit for power in College, however.  Yet the expectations of batting cleanup don't get to him.

"I think if you start to worry about that, you start putting more pressure on yourself to drive in runs...you start trying to do too much," he postulates.  "Once you start trying to do too much, you start doing little things that get you off rhythm.  For me, I just try not to worry about where I hit."

Cleanup hitters are often expected to be team leaders as well.  Teammate Greg Thomson credits Byrne with showing him the proper approach to hitting.  But Byrne does not consider himself a vocal leader.

"I'm not a rah-rah guy, I'm a quiet guy.  I just try to lead by example with how I play on the field.  If that motivates people, then that's good."

Bryan Byrne's Full Audio Interview is available for Premium Subscribers only.


Read more from Keith Glab at www.baseballevolution.com

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