"The home run, I was just looking to put the ball in play, and he hung a curveball and I put my bat on it and the rest is history," Brett Hayes said.
He has been off to a hot start with Carolina after hitting .338 in 17 games at Jupiter. He simplifies his approach by focusing on hitting pitches up in the zone.
"If it's early in the count, I'm looking for something I can drive - get back, get my foot down, and get ready," he said of his approach. "If I get behind, with two strikes, I'm just looking to put the ball in play. That's simple hitting philosophy."
"Every hitter likes to hit a fastball. Some guys have great offspeed stuff, changeups. Even a fastball when you spot that up, it's un-hittable. As a hitter you are trying to look for something up and hit it, and go from there."
Not worrying about devastating curveballs, he has been able to pick his pitches out and drive them, as evidenced by his .536 slugging percentage in his first 15 games with the Mudcats. He tends to concentrate and zone in on fastballs and make an adjustment to any pitch offspeed.
"You're just looking to see the ball up. You're not really trying to look offspeed, unless the guy is flipping curveballs. That's an in-game adjustment."
"I'm looking for fastballs, and hitting a curveball is just a reaction," he claims. "I'm just going up there and looking for my pitch. So far, I've been very fortunate to produce and put some numbers up."
In just 15 games, Hayes, a career .248 hitter entering the season, has made a statement with three home runs and ten RBI's. He seems to be very balanced defensively along with a hot bat.
"You always have to work on stuff on every aspect of your game, whether it's blocking, and throwing. You can't get lackadaisical in those aspects of your game", says the former Nevada catcher. "The one time you mess it up, you know didn't get to work on it enough."
He has been flying through the Marlins organization, and is constantly making a name for himself each time he gets promoted. He is ambitious about working hard at his game and improving each day to make the next step.
(Photos exclusively Copyright © 2007 Nikolaus Johnson Controlled Images)
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