Loy No Stranger to Spotlight

Brandon Loy is no stranger when it comes to the spotlight in baseball. Attending perennial powerhouse University of Texas for his college career, the six-foot, 190-pound infielder developed into a stud on defense and the Detroit Tigers took notice.

Drafted in the fifth round of the 2011 draft by the Major League club, Loy had a decision to make: finish out his career as a Longhorn or forego his senior year in favor of professional ball.

"It wasn't a tough decision at all to make deciding to leave school early," said Brandon Loy in hindsight. "Playing professionally was something I had been looking ahead for and I knew I was ready to go. It was an easy decision for me and I was drafted by a great organization so it's been a lot of fun so far. I hope there are more good things to come."

His resolution to join the Tigers, however, wasn't the first big-league decision he had to make in his career. Coming out of high school, the Dallas native was initially selected by the Baltimore Orioles in the 32nd round. But at that point in his life, Loy knew he could either play for one of the best college organizations in the country as a Longhorn or become a bright-eyed, 18-year-old kid in a minor league system lacking significant playing time.

Choosing the former, Loy knows it was the right choice at that time.

"At Texas, it was like playing in the big leagues in a way. We had the best facilities, great fans, an awesome field to play on and a storied tradition. It was a lot of fun playing there and I met a lot of good friends, had great coaches and took everything in that I could. It was a little different for me after coming from an unbelievable place and atmosphere like Texas into the minor leagues. It's definitely been an adjustment but it's been fun."

Not only playing in front of smaller crowds in general but in front of smaller crowds every single day as opposed to a few days a week during his college days, Brandon has had to learn how to keep his body going during the grueling season that professional baseball commands.

"It's been a lot different from what I'm used to in now that I'm playing every day. You have to keep your body in shape, eat right, wake up and eat breakfast so while the game doesn't change, you have to in that you need to get used to playing every day. But that being said, it's been a fun year. We've got a great group of guys and for me personally, I've enjoyed playing every day which sure beats going to school."

Loy traded his indoor classroom at Texas for an outdoor baseball field, where he has continued to flash a strong glove on defense in additional to showing excellent footwork, range and a good arm – all reasons the Tigers drafted him in the first place. But Loy soon realized that he's not in Texas anymore as West Michigan has asked him to switch from being a shortstop, a position he's held his entire life, to a second baseman; a change that Loy has welcomed and embraced right from the get-go.

"There really haven't been a whole lot of big changes in moving to second base. I think when you play shortstop you can pretty much play anywhere in the infield. The only real challenge I've had has been turning double plays, taking the ball from the third baseman while getting comfortable with guys coming at me and sliding into me. I'm not able to see them like I'd be able to coming in from short. Turning while going away from first base has been challenging as well but I'm getting used to it."

If Loy wants to continue climbing the Tigers' tree, he'll have to not only get used to his new position, but also swing the stick better. He's shown a less than stellar .238 average through 127 games and has struggled mightily while batting in the top of the lineup. With his recent move to the bottom half of the order, Loy will hopefully build on the success he's experienced there – boasting an average nearly 100 points higher than his overall average.

But the Tigers knew what they were getting in Loy, given the fact that he only hit two home runs in three years as a Longhorn. And Loy is well aware that he's got plenty of room to grow inside the batter's box, especially if he wants to earn a roster spot on the team that drafted him.

"I have to hit the ball better, period. The defense is going to be there but hopefully if I can swing the bat, things will get better."

In order to hit the ball better, West Michigan hitting coach Scott Dwyer will be giving Brandon things to work on as the off-season looms shortly ahead. One of the main focuses will be aiming to cut down on strikeouts, something that's happened 113 times already this year.

"Scott will give me stuff to work on and I'll go through with all of that. I have to work hard and get stronger while getting to the point where I'm in a good, balanced position and feeling comfortable at the plate. The main struggle for me this year has been the strikeouts, which is something I really need to work on this offseason. I have to cut down on those which in turn will probably lead into more hits. It's just something I'll have to work hard at this offseason towards becoming a better hitter."

Making these kinds of adjustments is nothing new for the shortstop turned second baseman. Whether it be needing to improve offensively or being forced to change from a position that you've proven yourself worthy of your entire life, Loy is here to do whatever it takes for the good of the team.

"You have to do what's best for the organization and for the team right now, I think playing second is what that is. Doing whatever it takes for my team to win is what I look forward to every day and is what I'm always striving for."


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