Brentz Simplifying Things

Drafted by the Red Sox with the 36th overall pick in 2010, Bryce Brentz rebounded from a less than stellar professional debut season with a tremendous first full season in 2011. While part of his huge turnaround was getting some professional experience under his belt, he says it really was the byproduct of simplifying things at the plate.

"I feel like it was a really good season, a good step forward, especially considering my first year in Lowell," he said. "I was happy with it but I don't want to stay in A-ball so I'm trying to get out of that and get to Fenway."

His big league aspirations hit a speed bump right out of the gate when he hit just .198 with 76 strikeouts in just 69 games for the Lowell Spinners in 2010, but he turned things around in a hurry last year when he hit a combined .306 with 30 home runs, 91 runs scored, and 94 RBI between low-A Greenville and high-A Salem.

"I did a lot better [last] year with the mental approach," he said. "Physically, that wasn't my issue. It was a mental thing, trying to do too much [in 2010]. Last year I came in with a new attitude, got my confidence back up, and came in and didn't miss the fastball.

"When I came out of college I saw a lot of offspeed and when I came into pro ball they were coming at me with the fastball. In college you don't really see that a lot.

"[Last] year I came in with a new attitude and a better approach. I slowed things down at the plate and didn't try to do too much. I didn't miss the stick too much."

Getting used to professional pitching is something every new hitter must endure but Brentz says the difference in 2011 was having a more specific plan when he stepped into the batter's box.

"I was going to hit the fastball," he said of his number one objective. "If they were going to make a mistake with the offspeed I was going to hit that too. I wasn't trying to make it too complicated.

"Hitting is hard enough. You're trying to hit a round object with another round object. For me I had to simplify things and go back to the way things used to be.

"Our roving [hitting] instructor told me that Manny Ramirez told him when he was with the Red Sox ‘I'm a good curveball hitter because I don't miss the fastball'. I said ‘that doesn't make any sense' but I realized after the season that if you hit the fastball [the pitcher] doesn't get a chance to throw the curveball.

"That was my plan, I'm not going to miss the fastball. If he hangs something I'll react to it and try to do some damage on that pitch too. It worked for me."

Realizing he was going to have his ups and down, Brentz stuck to his attack-the-fastball plan right from the start of Spring Training last year and never deviated from that approach. He credits his mental maturity of sticking to that plan for his success in 2011.

In fact, it was his short memory span, almost akin to relief pitcher's mentality, that played a huge part in his maturation as a hitter.

"Exactly," Brentz reiterated. "In Lowell [in 2010] I'd be 0-3 in my last at-bat and go ahead and give it up, strike out or something, and then go back to the duguout and say ‘that's a typical day'.

"[Last] year when I was 0-3 going into my last at-bat I told myself I'm going up there with the same plan of attack and the same approach, and get myself a hit. A lot of the time I did get a hit and it saved my average. It let me have a good season.

"I didn't give away many at-bats. I tried to step into the box every time with a purpose and not give that at-bat away. Sometimes I did and sometimes I didn't. Most times I didn't but sometimes it happened anyway. The approach was good mentally.

"Physically there were times where you had to make some little adjustments, but besides that it was more of a mental thing for me knowing that I had to slow the game down and let the game come to me, and let the ability take over – I wasn't trying to do too much."


Diehard Magazine Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\n\"I feel like it was a really good season, a good step forward, especially considering my first year in Lowell,\" he said. \"I was happy with it but I don't want to stay in A-ball so I'm trying to get out of that and get to Fenway.\"
\r\n
\r\nHis big league aspirations hit a speed bump right out of the gate when he hit just .198 with 76 strikeouts in just 69 games for the Lowell Spinners in 2010, but he turned things around in a hurry last year when he hit a combined .306 with 30 home runs, 91 runs scored, and 94 RBI between low-A Greenville and high-A Salem.
\r\n
\r\n\"I did a lot better [last] year with the mental approach,\" he said. \"Physically, that wasn't my issue. It was a mental thing, trying to do too much [in 2010]. Last year I came in with a new attitude, got my confidence back up, and came in and didn't miss the fastball.
\r\n
\r\n\"When I came out of college I saw a lot of offspeed and when I came into pro ball they were coming at me with the fastball. In college you don't really see that a lot.
\r\n
\r\n\"[Last] year I came in with a new attitude and a better approach. I slowed things down at the plate and didn't try to do too much. I didn't miss the stick too much.\"
\r\n
\r\nGetting used to professional pitching is something every new hitter must endure but Brentz says the difference in 2011 was having a more specific plan when he stepped into the batter's box.
\r\n
\r\n\"I was going to hit the fastball,\" he said of his number one objective. \"If they were going to make a mistake with the offspeed I was going to hit that too. I wasn't trying to make it too complicated.
\r\n
\r\n\"Hitting is hard enough. You're trying to hit a round object with another round object. For me I had to simplify things and go back to the way things used to be.
\r\n
\r\n\"Our roving [hitting] instructor told me that Manny Ramirez told him when he was with the Red Sox ‘I'm a good curveball hitter because I don't miss the fastball'. I said ‘that doesn't make any sense' but I realized after the season that if you hit the fastball [the pitcher] doesn't get a chance to throw the curveball.
\r\n
\r\n\"That was my plan, I'm not going to miss the fastball. If he hangs something I'll react to it and try to do some damage on that pitch too. It worked for me.\"
\r\n
\r\nRealizing he was going to have his ups and down, Brentz stuck to his attack-the-fastball plan right from the start of Spring Training last year and never deviated from that approach. He credits his mental maturity of sticking to that plan for his success in 2011.
\r\n
\r\nIn fact, it was his short memory span, almost akin to relief pitcher's mentality, that played a huge part in his maturation as a hitter.
\r\n
\r\n\"Exactly,\" Brentz reiterated. \"In Lowell [in 2010] I'd be 0-3 in my last at-bat and go ahead and give it up, strike out or something, and then go back to the duguout and say ‘that's a typical day'.
\r\n
\r\n\"[Last] year when I was 0-3 going into my last at-bat I told myself I'm going up there with the same plan of attack and the same approach, and get myself a hit. A lot of the time I did get a hit and it saved my average. It let me have a good season.
\r\n
\r\n\"I didn't give away many at-bats. I tried to step into the box every time with a purpose and not give that at-bat away. Sometimes I did and sometimes I didn't. Most times I didn't but sometimes it happened anyway. The approach was good mentally.
\r\n
\r\n\"Physically there were times where you had to make some little adjustments, but besides that it was more of a mental thing for me knowing that I had to slow the game down and let the game come to me, and let the ability take over – I wasn't trying to do too much.\"
\r\n
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