Brantly Growing Behind the Plate in Toledo

Almost any baseball player would tell you that they dream of playing in the majors, but right now for Rob Brantly, he is more than happy just to be playing Triple-A ball this season.

For someone who started the beginning of the year in Double-A Erie, Rob Brantly has moved his way up through the system and has landed himself among the top few for the Tigers' top prospects.

"It was kind of unexpected and exciting," Brantly said. "I was actually just expecting to be in double-A ball this season."

Mud Hens manager Phil Nevin said it comes to no surprise that he has come so far in a short amount of time.

"I've seen a huge progression already, he's been working very hard," Nevin said. "That's one thing about Rob, he's advanced very rapidly through our system and it's because of his hard work, his dedication to the game."

Since moving up, Brantly said his offense has been a natural progression and has matured more than his defense.

"I'm feeling pretty good about what is going on this season and the success I've had," Brantly said. "But you always want to do better."

Brantly is batting.268 since he started with the Mud Hens this season and has an on-base percentage of .317.

When he is not on base, or up to the plate, you can find Brantly behind the plate.

This is where he feels the most comfortable, but also the place where he has the most work to do, he said.

"My main focus getting better defensively as a catcher and being a better leader back there for the team and working better with pitchers," Brantly said.

Taking veteran advice and working closely with the pitchers on game tempo has helped Brantly. He said knowing what they are going to call against batters and having a plan together, rather than two separate plans keeps the game moving.

"How you perform out there directly affects another player that is playing," Brantly said. "There are a lot of mature pitchers here that have a good idea of what they're doing."

At this point in a baseball career, Nevin said this is when players start to pay more attention to scouting reports and catchers try to get to know the hitters better and apply it to the game.

"He's really studied it," Nevin said. "Coming in early, working with the pitchers — you can see it translating into success by some of those guys on the field."

While Brantly is enjoying his learning experiences in the minors, Nevin said he could hold his own in the majors, but he's waiting in line behind two very good catchers — Alex Avila and Gerald Laird.

There is development that needs to take place before he gets the call, Nevin said, it's one of those things that he can't put his finger on when it's going to happen, but it's important that it happens at the right time, he said.

"Rob Brantly is going to play in the major leagues; there is no doubt in my mind about that." Nevin said.

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