Boesch Driving the 'Caps Home

It's become a common occurrence for the West Michigan Whitecaps. The team starts a rally, gets runners on base, and up to the plate strolls right fielder Brennan Boesch. The 6'5", left-handed product of the University of California and Tigers' 2006 third round draft pick steps into the box, digs in, and prepares for his favorite moment in playing baseball.

"I like being up there when there's guys on because I think I'm the guy that's going to drive the runs in, that's my job," Boesch said.

A look at his numbers shows that Brennan has been doing his job quite well for the Whitecaps in 2007. As of July 29, he is tied for the RBI league in the Midwest League with South Bend's Brad Miller at 71. His stats with runners on show why.

With runners on base Boesch is batting .311 and with runners in scoring position he is batting .318. And in seven at-bats with the bases loaded this year, he is batting .429 with nine RBI.

"When we need a big hit he seems to come through," said Whitecaps manager Tom Brookens. "He's been one of the main big guns in the middle of that lineup for us all year."

Having coached Boesch at Oneata in 2006, where Brennan also led the New York-Penn League with 54 RBI, Brookens has watched his continuous development in pro ball. A major aspect of his game that Brookens notes has improved over the past year is Boesch's ability to use the entire field when batting.

"Last year he pretty much just pulled everything and now he's starting to learn how to drive the opposite way," Brookens said. "He'll hit a line drive that way and get a base hit, keep the rally going and drive a run in, where before it was always pull, pull, pull."

Using the entire field should help to boost his average, which is at a solid .280. It has already helped his hit total, currently at 108, good for fourth in the Midwest League.

"It's a work in progress," said Boesch about learning to hit the opposite direction. "I'm feeling more confident using the whole field and I think that will help down the road."

It is already starting to help this year, as twice Boesch has had double-digit hitting streaks. He had a 12 game streak from May 30 to June 10, a career high. He collected 13 RBI in a five game span during that streak. He then put together a ten game streak from July 6-19, driving in eight runs during that time. In seven of the ten games he had multiple hits. And a day after having the streak broken, on July 21 Boesch went 2-for-5 with a three-run home run and an RBI double to knock in four runs.

Confidence in his game and an openness to adapt new techniques in order to improve that game define who Brennan Boesch is as a ballplayer. Though he has had high levels of success throughout his high school and college career, including Pre-season High School All-American honors from Baseball America in 2003 and 1st Team All-Pac 10 honors his sophomore year of college, he understands that to succeed at the highest levels, he must be constantly trying to improve.

"He's what we call a coachable kid," Brookens said. "When you work with him he tends to listen and be able to comprehend and put into play what you're talking about.

"He's a kid that comes out to play every day, you never have to worry about him. He's always out there working on something. He's the kind of kid that his ability could take him to the big leagues."

That ability shows every time Boesch steps to the plate with runners on. He takes into account everything he has learned to do whatever is needed to drive those runs home. More importantly, he has the right mentality going into the box.

"My favorite part of the game is coming though with a big hit in a big spot," Boesch said. "I want to be up there and I think that's a huge part of the battle just wanting to be up there in those situations."

With that kind of attitude, Boesch will be knocking in runs for years to come.


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