"I just want to put numbers, get better, and keep moving on up through the organization," Breen said.
Breen, who hails from Winter Springs, Florida, hit .274 in limited time [84 at-bats] for the GCL Yankees last year as an 18-year-old and came into Extended Spring Training this season with a fresh perspective.
"I've had my ups and downs," Breen admitted. "I started off strong but faded a little bit towards the end. But that's baseball."
Now 19, Breen fits in with the rest of the talented youth that litters the GCL Yankees squad. For most of these players, this is their first full year playing baseball. It's a huge adjustment for kids still in their late teens away from home for the first time.
"The hardest part is just getting used to playing every day," Breen said. "You have to deal with the failure of the game on a regular basis."
GCL Yankees hitting coach Drew Henson, who saw Breen all Extended, is happy with what he's seen from Breen so far.
"He's a big, strong kid and a really good athlete," Henson said. "He's got a ton of power and a good approach for a young hitter at the plate."
But there are still a lot of adjustments to be made.
"There are a lot of similarities between these young hitters and it's getting a good pitch to hit early in the count and getting comfortable hitting with two strikes," Henson said. "We eventually want him to be a middle of the order guy that produces a lot of extra base-hits."
These hitters are so young and talented, that just a small amount of time in the cage and a minor adjustment could go a long way.
"Right now I'm just trying to work on the little things in my hitting mechanics like being short and direct to the baseball," Breen said.
On the defensive side of the ball, Breen has been moved all around the diamond in his short professional career. The 6-foot-3, 215-pounder was drafted as a catcher but was moved to the corner outfield spots in Spring Training and in Extended, and actually started at first base in the GCL Yankees season opener on Friday.
"I'm just adjusting to the new spots out there in the outfield and learning all the different reads on balls," Breen said. "At first base it's obviously a whole different atmosphere. I just have to make sure I'm ready on every play."
Breen sees this as a positive sign for his development.
"The more positions you play the better chance you have of staying in the lineup everyday and a better chance you have of filling needs at other affiliates," Breen said about playing multiple positions.
Now that the GCL season has started, the time has come to see if Breen will be able to translate his strong Extended Spring Training into a successful GCL campaign.
"I'm really excited that the season has started," Breen said. "They're keeping stats, and the scoreboard is on. It just means a lot more."
Breen went 0-4 with an RBI ground out and three strikeouts at the plate in Friday's season opener against the GCL Pirates, and remained hitless in his first three games — not an ideal start —but coach Henson is confident plenty of good days lie ahead for the 19-year-old.
"He works really hard and has a ton of ability," Henson said. "I think that will translate into a lot of success as he gets older."
Breen All About Improving
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