Laird Getting Back To His Game Plan

Brandon Laird didn't have the greatest Spring Training this year and it carried over into his first half with the Charleston Riverdogs. He hit just five home runs before the All-Star break and often times saw himself in extended slumps before finally getting back to his normal game plan, which allowed him to have one of the best second-halves in the organization the rest of the way.

"I think the year went good," Brandon Laird said of his 2008 season. "I progressed as the season went on and I was just getting a lot of professional at-bats, getting used to see how they pitch me, and I started picking it up well.

"I started the season off a little slow but Greg Colbrunn and I had a good friendship, and we talked all the time about consistency. As the season went on my swing got consistent.

"It felt good, I didn't change anything, and it went well. I finished strong and I was just trying to have a good year, and I did. It felt good."

He hit a team-high .339 with the Gulf Coast League Yankees in his professional debut season in 2007 and he was able to accomplish that by not deviating from his middle-to-opposite field approach.

Fast forward to 2008, his first full minor league season, the younger brother of Texas Rangers catcher Gerald Laird began the year trying to do too much too soon and he went away from his normal hitting philosophy.

"That's where I got into some trouble in the beginning of the season," he admitted. "My swing started feeling good and then I started thinking everything was going to be inside, and I just wanted to start pulling the ball and start launching the ball.

"That's where I started getting into trouble so I just went back to my game plan of see the ball, hit the ball, think up the middle and right field.

"Once I established I could hit the ball to right field with some power, then I'm going to start getting my pitches. They're not going to try and pitch me away, they're going to pitch me inside and that's my hot-spot."

He hit just .194 for the month of May and saw his average dip all the way down to .222 by the start of June. Not only was his average suffering, but his signature plus power also wasn't showing up in games and he quickly knew something had to change.

"I talked to my dad all the time about my hitting and he would tell me with two strikes to shorten up my swing and just get a base hit up the middle," said Laird.

"I started doing that, getting some base hits up the middle and driving some runs in. When they started pitching me inside to my hot-spot, I was able to do some things."

Getting back to basics, he found the consistency he so desperately sought and he finished the year hitting .282 and slugging 18 home runs in the second half of the season.

Alternating between playing first base and third base the first couple of months of the season also didn't allow him to gain a comfort level defensively, and that also played havoc with his offensive game.

He played third base just two more times after June 1st. Focusing his entire attention towards becoming a better defensive first baseman, he did just that in the second half and his offensive game picked up.

"For those three weeks I'm going to go there like last year and work hard on defense," he said of his goals for Instructs. "I know my swing is going to be there.

"I still want to work on my swing everyday but my main thing is my defense. I want to work some more at first base and get more familiar with the position.

"I picked it up real well this year and turned into a pretty good first baseman. I'm going to go there and work on first and third, both positions so I can have some versatility, but that's going to be my main concern again - my defense."

Building upon the success he had this year, both offensively and defensively, Laird - who lost nearly twenty pounds over the course of the season - will once again focus on getting in better shape over the offseason so he can show more consistency next year.

"Yeah that's my plan," he said. "I'm going to go home and take some time off after Instructs but I'll start going back to the Boras clinic at the end of October.

"I'm going to go there for as long as I can and maybe go back to the mini-camp in January, but I'm going to continue to do it [work out]. I want to go to Spring Training this year and impress with how my body looks with my weight where they want it at.

"Right now I'm at 207 lbs and I'm running a lot and eating right, taking it a lot more serious."

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Pinstripes Plus Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\n\"I think the year went good,\" Brandon Laird said of his 2008 season. \"I progressed as the season went on and I was just getting a lot of professional at-bats, getting used to see how they pitch me, and I started picking it up well.
\r\n
\r\n\"I started the season off a little slow but Greg Colbrunn and I had a good friendship, and we talked all the time about consistency. As the season went on my swing got consistent.
\r\n
\r\n\"It felt good, I didn't change anything, and it went well. I finished strong and I was just trying to have a good year, and I did. It felt good.\"
\r\n
\r\nHe hit a team-high .339 with the Gulf Coast League Yankees in his professional debut season in 2007 and he was able to accomplish that by not deviating from his middle-to-opposite field approach.
\r\n
\r\nFast forward to 2008, his first full minor league season, the younger brother of Texas Rangers catcher Gerald Laird began the year trying to do too much too soon and he went away from his normal hitting philosophy.
\r\n
\r\n\"That's where I got into some trouble in the beginning of the season,\" he admitted. \"My swing started feeling good and then I started thinking everything was going to be inside, and I just wanted to start pulling the ball and start launching the ball.
\r\n
\r\n\"That's where I started getting into trouble so I just went back to my game plan of see the ball, hit the ball, think up the middle and right field.
\r\n
\r\n\"Once I established I could hit the ball to right field with some power, then I'm going to start getting my pitches. They're not going to try and pitch me away, they're going to pitch me inside and that's my hot-spot.\"
\r\n
\r\nHe hit just .194 for the month of May and saw his average dip all the way down to .222 by the start of June. Not only was his average suffering, but his signature plus power also wasn't showing up in games and he quickly knew something had to change.
\r\n
\r\n\"I talked to my dad all the time about my hitting and he would tell me with two strikes to shorten up my swing and just get a base hit up the middle,\" said Laird.
\r\n
\r\n\"I started doing that, getting some base hits up the middle and driving some runs in. When they started pitching me inside to my hot-spot, I was able to do some things.\"
\r\n
\r\nGetting back to basics, he found the consistency he so desperately sought and he finished the year hitting .282 and slugging 18 home runs in the second half of the season.
\r\n
\r\nAlternating between playing first base and third base the first couple of months of the season also didn't allow him to gain a comfort level defensively, and that also played havoc with his offensive game.
\r\n
\r\nHe played third base just two more times after June 1st. Focusing his entire attention towards becoming a better defensive first baseman, he did just that in the second half and his offensive game picked up.
\r\n
\r\n\"For those three weeks I'm going to go there like last year and work hard on defense,\" he said of his goals for Instructs. \"I know my swing is going to be there.
\r\n
\r\n\"I still want to work on my swing everyday but my main thing is my defense. I want to work some more at first base and get more familiar with the position.
\r\n
\r\n\"I picked it up real well this year and turned into a pretty good first baseman. I'm going to go there and work on first and third, both positions so I can have some versatility, but that's going to be my main concern again - my defense.\"
\r\n
\r\nBuilding upon the success he had this year, both offensively and defensively, Laird - who lost nearly twenty pounds over the course of the season - will once again focus on getting in better shape over the offseason so he can show more consistency next year.
\r\n
\r\n\"Yeah that's my plan,\" he said. \"I'm going to go home and take some time off after Instructs but I'll start going back to the Boras clinic at the end of October.
\r\n
\r\n\"I'm going to go there for as long as I can and maybe go back to the mini-camp in January, but I'm going to continue to do it [work out]. I want to go to Spring Training this year and impress with how my body looks with my weight where they want it at.
\r\n
\r\n\"Right now I'm at 207 lbs and I'm running a lot and eating right, taking it a lot more serious.\"
\r\n
\r\n

\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n\r\n
\r\n

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\r\n

\r\n

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