Laird Keeps Finishing Strong

There are two certainties when it comes to Brandon Laird. One, he inevitably is going to start off each season in slow fashion. And two, as the season progresses he continues to get better before finishing the year off strong. This season has definitely followed that formula and now he's peaking just in time for a trip to the Arizona Fall League this offseason.

This season's numbers may not look much different than last year for Tampa Yankee Brandon Laird. Like last year, he started the season slow only to end up the organization's home run leader.

And true to form, Laird has hit better in each passing month, culminating in a .323 average in August and clubbing more home runs [five] than any other month.

The third baseman said he can't pinpoint why he struggles to have a slow start to the season then finish strong, but he thinks a few things might play a role.

"I think at the beginning of the season I just come in a little over aggressive," Laird said. "I try to think too much. I want to get out there and get a really good start. It doesn't really go that way and I start getting frustrated."

Laird said he thinks too much at the plate and anticipating pitches at the beginning of the season.

"Now, in the second half, I'm going out there and ‘see ball, hit ball' — that's my mentality," he said. "Maybe it's I figure out the way they pitch at me and I don't think about it as much. I just have fun and play. Maybe that's what I need to do the whole season."

Laird said in the second half of the season he hits every ball in his zone instead of being "picky" and waiting for that "perfect pitch."

At the beginning of the season, Laird rotated between first and third base. He played first base a majority of the time in Charleston last year so the transition in Tampa was an adjustment.

But Laird said he feels comfortable at both positions now. In fact, third base has become is main position.

"I've always known how to play third," he said. "It's kind of hard going back and forth you know. The ball comes off different, but I can pick up third base a lot better than I can pick up first base.

"Maybe they'll put me at first base in the higher levels because I can hit. First basemen usually can hit, but they can put me anywhere on the field as long as I'm playing. I don't mind."

Laird said consistency has been the main topic of discussion between him and his coaches. He said he doesn't change much of his game during the season, rather things just start falling into place.

"It's not that I'm not playing good [in the first half]. I'm hitting the ball hard right at people," he said. "It's just things aren't going my way … I just keep playing the same game."

Laird said his defense is one thing that could improve. He entered this year's season 20 pounds lighter and satisfied of his performance in Spring Training.

His physical condition helped his versatility at third base, he said.

"My [consistency] goes up and down up and down right now," Laird said. "Hopefully next year I can keep it on the same line the whole season, but we'll see.

Laird said he plans to work as hard in the offseason as he did in Spring Training. However, Laird's offseason will be cut short due to his opportunity to play in the Arizona Fall League and he plans to employ the same straight forward approach he's had in the second-half of this season.

"All the top prospects are there so obviously I'm one of them," Laird said. "I'm just going to play my game and have fun."

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\r\n \r\n\r\nThis season's numbers may not look much different than last year for Tampa Yankee Brandon Laird. Like last year, he started the season slow only to end up the organization's home run leader.
\r\n
\r\nAnd true to form, Laird has hit better in each passing month, culminating in a .323 average in August and clubbing more home runs [five] than any other month.
\r\n
\r\nThe third baseman said he can't pinpoint why he struggles to have a slow start to the season then finish strong, but he thinks a few things might play a role.
\r\n
\r\n\"I think at the beginning of the season I just come in a little over aggressive,\" Laird said. \"I try to think too much. I want to get out there and get a really good start. It doesn't really go that way and I start getting frustrated.\"
\r\n
\r\nLaird said he thinks too much at the plate and anticipating pitches at the beginning of the season.
\r\n
\r\n\"Now, in the second half, I'm going out there and ‘see ball, hit ball' — that's my mentality,\" he said. \"Maybe it's I figure out the way they pitch at me and I don't think about it as much. I just have fun and play. Maybe that's what I need to do the whole season.\"
\r\n
\r\nLaird said in the second half of the season he hits every ball in his zone instead of being \"picky\" and waiting for that \"perfect pitch.\"
\r\n
\r\nAt the beginning of the season, Laird rotated between first and third base. He played first base a majority of the time in Charleston last year so the transition in Tampa was an adjustment.
\r\n
\r\nBut Laird said he feels comfortable at both positions now. In fact, third base has become is main position.
\r\n
\r\n\"I've always known how to play third,\" he said. \"It's kind of hard going back and forth you know. The ball comes off different, but I can pick up third base a lot better than I can pick up first base.
\r\n
\r\n\"Maybe they'll put me at first base in the higher levels because I can hit. First basemen usually can hit, but they can put me anywhere on the field as long as I'm playing. I don't mind.\"
\r\n
\r\nLaird said consistency has been the main topic of discussion between him and his coaches. He said he doesn't change much of his game during the season, rather things just start falling into place.
\r\n
\r\n\"It's not that I'm not playing good [in the first half]. I'm hitting the ball hard right at people,\" he said. \"It's just things aren't going my way … I just keep playing the same game.\"
\r\n
\r\nLaird said his defense is one thing that could improve. He entered this year's season 20 pounds lighter and satisfied of his performance in Spring Training.
\r\n
\r\nHis physical condition helped his versatility at third base, he said.
\r\n
\r\n\"My [consistency] goes up and down up and down right now,\" Laird said. \"Hopefully next year I can keep it on the same line the whole season, but we'll see.
\r\n
\r\nLaird said he plans to work as hard in the offseason as he did in Spring Training. However, Laird's offseason will be cut short due to his opportunity to play in the Arizona Fall League and he plans to employ the same straight forward approach he's had in the second-half of this season.
\r\n
\r\n\"All the top prospects are there so obviously I'm one of them,\" Laird said. \"I'm just going to play my game and have fun.\"
\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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