Will Brennan is a scorching hitter on a Cleveland Guardians crew that has struggled to provide on the plate. Over his final eight video games, the 25-year-old rookie outfielder is 14-for-29 with 4 doubles and a house run. Rebounding from a gradual begin, he’s now slashing .261/.298/.380 with an 88 wRC+ on the season.
How good of a hitter Brennan might be on the huge league degree stays to be seen. An eighth-round decide in 2019 out of Kansas State College, he debuted final September and slashed .357/.400/.500 in 45 plate appearances, this after posting a .314/.371/.479 line between Double-A Akron and Triple-A Columbus. At present no. 7 on our Guardians high prospects record, he was described by our lead prospect analyst Eric Longenhagen as a hitter who generates “doubles energy with a compact swing and all-fields strategy to contact.”
Brennan sat down to speak hitting when the Guardians visited Fenway Park on the finish of April.
David Laurila: How would you describe your self as a hitter? What’s your strategy on the plate?
Will Brennan: “I type of developed that all through my years in school and early on in professional ball. I’m just about going up there trying fastball — being on fastball timing — after which with the ability to modify off the rest. I’m swinging at strikes. Choosing a lane that the pitcher is throwing in is absolutely necessary. Clearly, with the ability to battle with two strikes is necessary. I’ll proceed to try this.”
Laurila: Elaborate on choosing a lane.
Brennan: “Guys within the huge leagues are actually good, so it’s laborious to guard each side of the plate. If a mistake exhibits up on the outer half, which is the place I’ll be trying, then that’s the time to drag the set off and put the barrel on the ball. I would change based mostly on what the pitcher has — no matter his weapons are — however for essentially the most half, I’m undoubtedly looking and reacting in.”
Laurila: How a lot of a hitting nerd are you? Do you take a look at loads of information?
Brennan: “Yeah. I’d say I do. However I look extra at what pitchers have and put together myself for that — no matter their information is. I believe that to be a whole hitter, and to be a sensible hitter, it’s a must to perceive what the pitchers do and what their metrics are.”
Laurila: Is it attainable to focus an excessive amount of on that, and get away from what works for you?
Brennan: “Completely. Typically the very best factor is to simply simplify and dumb it down. However once more, it’s a must to… like proper now, I’ve by no means confronted the Pink Sox earlier than — I’ve by no means confronted these pitchers — so I’ll should go on the market and have a couple of at-bats to grasp how they’re going to assault me. Then I’ll type of modify from there. That’s the secret.”
Laurila: Nick Pivetta is pitching tonight, so what he throws and the way he assaults totally different hitters in numerous counts might be coated within the hitters’ assembly you may have arising in quarter-hour or so. On the identical time, till you’re really standing within the field, that data solely means a lot. Is that correct?
Brennan: “Right. That’s fairly correct. There’s the outdated saying, ‘The entire plan goes out the door when you get punched within the face.’ You’re type of going off of preparation and routine, and no matter your strategy is on the plate that day, however from there it’s what you see within the sport.”
Laurila: That stated, most pitchers with related profiles aren’t going to be markedly totally different, proper?
Brennan: “I imply, the flexibility to bucket pitchers based mostly upon their metrics is big. You need to have an understanding of, say, what a experience man does. You’ll be able to bucket all these guys. Similar with sinker-slider guys and triangle-attack guys. That’s particularly the case whenever you’re a rookie and haven’t actually confronted anyone. You’ll be able to go off of that prior data and hopefully have success.”
Laurila: What about your stance and swing? Do particular person pitchers influence both of these?
Brennan: “I’d say it’s just about all the identical. The timing modifications based mostly upon who’s on the mound, although.”
Laurila: What’s your timing mechanism?
Brennan: “So, I’ve like a crunch, type of a Christian Yelich sort of core crunch right into a leg raise. Then I fireplace from there. I’ve had that for a few 12 months and a half, two years. It’s fully totally different from after I was in school and my first 12 months in professional ball.”
Laurila: What was behind the change?
Brennan: “It was Cleveland pushed, but it surely was additionally myself. It was to influence the ball extra, have extra influence high quality. As a corporation, we attempt to take guys from contact-first and transition them into having extra energy.”
Laurila: Do you take a look at your self as contact-first?
Laurila: You’ve talked about making changes since school. What sort of hitter had been you at Kansas State?
Brennan: “I used to be just about a slap hitter. I hit the ball within the six-hole and put the ball within the center. That’s about it.”
Laurila: Why was that? It sounds a bit such as you had been limiting your self.
Brennan: “I’d simply say that possibly I didn’t have the route? However additionally they most likely didn’t need to change me as a result of I used to be profitable. It’s important to evolve as a hitter, and a participant, and I bought so far the place [the Guardians] taught me some issues to evolve.”
Laurila: Do you watch different hitters very a lot? In that case, which of them?
Brennan: “Completely. A number of the greatest studying comes from watching different guys. I take a look at contact-oriented guys who’re going to hit for a excessive common however are additionally in a position to influence the ball. [Andrew] Benintendi. [Steven] Kwan. I’ll take a look at how they’re approaching pitchers, and the way the pitchers are attacking them. I’ll take a look at how their our bodies work.”
Laurila: Which of your numbers do you care about when assessing your efficiency?
Brennan: “I care about exit velo. The quantity of pitches I’m seeing. I care about in-zone swing share and out-of-zone share. Principally, issues I can management.”
Laurila: What about numbers you don’t take a look at or care about?
Brennan: “There are many metrics I don’t take a look at. For instance, Blast comes out with loads of information that may assist guys. There are 50 totally different metrics, and also you would possibly solely want to take a look at two or three of them to vary what you’ll want to change.”
Laurila: Any ultimate ideas?
Brennan: “I’d say that which metrics you worth is essential. It’s a cool query to ask. I’d like to see what different guys would say to that query.”
Earlier “Talks Hitting” interviews can discovered via these hyperlinks: Jo Adell, Jeff Albert, Greg Allen, Nolan Arenado, Aaron Bates, Alex Bregman, Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio, JJ Bleday, Bobby Bradley, Jay Bruce, Matt Chapman, Michael Chavis, Gavin Cross, Jacob Cruz, Nelson Cruz, Paul DeJong, Josh Donaldson, Brendan Donovan, Donnie Ecker, Rick Eckstein, Drew Ferguson, Justin Foscue, Michael Fransoso, Ryan Fuller, Joey Gallo, Paul Goldschmidt, Devlin Granberg, Andy Haines, Mitch Haniger, Robert Hassell III, Nico Hoerner, Rhys Hoskins, Eric Hosmer, Tim Hyers, Connor Joe, Josh Jung, Jimmy Kerr, Heston Kjerstad, Steven Kwan, Trevor Larnach, Doug Latta, Evan Longoria, Michael Lorenzen, Gavin Lux, Dave Magadan, Trey Mancini, Edgar Martinez, Don Mattingly, Hunter Mense, Owen Miller, Ryan Mountcastle, Cedric Mullins, Daniel Murphy, Lars Nootbaar, Logan O’Hoppe, Vinnie Pasquantino, Brent Rooker, Drew Saylor, Spencer Steer, Trevor Story, Fernando Tatis Jr., Spencer Torkelson, Mark Trumbo, Justin Turner, Trea Turner, Josh VanMeter, Robert Van Scoyoc, Chris Valaika, Zac Veen, Alex Verdugo, Mark Vientos, Matt Vierling, Luke Voit, Anthony Volpe, Joey Votto, Christian Walker, Jared Walsh, Jordan Westburg, Jesse Winker, Mike Yastrzemski, Nick Yorke, Kevin Youkilis