The Reid Brignac Volumes: April | The Process Report

The Reid Brignac Volumes: April

Reid Brignac is hitting .219/.265/.219 through his first 34 plate appearances. I’m not the arbiter on these things, but I’m not overly concerned here. Brignac’s approach once he falls behind is a work in progress. Right now, it’s something like, “Screw it, I’m swinging”. Some of the pitches he offers are embarrassing when put in this format:

Image courtesy of Joe Lefkowitz

But that’s Brignac. He has issues hitting anything with a wrinkle. This isn’t a new or unforeseen development. Take what I wrote about John Jaso last week and the inverse is true of Brignac. Pitchers cannot simply lay strikes in the zone because Brignac has the pop to burn them (he hit .400/.400/.543 on 35 first-pitch balls in play last season). Instead, they have to get ahead by nibbling or throwing junk that he cannot resist. At that point, just about anything near the zone will enact a swing.

Brignac is going to look first-pitch fastball and if he gets it, he might crush it. That’s not the most artful approach to swinging the bat, but it is what it is. The Blue Jays fielded a whole lineup of those guys last season, the Rays have a farrago of disciplined hitters and then the occasional Brignac and Sean Rodriguez (or Carl Crawford last season).

Joe Maddon has done a nice job keeping Brignac away from lefties by using Elliot Johnson in his place (albeit at the cost of defense), so it is difficult to imagine a scenario in which Brignac sees 70-to-75 percent righties and finishes with an OPS shy of 700. And, even if he doesn’t, it’s not like we’re unused to seeing a plus-defensive shortstop with offensive issues (namely the inability to hit-same handed pitching) on the roster before.

One Comment

  1. […] As R.J. pointed out, pitchers will continue to exploit Brignac’s weaknesses until he gives them a reason to change their approach. Right now a high fastball or a changeup near the dirt is about all you need. Although there have been slight improvements in terms of whiffs and strikeouts in limited samples, there is more work to be done on chasing pitches that are generally unhittable. If Brignac can adjust his approach on high heat and low junk while continuing to make solid contact on those balls that fall within the zone, the extra-base hits that have been missing (as well as a better overall approach) should not be far behind. […]

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