With the 2008 MLB Draft all over and done with, PinstripesPlus checks in with Yankees Vice President…
Brewer Taking His Career To Next Level
That motivation led to him to become one of the best baseball players to come from Bradley University and at age 20 to be drafted in the eight round of the amateur draft by the Yankees.
Drafted as an outfielder, Brewer played second base and a little bit of shortstop during his freshman and sophomore seasons at Bradley. It wasn't until his junior year that he was switched to centerfield. When he was drafted, Brewer expected that he would go back to his natural position at second base, but so far all of his work has been in left or right field.
"I was kind of hoping to be a second baseman," Brewer explained. "But I don't mind playing in the outfield. Being a right fielder has kind of grown on me. I'm just trying to work on it more because I haven't really played there as much as most of these guys, so I kind of have to do some catch-up."
Even while trying to turn himself into a strong defensive outfielder, Brewer keeps his second base glove nearby and admits that the lure of his former position is not going away.
"I wouldn't mind going back into second base," Brewer said. "Maybe sometime later on down the road. I might mention it sometime, but I don't see a reason doing it yet."
As an outfielder he is still a work in progress, but has looked good in right field where he can take advantage of his strong throwing arm. There are no immediate plans to change Brewer's position because he has been working hard in the field and has left an impression on his manager.
"I'm very pleased with his progress," said Staten Island Yankee manager Pat McMahon. "He's got a good arm, he throws the ball well, he moves with the ball. We want to give everybody an opportunity to play their main position. I think that could happen down the line in the future."
The reason there is no rush to tinker with him on defense is because his main priority these days is to work on his hitting. That is his strength and what got him drafted by the Yankees. When he steps into the batter's box nobody is thinking about his defense.
At six feet tall and 185 pounds, Brewer is by no stretch a big player, but he does have some decent power in his bat. In college he was able to take advantage of his smallish frame by hitting the ball over drawn in outfielders who underestimated him.
Now in professional ball things aren't so easy and he's had to adjust his hitting after struggling early. He's focusing on hitting the ball to all fields and not worrying so much about pulling every pitch.
"Here guys play a little bit deeper so you have to drive the ball into the gap to get extra base hits or drive the ball down the line. It's just an adjustment, early on I realized all of my hits were singles. I'm not worried about it, you have to be patient with it and just keep working on driving balls into the gap."
To make those adjustments Brewer is working hard with Staten Island hitting coach Ty Hawkins. His hard work has seen some early dividends as he has been Staten Island's hottest hitter and the extra-base hits have shown up.
"We have been working hard just trying to get him consistent at-bats," Hawkins said. "It's paying off. If you watch him in batting practice he doesn't just hit for power, he hits the ball hard and he hits to all fields."
Brewer has also shown himself to be a good base runner. He isn't the fastest, but he has displayed an ability to pick good situations to run on. At Bradley he was the only player to ever steal 40 bases while hitting at least 20 home runs.
It wouldn't be realistic to assume he's going to be able to steal as many in professional baseball, but he has not been shy to pick his spots. In 24 games so far this season Brewer has taken four bases and has yet to be caught.
Coming into this season Brewer said his goals were to hit .300 and make the All-Star team. So far he is on his way to achieving one of those goals and if he keeps up his hot bat he may achieve the other as well.
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