After the first half of the season that saw him batting .289, he was hitting a mere .190 since the break prior to this past weekend. It had only been a 17 game sample size but both Bryce and hitting coach Dave Joppie recognize the drop.
"It comes down to a situation with our schedule where we were 29 out of 32 games where we played either NH or Trenton," Joppie said. "They've had a chance to get more of an advanced scouting report on him, which will happen at the Major League level.
Bryce's work will never be done. At this level, many teams are able to key on weaknesses shown by these young players who move up so fast. It is Joppie's job to fine tune his young outfielder's game at the plate.
"Teams are now attacking him in the zone and he's in the process of making another adjustment back," Joppie said prior to Brentz's mini-breakout this wekend. "Similar to April when teams were expanding and exploiting some things out of the zone against him, he made the adjustment in his approach and discipline. From this he earned more fastballs over the plate and got better pitches to hit."
In the 17 games since the break he did have three home runs and 13 RBI's, however, and his strikeout rate remains consistent, hovering just under 30 percent on the season.
Brentz has always kept his optimistic mind-set and used Monday and Tuesday's games absent from the line-up to rest up and regain his focus.
"Recently I've gotten a couple more days off hoping to come out fresh. It's a long season out here, but it's still fun." Brentz said. "We've got to finish strong out here. I started off in April hitting .180 and turned it around to where I'm at now."
Adjusting to the full professional season does take time. In his third year as a pro, the top hitting prospect out of Middle Tennessee State is still training his body to do so.
"It's one of those things that it may be a little tiredness towards the end of the season," Brentz said. "But the end is still a month away; we've still got a lot to do. It's true that one little hot streak can turn a good season into a great season."
The work he has put in thus far is noticeable around the organization and especially with Bryce himself, and he is now in the midst of a "little hot streak", hitting .473 over his past five games with three doubles, two home runs, and seven RBI.
"I feel like my strike-zone discipline has gotten a lot better, Brentz said. "From where I started to where I am now, I've gotten a lot better. There's a big difference in the type of hitter I am."
Getting contact is one thing but missing the gloves of the nine players on defense is another.
"At the plate I haven't been able to find as many holes lately but I'm still giving them some good swings up there," Brentz said.
In this league players have to learn to turn adversity into knowledge to power their game further. Bryce's game is built around power so he's listening to his mentors very closely.
"There has not been one thing that has been changed; it's just part of the process," Joppie said. "It's a constant game of adjustments. It's a situation where he's going to come out of this a more educated hitter."
Being part of the opposing team's scouting report is also nothing new for Brentz. He earned his paycheck in single-A by his raw talent and now has to fine tune his game.
"It's going to be a constant for him from here on out," Joppie said. "He's been very regimented in his routines and we're just looking to go through August and the first part of September to build on what he's done here."
Bryce used the two days off to come back Wednesday and drive his first at-bat for a double and eventually scored the game's first run.
Whatever the situation, Brentz and his coaches have the same plan for him from start to finish, a plan that they believe will ultimately allow him to advance in the system.
He's been doing a lot of the right things so far. At just 23 years old, he has accomplished a lot at every level and is key to the organizations success.
"He's starting to understand how the opposition is looking at him." Joppie said. "They have to prepare for him, and that's a good thing. He's on everybody's radar."
PORTLAND, ME - Being a team's number one draft pick can weigh heavily on the mind. Bryce Brentz has turned his first season in Double-A Portland into an Eastern League All-Star appearance. Some would say he has lived up to the expectations. Others would argue that there is still more work to be done.
Brentz Making The Adjustment
Bryce Brentz had struggled in the second-half prior to this weekend, proving he's adjusting.
Portland Beat Writer
Brentz has 5 extra base hits in last five games
Aug 5, 2012