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Interview with Las Vegas 51's Manager Marty Brown: Part Three

The last part of my talk with Marty Brown. I'm always interested in how old school and new school mix in baseball. I thought Marty sounded like an old school baseball guy who understands the new world. I was really interested in what he thought of Brett Lawrie. I find myself agreeing with a lot of what he says. I really like what he says about being aggressive at the plate.

I saw Brett Lawrie in spring training, learning the third base.

You have to remember he is making another position change. He went from catcher to second to third. And that is one of the hardest transitions to make, going from that side of the field to this side of the field.  So it is just a learning experience for Brett, he's taking it on. Mike Mordecai has done a great job with him. I particularly tried to stay on him about moving his feet.  Some things come easy to him so sometimes, at 21 years old, you take that for granted, ‘Awe he's a great young player, he can figure it out', instead of  learning the proper fundamentals to get in front of the ball. Make sure you get the ball on the proper side of your body. Make sure to set your feet when you throw. Brett can do things throwing off one foot or field the ball on the wrong side of his body, he can not move his feet or go from top down instead of down to up and he can still get away with that. So you have to sit back and say ‘Brett don't do it that way'.  And that's the part that he is going to have to learn, that he's going to have to experience that.

And he was told to take more pitches when he was down here?

I think that once Brett gets an understanding of his strike zone, he has a lot of ability and can hit a lot of pitches. It is very important to the front office that guys walk. I don't know how to teach people to walk. We teach people to hit here. But in the proper perspective. I do understand within the numbers and how they tally up and what that means but I feel that if you have a better idea of your strike zone, and have a good plan when you go up to the plate with that strike zone. And understand what you are trying to do. If you are leading off an inning. But I don't want to tell a guy to take. It is the wrong thing to do. That's not what we are here to do. We are not here to teach how to take. We are here to teach how to hit. So we might narrow it down, you might say this is the pitch I'm looking for, if I don't get that pitch I'll take it, but it's all about hit. It is hit, hit, hit, take. Not take, take, take, hit. It doesn't work that way.  So it's right easy to sit up and say ‘yeah but, you need to walk more'. But him to go with that attitude it might take away a lot of his play. I think for him it is more about be selective, hit a good pitch, but your plan in gear. If you get a good pitch over the plate. What are you looking for. Those kind of things that he's gotten better at, that's what's increased his selectiveness at the plate, not somebody walking in from the office telling him to take more pitches, that doesn't work.

There is a constant argument on our site about batters swinging at the first pitch, we have members that don't like that, but the numbers say guys hit .300 on that first pitch.

Or better. I'll tell you what. What are pitchers taught?  That strike one is the most important pitch. It's not about breaking ball or fast ball, it's about strike one, pitch ahead in the count. If I am the hitter, I'd be very selective, if I'm looking fast ball I wouldn't swing at the breaking ball, but if I have a history with the guy. If I had 5 at bats and he started me of with 5 breaking balls, I look for the breaking ball. If he goes with the fast ball, I gotta take it. That's discipline. That's what Brett's learned by being here, not this I'm going try for a walk. Not just to build up the stats. Brett's going to be fine, he's going to swing and miss that will happen. They got better arms up there, he's going to swing and miss. But he's going to learn and learn by, being don't take the aggression out of him. That's one of the things you'd like to have parts of Brett's aggression in a lot of other players. That stuff is tough to teach, he's got it.

Brian Jeroloman, how is he doing?

He is on the 40-man roster, I think Brian has had a tough year on both sides, behind the plate, he isn't throwing many guys out. He's worked hard at it. He was challenged to be stronger, he's been in the weight room. And also offensively, he is seeing a different brand of pitching on an everyday bases. It hasn't been a over the top year for Brian but his skills have gotten better. I know he has gotten stronger. People have been working real hard to with im to get him to understand the importance of that. It is in his lap, he's got to really push himself.

He was taking a lot of walks before, it is harder as you move up.

How many RBI's does he have? You can walk 3 times a year with the bases loaded and have 3 RBI. That's the one thing about Brian now, he's hitting .238, he has 2 home runs, he's got 22 RBI in 250 at bats. He walks and he's not stealing base and not going 1st to 3rd, those are the kinds of things that get scued when you talk about walks and OBP. Walks are great but you have to take what the pitcher gives you. You can't make that guy walk you, if he is throwing strikes you have to be ready to hit. You better be on the offensive. Instead of being in a defensive count of 2 strikes and have to battle and battle.

How is Darin Mastroinni doing?

He is getting better. He went to Double-A and really struggled.  We had a lot of guys in the outfield, Travis came down, so we ended up moving Darin down to Double-A. HE scuffed down there and changed his swing. I think now he has gotten to the point where he is more comfortable at the plate. Chad Motolo has him back to where he was before he left. Because he had good stats before he went back to AA, but for whatever reason he struggled and had to come back and start over again.

I like him as a 4th outfielder.

He has the skills. He has a lot to learn, when it comes to stealing bases, defensively he has great ability, great speed and a good arm. HE can do a lot of things. It is going to take time. He is a good looking player, good athlete, good tools.

Anyone else we should pay attention to?

Chad Beck is a good one, Good arm. Power arm. 96, good slider. Starting right now, later on he might be in the bullpen. I really like his arm and the way he challenges people. I like a lot of things about him, he's the type of guy that will be in the big leagues somewhere. Whether it is Toronto or somewhere else. 

Thanks to Marty for doing this for me and to the Vegas Media Relations Director, Jim Gemma for finding time for me.