Patrick Breen, who spent parts of four seasons in the Tampa Bay system, was named
Independent League Player of the Year by BaseballAmerica today after nearly winning the Golden Baseball League triple crown. He was the Rays' 21st round pick in 2004. The article talks about his re-tooled swing leading to his success:
Within a couple of weeks, he was happy he did. Pretty quickly, Evans and Breen decided to retool his entire approach. Breen had gotten into the habit of diving at the plate to try to hit the ball to the opposite field. His somewhat mechanical swing was also making it hard for him to turn around good fastballs. Once he was overmatched by fastballs, he started cheating to try to catch up to them, which left him helpless against breaking balls and changeups.
They moved him closer to the plate, simplified his swing and got him to stand more upright. In doing so, they freed Breen up to tap into his raw power.
Breen averaged a home run every 9.8 at-bats. He had 32 multi-hit games (in 80 games played), and hit better than .400 in three of the four months of the season. The Golden League had inflated offensive numbers this year, with no team finishing with an ERA below 5.00, but even in a league with huge offensive numbers, Breen's slugging percentage was more than 100 points better than the league's second best. His on-base percentage was 40 points better than anyone else.
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