Brantley Bell hasn’t had a strong season in 2016 for the Dayton Dragons. For the first three months of the year he posted an OPS of .550 or lower. The 21-year-old was playing third base almost on a daily basis.

That all changed when Nick Senzel arrived in Dayton. Bell began to move around, seeing action at both shortstop and second base in July, and for some reason, he also began to start showing some life at the plate. He posted, easily, the best numbers he had in the season during the month. He hit .250, walked eight times (he had only walked 10 times in the previous three months combined) while posting an on-base percentage of .318 (.291 was the previous best) and he slugged .342 (.280 was his previous best).

The walk and strikeout numbers would suggest that he began to see the ball better. From April through June he would walk just 10 times and strikeout 57 times. His walk rate was just 4.2% and his strikeout rate was sitting at 23.8%. In July his walk rate jumped up to 9.3%, more than double where it had been. His strikeout rate dipped slightly, going to 22%.

The uptick in production in July has gone to a different level in August. In 21 games on the month he’s now hitting .333/.450/.470 with six extra-base hits, including his first professional home run. His improvement in pitch recognition and plate approach have also carried forward.

Brantley Bell has 11 walks and 13 strikeouts in August, spanning 81 plate appearances. That’s good for a walk rate of 13.6% and a strikeout rate of just 16%. Let’s take a quick look at how the first three months stack up to the last two:

April-June .224 .267 .260 4.2% 23.8%
July-August .289 .382 .401 11.4% 19.2%

There’s a night-and-day difference pretty much across the board. His walk rate has nearly tripled, he’s cut down his strikeouts by 20% and it’s led to him hitting the baseball much, much better.

While the overall season for Bell doesn’t look good when viewed as a whole, what he’s done in the last two months is great to see. He’s clearly made and adjustment and it’s paid off in a big way as his production has skyrocketed in that span. Finishing strong like he has probably goes a long way to erasing the tough start that he had with the Dragons in 2016.

3 Responses

  1. MK

    The improvement coincided with a weeklong visit by his dad and in the past few weeks his wife

    • Doug Gray

      Well, maybe Jay said the right thing to him about his approach, because whatever happened, he’s seeing the ball much better and not expanding the zone anymore.

    • Brianna G

      I can vouch for that! The daily calls from his dad after the games help him adjust, too.