Up next in our series of winter interviews is Brent Brewer. Brent was drafted in the second round of the 2006 draft and he grew up in Tyrone Georgia. Brent turned down a football scholarship to Florida State University, so he came with very high expectations. Brent played the full 2006 season at Arizona in the Rookie league, and he finished strong, with a .264/.328/.396 line, three homers and ten stolen bases.
Bf.net: The one thing that everyone wants to know is: Did any other teams express as much early round interest in you as the Brewers did?
BB: The Angels and the Colorado Rockies, but that's pretty much it.
Bf.net: Was it hard for you to make a decision to go baseball when you had Florida State for football?
BB: No, not at all. I love baseball, so it was my first choice. I knew if I got drafted by the third round, I was going.
Bf.net: If you had gotten drafted later, would you have gone with football, or was it baseball all the way?
BB: Well, depending on the money, I probably would have gone baseball, but if I had gone later than the third round I would have definitely thought about football.
Bf.net: Were you aware that the Brewers were watching you really closely?
BB: I knew they were watching me at the beginning of the season. I didn't know if they were going to draft me or not, but then the day of the draft I saw my name pop up on the board, so I was excited.
Bf.net: Was it really exciting for you to go in the second round? Were you expecting to go that high?
BB: Not really. I was expecting the third round, but I saw my name come up, so that was good.
Bf.net: Was it hard for you to give up football? FSU is a big time school...
BB: Yeah, it was pretty hard, but like I said, I love baseball and that's pretty important.
Bf.net: Did you consider going to college and playing baseball?
BB: Yes I did. The coaches told me I could come in and play, but I didn't really know what position and I didn't know if the football team was really going to let me.
Bf.net: That was with FSU then?
Bf.net: You didn't talk with anybody else?
BB: Clemson, Georgia, Vanderbilt, and a couple more.
Bf.net: Do you feel like there is more pressure on you because you are a second round pick and all the money that goes along with that?
BB: At first I did, but now I'm kind of laid back. I'm kind of getting a lot better and getting used to everything, but yeah, I'd say at first there was.
Bf.net: Well how much time have you had off this season? I know the Arizona season ended in, what August? ---But what have you been doing since then?
BB: I've been working out in Arizona with the coaches. Just working on skills and becoming a better person. I've been doing community service and going to Children's hospitals and stuff like that.
Bf.net: Have you been there all year, or are you in Georgia right now?
BB: I've been in Arizona all winter.
Bf.net: So they're keeping you busy...
BB: Oh yeah.
Bf.net: So I was curious: Do you follow press about yourself; do you look at reports or anything?
BB: Not really. I don't look at stuff like that.
Bf.net: I understand that---you don't really want to know what other people are thinking because you know yourself, right?
Bf.net: I know you played shortstop last year and you had some errors. Have you been working on that a lot in Instructionals?
BB: I'm working on that big time. Just getting my throwing down---that was a big deal---just throwing the ball. I think I've got that worked out though, so I just keep working at it.
Bf.net: Do you have any trouble with your footwork, or is it just the throwing?
BB: I'm working on every part of my game so that everything will get better.
Bf.net: Did you play any other positions in High School besides shortstop?
BB: I played a little outfield my junior year and that was it---just shortstop.
Bf.net: Have you the Brewers talked about moving you to another position, or are they "dead-set" with you at shortstop?
BB: They are set at shortstop.
Bf.net: You said you were working on throwing: Does that mean you spend hours and hours a day working on just throwing, or...
BB: Well, not "hours and hours," but what I have been doing is just working on hitting him in the chest every time and when we take infield just getting my release point down and keeping my head still.
Bf.net: Are there a bunch of guys that have been in Arizona all winter?
BB: At the first part of the winter it was about 12 guys. Now, it's about 28 or 30 (as of early February).
Bf.net: Your agent told me you hang out with Darren Ford, is that true?
BB: Oh yeah...
Bf.net: Are you jealous of him because he got to go to Hawaii and you didn't?
BB: Well, it's my first year, but I'll go next year.
Bf.net: How hard has the transition been from metal bats to wood for you?
BB: It wasn't bad. I've been using wood since I was probably 12 or 13 years old. It was pretty natural so it wasn't that big of a deal.
Bf.net: Do you see yourself as a power hitter or a high average guy?
BB: High average---well, I think I'm both, but mostly a high average guy.
Bf.net: Speed is a big part of your game...
BB: Oh definitely it is.
Bf.net: Do you work a lot on stealing bases, or is that something that you've always done well so the Brewers don't make you work on it...
BB: I work on the form and getting good jumps---reading the pitches.
Bf.net: Do you think that taking walks and cutting down on strikeouts is really important?
BB: Oh yeah. You get things started with the walks.
Bf.net: Was that something that you saw improvement in yourself as the season went on last year?
BB: Oh yeah, it did---big time.
Bf.net: One of things I noticed from looking at your stats is that you really caught on as the season went along. Did something "click" at the end of the year or did you just get used to being in Arizona?
BB: I think I was just getting better---I was working harder and things like that. I don't know---I just kind of caught on at the end. Then in "Instructs" I did really good.
Bf.net: Do you spend a lot of time in the weight room?
BB: We do weights almost every day---4 days a week.
Bf.net: Do you ever have any concerns about injuries? I know you are a young guy, but do you ever think about it?
BB: Yeah, I had a couple of injuries in Arizona, but I just recovered and I don't really have any problems.
Bf.net: Is it helpful to you to have familiar faces, like Cedric Turner of the Padres organization out there in Arizona too?
BB: It's cool. After the games I go talk to him and we hang out sometimes. We go out and eat and things like that.
Bf.net: Has it been hard to transition from Atlanta to Arizona?
BB: Yeah, at first it was because we didn't have cars and we were stuck in the hotel all day, but now we have cars and apartments so we can go out.
Bf.net: You grew up just outside of Atlanta (Tyrone, GA) ---are you a Braves fan?
BB: Well, not really.
Bf.net: What team did you follow growing up?
BB: I don't know. I just love playing...
Bf.net: You didn't think much of the Braves then?
BB: No, not really. I like the Mets.
Bf.net: Did you have a favorite player growing up?
BB: Jose Reyes
Bf.net: What player do you think you are most similar to?
BB: Probably Arod or maybe Jeter. Somebody like that.
Bf.net: That's setting the bar really high!
Bf.net: Have you gotten to meet any of the Brewers guys like Prince Fielder or Rickie Weeks?
BB: JJ Hardy and Bill Hall and Ben Sheets...
Bf.net: Have you gotten to spend any time with Ned Yost?
BB: Well, not yet. He gave me an award at "Instructs" but that's pretty much it.
Bf.net: Do you know where you are headed yet? Are you going to be in Helena or West Virginia? Have they told you yet?
BB: I have no idea.
Bf.net: Where would you like to be?
BB: I'd like to be at West Virginia to start the season.
Bf.net: Do you think you could move quickly? Do you think you could start at West Virginia and then move up, or would you like to spend the whole season in West Virginia?
BB: If I'm making big improvements... I think I can move up further. Maybe to Brevard...
Bf.net: Where do you see yourself in three years? When do you think you'll be in Milwaukee?
BB: Probably three or four years before I see myself in Milwaukee.
Bf.net: Did you tell JJ when you met him that you were going to knock him off shortstop?
BB: Aw nah... we didn't talk about that. He's cool, so I'm not messing with that.
Bf.net: I understand that... Well, that's pretty much it. But thanks so much for speaking with us!
Bf.net: One last thing: Are you prepared for everyone to call you Bernie when you get to Milwaukee?
BB: Yeah... I'm getting prepared.
Bf.net: Well, we appreciate it!
BB: Yeah, I appreciate it!