As the RubberDucks struggle to hit their stride, one thing is for certain: Trenton Brooks is getting it done.
A 17th-round pick in the 2016 draft, Brooks has turned it on and enters August on an incredible streak.
Not that it’s anything new to Ducks manager Rouglas Odor, who had the outfielder last season with Lynchburg.
“What we’ve seen here, he did last year a lot,” Odor said. “He took a lot of good at-bats. This is nothing new for me because he did it last year. It’s nice to see him have success because the first 10 games he didn’t have success, went back to Lynchburg, came back up and has been outstanding. He’s helping the team win ballgames.”
Brooks came to the Ducks for a cup of coffee from June 7-9 before going back to the Hillcats. Back to stay in Akron on June 21, he took a few games to adjust, but has been lighting it up ever since.
In July, Brooks set single-month highs with a .290 batting average, 27 hits, 11 doubles, two triples and 15 extra-base hits.
He had 48 total bases, a .516 slugging percentage, .875 OPS and 18 RBI.
His RBI total was the second most in the Eastern League last month, and his extra-base hits and doubles were third. The other statistics were all top 10 in the league.
“I had [Ducks hitting coach Justin Toole] as my hitting coach last season, so getting back with him and working on some stuff, trying to simplify things and that kind of stuff has helped,” Brooks said. “I try not to think about it too much. Baseball is still baseball. The pitcher still has to throw it over the plate. It may be different ballparks, but for the most part, it’s trying to simplify the game. It was nice to have that month. I felt like I got in a good groove. It was consistently working in the cages and bringing it onto the field. It felt good.”
Last season, he hit .281 with a .362 on-base percentage, .407 slugging percentage and .769 OPS in a full season at Lynchburg.
With a month left with the RubberDucks, Brooks is hitting .265 with a .313 OBP, .381 slugging percentage and .694 OPS.
“The biggest adjustment he’s made is that he needs to work the count to get pitches to hit in the zone,” Odor said. “In A ball, they would throw him more fastballs. Here, they throw him more breaking pitches. He needs to work the at-bats to get fastballs and has done a good job of being disciplined to make sure he gets a good pitch to drive.”
That should only get better with Nolan Jones batting in front of him and Oscar Gonzalez behind him.
Jones is the No. 1 prospect in the Indians organization according to Baseball America. Gonzalez is 26th.
“Nolan, obviously is a great hitter,” Brooks said. “He crushes baseballs. That’s really nice to have in front of you and with Oscar coming up, I played with him in Lynchburg. It’s going to be really nice to watch them hopefully do great here.”
It's a feeling reciprocated by his teammates.
“Knowing the guys that you have behind you makes the job a lot easier for me,” Jones said. “I know if I am able to get on base, they’re going to do their job and drive me in. It takes a lot of pressure off of me to do everything.”