Q&A: Bruján on confidence, advice from Canó and more

June 13th, 2024

This story was excerpted from Christina De Nicola’s Marlins Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

NEW YORK -- Marlins utility player was part of the first trade president of baseball operations Peter Bendix executed after being named Miami's president of baseball operations on Nov. 6. Bendix, previously the Rays' general manager, acquired a familiar face in Bruján, a former top prospect, from Tampa Bay on Nov. 17.

After a slow start to his Marlins career, the 26-year-old Bruján has been a sparkplug for Miami. What better way for fans to get to know Marlins newcomers both on and off the field than through a Q&A? In this installment, we catch up with Bruján, with help from interpreter Luis Dorante Jr.

MLB.com: Did you grow up in the same town (San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic) as Fernando Tatis Jr. and Robinson Canó?

Bruján: That's where I was raised. That's where I came out. That's how I'm here.

MLB.com: Did you know them at all?

Bruján: Canó since I was younger. I do remember Canó, but Tatis, I met him when he became more and more noticeable, and I've been around with him and hanging out with him as well.

MLB.com: Did Canó give you any advice?

Bruján: Growing up, I didn't get the chance to get any advice, because I was always looking at him from afar. I was very shy. I didn't want to talk to him. But I have been talking to him a lot this year. I spoke with him a lot, and mostly the fact that we played together on the same team [Estrellas Orientales of the Dominican Winter League], and he's been giving me a lot of advice.

MLB.com: What was the most important thing he told you?

Bruján: Just to take advantage of the opportunities, to do the little things, because the big leagues is not easy, and just to keep my head in a positive place.

MLB.com: How much do you love that bucket hat you’re always wearing pregame?

Bruján: I like it because it kind of identifies me. I bend it over, put it up there and people can see me on the infield. I think it's good for me.

MLB.com: I always see you dancing to your walkup song. How excited do you get to hear it?

Bruján: It kind of relaxes me, like, in my whole body. I feel very relaxed, because I start moving my body once I get to the plate. The guys also like that. They enjoy it. So if they enjoy, I enjoy as well. It was something I was doing in winter ball in the Dominican Republic, so I brought it back here.

MLB.com: What's it been like getting more playing time this year compared to previous years with the Rays

Bruján: People say that the confidence makes the player and that the playing time makes that player, so my confidence is way up high compared to other seasons. It is in a 100 percent level, and I'm very thankful for that.

MLB.com: How would you describe yourself as a player and as a person?

Bruján: I think I'm a very humble guy [who] gets happy with the success of others. Humble guy that is always focused on whatever I'm doing, don't look to the side and see what others are doing. I'm a person that has a lot of energy and tries to transmit that to the teammates, and [I] love that camaraderie.

MLB.com: What’s been your favorite moment as a baseball player?

Bruján: My debut has been the best moment in my life for baseball related. It has not been easy. I come from a really low [signing] bonus [of $15,000]. So it's been a hard path when I made it there. I said, "I made it here," so it was very impactful.