Brantly out to prove he can be an everyday catcher
JUPITER, Fla. -- Although he is a familiar face from a year ago, Rob Brantly remains a rookie as he enters his first Spring Training with the Marlins.
The 23-year-old, who became the team's regular catcher late last season, has 31 games of big league experience under his facemask, yet he is being asked to step up on a daily basis and prove that he can be a quality everyday player.
"We've got a lot of new guys," Brantly said. "A lot of guys are trying to prove themselves here. I think that only makes us hungrier to work harder, play better, and try to go out there and play well."
The Marlins acquired the left-handed-hitting Brantly from the Tigers last July as part of the trade that sent Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante to Detroit.
Brantly remains a work in progress defensively, and manager Mike Redmond, himself a former catcher, looks forward to working with him.
"I've watched a lot of video on him," Redmond said. "You try to think of ways to tighten him up a little bit, mechanically, with his throwing and stuff like that. Right now, I'm a spectator. I'm watching him, what he does, day to day. His footwork. His mechanics. His blocking. The way he receives, just to see where he is. It's not something where in one day you go, 'I've got it.' It takes time."
Having spent a couple of months in the big leagues has given Brantly a taste of what to expect.
"It helps," Brantly said, "going in and getting my first bite in the big leagues; coming in here and getting the butterflies out. I'm glad we have a fresh start here."
Brantly is a promising offensive player, having hit .290 with a .372 on-base percentage in 100 at-bats last year.
"We have a lot we're fighting for," Brantly said. "As much as we're all fighting for a spot, we are all on the same team. We're all fighting to prove we're all competitors here, and we're fighting to get ready to compete during the regular season and win some baseball games in the regular season as well."