Shorebird of the Week – July 5, 2012

For the longest time, it appeared Brenden Webb would be one of those guys who had a very good eye at the plate but wouldn’t be good at making contact. In 1,063 professional at-bats (here in the States) Brenden has drawn 181 walks but fanned an amazing 305 times, including 152 strikeouts in 487 plate appearances last season. With that in mind, consider that Webb’s 64 bases on balls is second-best in the entire South Atlantic League but his 81 strikeouts are fourth-most. It is an improvement, though, considering Brenden had the second-most strikeouts in the league (152) last year – the leader had 172 but also had 110 more plate appearances than Brenden did.

But in his second time through the league Brenden has improved his average by around 40 points, and the winter spent playing professionally in Australia couldn’t have hurt. In fact, Webb is enjoying a breakout season considering he’s never hit above .227 in any of his three previous seasons and has also established career highs in doubles (17), home runs (8), RBI (33), and stolen bases (16) in barely a half-season this year. After last night’s game he was batting .255 – improving 17 points since the league’s All-Star break with a 13-for-39 streak.

Strangely enough, Webb is one of the few minor league players who’s played four minor-league seasons without experiencing a mid-season promotion or demotion – but there’s a pretty good chance that streak may come to an end before all is said and done on 2012. While his average could be a little higher, the 22-year-old out of California’s Palomar College has probably exceeded the expectations of a 30th round draft selection and may get a chance with Frederick given the season-long turmoil in the Orioles organization. Brenden’s certainly earned it with his hard work and desire to improve by spending the winter playing in Australia.