The turning point for 22-year-old outfielder Trent Grisham came while playing for Double-A Biloxi in 2018.
A former minor league teammate, Jordan Yamamoto, pitching for the Marlins’ Jacksonville affiliate, threw Grisham a fastball down the middle and he swung through it to strike out.
Thoroughly frustrated, Grisham made the decision to return to the batting grip he used when drafted 15th overall in 2015 out of high school in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
“It just made me so mad and fed up with what I was doing,” Grisham said.
Grisham scrapped the conventional batting grip he had been convinced to use after turning pro and went back to the grip in which he rested his thumbs on the bat instead of wrapping them around the handle, similar to how one grips a golf club.
When he returned to action in 2019, he was a different hitter.
“I was done doing things the way everybody wanted me to,” said Grisham, a lefthanded hitter who also eschews batting gloves. “I just wanted to go back to what felt comfortable for me.”
Returning to Biloxi, Grisham flashed power he hadn’t previously shown while continuing to display strong plate judgment. The Brewers promoted him to Triple-A San Antonio to start the second half.
In 97 games prior to his Aug. 1 callup, Grisham hit .300/.407/.603 with 26 home runs and 12 stolen bases. His incredible strike-zone knowledge resulted in 67 walks and 72 strikeouts.
“Driving the ball has never been a problem for me,” Grisham said. “But I never really focused on hitting home runs. They just happen when you put a good swing on the ball.”
Beyond returning to his unconventional grip, Grisham made another adjustment that helped his power blossom. He made a conscious effort to contact the ball farther in front of home plate, being more aggressive in pulling the ball when pitch location allowed it.
“I’ve learned a lot this year that’s going to help me going forward,” said Grisham, who received regular playing time in his early days with the Brewers. “I’m really excited about what I’ve learned and how they improve my performance on the field.”
— Righthander Devin Williams, a 2013 second-rounder beset by injuries and inconsistent performances, took off this season when moved from the rotation to the bullpen. The Brewers called up the 24-year-old and he made his big league debut Aug. 7 in Pittsburgh.
— Righthander Max Lazar returned to low Class A Wisconsin after a stint in the Rookie-level Arizona League and boosted his strikeout total to 90 in 66.1 innings with the Timber Rattlers. He went 6-2, 1.63 through 16 games (eight starts).