Inside The Ivy: First, tell us a little about winning the league’s player of the week award recently and what it meant to you.
Brandon Taylor: Nobody even told me at first. I had to find out through the program they sell here for $1. I was obviously proud of myself and my coach from back in BYU (Vance Law) gave me a call and told me congratulations.
Inside The Ivy: Tell us about your relationship with Coach Law.
Brandon Taylor: My first year at BYU was my sophomore season and I really didn’t know Coach Law at all. I didn’t talk to him a single time before I came to BYU from Utah Valley (State). It was really intimidating at first because he was so quiet and because he played for 11 years in the majors. My relationship with him was awesome.
Inside The Ivy: What was going through your mind on draft day, and how determined were you to sign with the Cubs?
Brandon Taylor: I was just so excited. The year prior, Steve Hunton (area scout) from the west coast called and said he was going to pick me up in the ninth round. I just told him I wasn’t ready and that I needed another year in college. This year, I got picked a little later, but everyone just needs that one opportunity, whether it’s in the third round or the 33rd round. The Cubs had their eye on me for a couple of years.
Inside The Ivy: You’ve been starting at DH a fair amount this season. Has that taken a little getting used to considering you’re a career third baseman?
Brandon Taylor: It’s actually a little frustrating to only play defense every other day. On defense, you’re more focused with respect to what’s going on around you. It’s frustrating because I run to the foul pole every day and back and give it my all. It’s an adjustment that I have to make. That’s how the cycle has been going.
Inside The Ivy: What are your impressions of professional ball so far?
Brandon Taylor: I love it so far. I regret every single day not signing last year. I’ve learned a ton of stuff so far.
Inside The Ivy: Scott Hode was a teammate of yours who decided to retire. What was your reaction when you first heard the news?
Brandon Taylor: Well, I was in the dugout ready to go hit early when he talked to my hitting coach, Tom Beyers. You know, my philosophy is, if your whole heart isn’t there, you really shouldn’t be here. If you want to kick for a college or go to a flight school, that’s fine. His heart was just elsewhere, that’s all. I told him that his decision was 100 percent the best he could make for himself. If it would have been me, I may have played out the season, but I’m happy for him.
Inside The Ivy: Most of your starts have come in the No. 4 spot. How much added pressure or responsibility is on you as the team’s cleanup hitter?
Brandon Taylor: There’s obviously a little in the back of your mind. You get put into those situations often and the pressure helps you focus a little more. You have to bear down and get the job done.
Inside The Ivy: Tell us a little about yourself for those who don’t know the real Brandon Taylor. What are some of your hobbies and some of the things you enjoy away from the park?
Brandon Taylor: I love wakeboarding. I don’t do too much of it now because of how serious I am with baseball. I’ve been married since May, and also I have a little kid on the way.
Inside The Ivy: One of the things we always ask the rookies is how well they’ve adapted to the wooden bats from the aluminum ones. How has the process gone for you so far?
Brandon Taylor: Pretty good so far. My freshman year at Utah Valley State was in a wooden bat league, so right out of high school I was swinging with one. I also take batting practice all offseason with wooden bats. This year, it took a little more time to adjust to it. In college, I could be a lot lazier with a metal bat and still hit home runs and doubles. With wooden bats, you have to make sure you hit it right all the time. It took a good couple of weeks to get into the swing of it. Now, if I picked up a metal bat, I don’t know how I’d do. It’s the biggest adjustment to make in pro ball so far.