Less is More for Wright

Ty Wright (SMOKIES PHOTO/RENNIE LEON)

SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Smokies left fielder Ty Wright has hit generally well for average since the Cubs drafted him in the seventh round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft. But Wright faced adversity early in 2009, starting the season 5-for-27. Wright has since turned his season around to become one of the Smokies' most consistent hitters.

Wright moved past the aforementioned slump in a hurry by hitting safely in 14 of his next 15 games. He did so by slowing his approach at the plate.

"I've been going up there with a game plan and taking it pitch by pitch and not trying to do too much. I felt like I was trying to do too much early in the season," Wright said. "I'm just taking it slow, taking what the pitchers give me and not trying to do too much."

Smokies hitting coach Tom Beyers has an eye for talented hitters after spending 21 seasons in the Los Angeles Dodgers' minor league system as a player, coach and manager. Beyers took a laid back approach to Wright's development early in the season.

"Patience, patience, that's about it," Beyers said of Wright's turnaround. "Ty had a good year last year and sometimes when you change leagues, some guys adapt quickly and some guys take a little longer. Sometimes the guys that start out quick falter so you never know. When you have a guy that had a year like he did last year, the worst thing I can do on my part is to make a bunch of changes. I think just patience and him getting to know the league is pretty much what did it."

Wright has since increased his average to .276, but has hit .344 in his last 10 games. He was one of the few bright spots throughout a Smokies' 12-game losing streak dating from May 26 to June 5.

"It was kind of a weird deal; it's hard to think about the losses. But you can't really think about it; you have to treat it just as another loss and come back ready to play the next day," Wright says. "I didn't want to get into a deal where I was feeling sorry for myself because we lost six or seven games in a row so that was my mentality: just come to the park every day ready to play and see what happens."

The consistency and durability to stay in the lineup each day is something Wright prides himself on, but a minor shoulder injury during his 2008 campaign with Class-A Daytona put him on the bench for a couple of weeks.

The injury put a kink in Wright's daily routine, but in the grand scheme of things the off time was refreshing for the young Texan.

"It gave me some time to sit back from the everyday rush. It gave me a chance to kind of sit down on the bench and take a step back, just kind of take everything in and relax. I think that helped me in the long run," Wright says.

The time off was beneficial to Wright then, but riding the pine is not his style. Wright maintains that the strongest aspect of his game is being consistent and reliable no matter the circumstances.

"I try to be a consistent baseball player to when the manager fills my name in the scorecard he knows I'm going to give 110 percent for him that day. He knows that he's going to get four or five good at-bats that day and he knows that he's going to get a good defensive outfielder in left field for that day. So that's one thing I try to strive for: being consistent, playing hard, and giving everything I've got for the team."

Beyers concurs with Wright's synopsis of his playing style and expresses with his own sentiments that Wright's identity with the Smokies is right in line with what the 24-year-old strives for.

"So far this year, he's been one of our most consistent contact guys. He can really put the ball in play," Beyers says of Wright. "He's one of the guys we always know is going to give us a good competitive at-bat."

Every high profile prospect draws comparisons to major leaguers. Every prospect has lofty aspirations to one day prove those comparisons true, and Wright is no different.

The difference between Wright and other prospects is that he doesn't mold his game after the usual famed superstars of the major leagues. He prefers a blue-collar line of work.

"I've always tried to play like a Michael Young from the Rangers, being from Texas. He's a guy who's just a solid player and who goes out every day and does a solid job. I've heard some of the Cubs guys say Reed Johnson the center fielder, too," Wright said.

"They both have one thing in common, that they go out there every day and play hard. They are kind of the dirty guys of the team. I've got no problem with that. I just enjoy playing the game."

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