Joe Grey Jr. possesses a number of the greatest uncooked expertise within the Milwaukee Brewers system. A second-round decide within the 2018 draft out of Hattiesburg (Mississippi) Excessive Faculty, the 21-year-old outfielder is coming off a season the place he slashed .252/.355/.499 between Low-A Carolina and Excessive-A Wisconsin. Augmenting these numbers have been 23 stolen bases, 22 doubles, 9 triples, and 20 dwelling runs in 479 plate appearances. Known as “a high-risk/reward prospect” by Eric Longenhagen earlier this summer time, Grey Jr. capped off his 2021 marketing campaign by competing within the Arizona Fall League with the Salt River Rafters.
At the moment Milwaukee’s No. 12 prospect, per The Board, he mentioned his improvement through the penultimate week of AFL motion.
David Laurila: To start out, who’re you as a hitter?
Joe Grey Jr.: “I’d say I’m nonetheless figuring it out. I’m nonetheless younger and studying to let my physique work the way it works and never be restricted. That’s what I’m attempting to do proper now. However I do know what I can do. I’m a man who can drive the ball once I get a pitch out over the plate. I’ve simply acquired to play to my strengths. As I become older and extra skilled, by way of repetitions and at bats, I do know it’s going to come.
“Once more, I can’t essentially put an excessive amount of into ‘who I’m.’ I’m not going to place strain on myself, attempting to ensure I’m down with it tomorrow and even subsequent week. That is my first full season, so I’m nonetheless attempting to determine myself out.”
Laurila: Are you able to say a bit bit extra about studying your physique, and never limiting your self? Your stage of athleticism is clearly excessive.
Grey Jr.: “It’s not reducing my athleticism out of my swing as a result of I’m attempting to create fast fixes to be aggressive. You already know what I’m saying? In highschool… like, I didn’t get the prospect to go to varsity, however these guys are on the market attempting to compete and win each single day. It’s not likely about improvement; you’re attempting to do no matter you possibly can to go 4-for-4, to get on base.
“Right here, we’re on this for the long term. For me, in relation to my physique — figuring my physique out — it’s about permitting myself to work freely whereas doing issues with my swing that gained’t limit me. I have to let my athleticism play.”
Laurila: Mainly, you’re looking for the proper stability between being an athlete on the plate, and making the required changes to succeed towards higher-quality pitching.
Grey Jr.: “Precisely.”
Laurila: Have you ever labored with instruments like Okay-Vest and Blast Movement?
Grey Jr.: “I’ve completed stuff with Blast Movement. Particularly with the Brewers. Once we do that’s principally within the offseason. That’s if you work on issues, however generally the metrics don’t essentially enable you. On the finish of the day, numbers can let you know some stuff — or someone can let you know, ‘swing this fashion’ — but when the hitter doesn’t consider in what he’s doing, then you definitely actually don’t have a plan in any respect. You may get within the field and go although quite a few issues, quite a few stances, attempting to determine the easiest way to do that, the easiest way to do this, and generally unconventional is one of the best standard for you. Different occasions it’s a cookie-cutter factor and also you’re like, ‘I wager that is it.’ So it simply will depend on the participant, what he feels and what he believes in.”
Laurila: Is there something distinctive about your swing or setup?
Grey Jr.: “I’d say it’s extra of… like proper now, in direction of the again finish of the Fall League, I’ve sort of gotten again to the place I used to be earlier within the yr. One factor for certain is that my load is a bit bit larger than some folks. That’s okay. In actuality, it comes all the way down to a rubber-band impact if you get to the launch place. So it’s completely different, however in relation to the meat of the operation — in relation to that load — it’s not likely that completely different.”
Laurila: Do you’ve a leg-kick?
Grey Jr.: “Yeah, it’s a leg-kick, however my foot and my arms go on the similar time. When my foot comes off the bottom, that’s when all the pieces begins. They work in sync.”
Laurila: Has anybody tried to coach that out of you?
Grey Jr.: “I’ve tried the entire, ‘not shifting my arms,’ but it surely simply doesn’t… I imply, I get within the field and it’s, ‘Nah, this isn’t me.’ I would like one thing shifting. The query is — or the aim is — to determine a method to be sure that I get to a degree the place that transfer is as environment friendly as potential.”
Laurila: Are you able to elaborate in your arms and foot working in sync?
Grey Jr.: “Foot goes up and arms return. They work in unison. The foot will grasp whereas my arms are sort of locked, and when the foot goes down, that’s when the separation goes.”
Laurila: With arms in thoughts, some hitters like to start out them as near the set off place as potential.
Grey Jr.: “The additional away you get out of your physique, the more durable it’s… some folks can do it, and a few folks can’t. However like I stated, variations are catered to the athlete himself. If you are able to do one thing and it will get you into the proper place, I really feel that it’s best to be capable to do something.”
Laurila: Slight change of course: To the extent that you simply’re nonetheless studying to hit, do you envision your self as an influence hitter?
Grey Jr.: “I wouldn’t say it’s ‘studying to hit’ a lot as studying to belief myself. I imply, a hitter is a hitter. When you can’t hit, it ain’t gonna present, not even when it is available in flashes. Folks have potential; it’s whether or not or not they determine a method to belief themselves. Baseball is psychological, and quite a lot of it’s confidence. When you don’t have faith in what you’re doing, it’s going to point out. Some guys aren’t nearly as good [natural] hitters as others, however they consider in what they do, so it really works out higher than it does for someone who hasn’t fully purchased into himself.”
Laurila: What concerning the energy profile, although? You do have good pop.
Grey Jr.: “I’ve acquired it, however I can’t strive. Like, I’m not someone who can go as much as the plate and say, ‘OK, I’m going to attempt to hit the ball out.’ Once I do that’s once I begin to over-swing. And that’s one thing I can management. At any time when my energy arises and I’m driving balls, it’s as a result of I’m mainly attempting to do as little as potential.”
Laurila: What’s your present top and weight?
Grey Jr.: “I’m six-foot-3 and 215 kilos. I’m listed at lower than that, however I’ve grown since I used to be drafted. And I’ve really misplaced weight, too. The offseason of 2019, I used to be 230 [pounds]. I needed to shed pounds, as a result of I acquired too massive from an excessive amount of lifting. For some cause, I’ve all the time been capable of placed on weight — placed on muscle — actually fast. I would like to observe that, as a result of I wish to keep versatile and quick; I wish to keep in middle.”
Laurila: How glad are you along with your season?
Grey Jr.: “As soon as once more, this was simply my first full season and I used to be capable of do what I used to be capable of do. At this level, I’m going to make use of the excuse that I’m nonetheless younger. However are you aware what? After awhile, that’s not going to be an excuse anymore. Over time, I’m going to have the ability to say that I’ve acquired the boldness it takes to do what I can do.”