Brandon Laird is EL Player of the Month

Brandon Laird (Photo by Dave Schofield)

TRENTON – Have a month, Brandon Laird.
The Double-A Trenton third baseman joined San Diego Padres infielder David Eckstein (1999) today as the only Thunder players to be named the Eastern League Player of the Month.
Laird, the Yankees’ 27th-round draft pick in 2007, hit .339 (39-for-115) with nine doubles, six home runs, 33 RBIs and 25 runs scored with a .591 slugging percentage in 29 games in May.
The league leader in runs batted in with 52, Laird had 12 multiple-hit games and 10 games in which he drove in two runs or more, including tying the franchise record with seven RBIs in a 13-7 win against Binghamton May 16th.
Through June 3 last season at Class-A Tampa, Laird was hitting just .227 with two homers and 22 RBIs.
“I was hoping to come in and get off to a hot start,’’ Laird said. “When I do get into a slump I know what I have to do to get out of it quicker. I found a routine with (hitting coach) Frank (Menechino) that is really working for me and I have been sticking to it. Things are just taking off and it’s pretty exciting.’’
On May 26, Laird became just the second player in Trenton history to hit for the cycle, which included a game-winning home run in the bottom of the ninth inning as part of a 7-6 win over Erie.
Laird’s 33 RBIs in May are a franchise record. He also led all Eastern League players in total bases (68) and was tied for first in runs scored (25).
Already the EL Player of the Week, Laird heads into the weekend series against Richmond hitting .311 with 12 doubles, two triples, 11 homers, 52 RBIs and 38 runs scored in 53 games. He also leads the league in total bases (114) and is ranked among the leaders in hits (65/2nd), homers (11/tied 3rd), extra-base hits (25/tied 3rd), slugging percentage (.545/4th), runs scored (38/4th) and batting average (.311/9th).
Oh, and he’s hitting .426 with runners in scoring position.
Through June 3 last season at Class-A Tampa, Laird was hitting just .227 with two homers and 22 RBIs.
“I think my mechanics are the same, but my mental approach is better,’’ Laird said. “Also being more aware of the pitches I am swinging at. It’s also nice having a good hitter like Austin Romine hitting in front of me. They are going to be smart with him if there is a base open and that means there is a good chance I am going to get a good pitch to hit in a hitting count. I just have to be patient, and if a walk comes around I’ll take the walk.’’

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