Brandon Watson has been red hot in the month of May. Thursday night, he extended his hitting streak to 22 games with a bunt single in the 3rd inning. He is currently batting .372 (32-for-86) with 14 runs in that span. He has hit safely in 30 of his last 31 games, going 45-for-126 (.357) in those contests.
Watson attributes his success early in the season to hard work. “I work hard and stay focused,” said Watson. “I try to keep the same approach and same routine. I have been doing well at the plate because I have been sticking to my game plan.”
During his current hit streak, he has raised his batting average up 68 points, from .304 to .372. He currently holds the International League’s longest hitting streak this season and has moved into 2nd all time in Clippers history, trailing only Brian Raabe (24 games, 1999).
“The hitting streak feels good,” Watson told CapitolDugout.com. “It takes some luck and skill together. You can hit the ball good four times in one night and not get anything to show for it; but you can hit the ball terrible and get a couple hits. It depends on the night and the grace of God. I am just having fun and swinging the bat and fortunate to have a hitting streak. I am an aggressive hitter and like to swing the bat. When I get a chance to get a strike, I am going to look to hit it. I have been fortunate to do well for the past couple weeks.”
“I didn’t know what the record was,” Watson said, commenting on what it would mean to break the all time Clippers’ record. “Records are all in the game and are fun to take part in. If I do it, it will be great. If I don’t, that’s fine with me. I am just out here to have fun and continue to work hard to get back to the big leagues.”
More impressive than Watson’s batting average is his on-base percentage, currently at .357. At the leadoff spot, Watson must look to get on anyway he can. He has done just that, reaching base in many different ways. His speed is a key attribute to his batting average and on-base percentage.
“I just do my job as a leadoff hitter,” Watson stated. “Usually batting .331 you have a higher on-base percentage, but I am going to keep being aggressive and not swing at pitches out of the zone. I want to get on base and start looking to draw more walks. I am happy where I am at and I will continue to work hard.”
Watson is not a power hitter, but gets on base by beating out bunts and infield hits. His speed and knowledge of the game allow him to take advantage of his opportunities. Although many opponents know that Watson likes to bunt, they still can’t find a way to match his speed.
“Bunting is a part of my game,” said Watson. “I use my speed and do what I can. I will do whatever it takes, whether it is infield hits, bunts, or solid base hits. I am just going to try and get on base anyway I can.”
Not only has Watson been consistent at the plate early in the season, but he has been very effective on the base paths. He currently leads the team, along with teammate Darnell McDonald, with nine stolen bases. This season, Watson has only been caught stealing twice.
“I just go on how I feel; if I feel good and the pitcher lifts up, I just go,” Watson explained. “You have to take a chance sometimes, and that’s what I am trying to do. I look to get on base and get in scoring position for the big guys.”
Watson has been consistent at the plate and his speed at the leadoff spot will produce more runs for the Clippers. On the season, he is batting .331 with 15 RBI and 18 runs scored. For Columbus to be successful throughout the rest of the season, Watson must continue to be a presence at the leadoff spot.
“To keep consistent, I need to continue getting on base and helping my team as much as possible to win games. My job as a leadoff batter is to get on base as much as possible, and that’s what I am going to do.”
Brandon Watson will look to break the all time Clippers hitting streak this upcoming weekend when they travel to Toledo. Following the final game on the home stand on Friday, Columbus will travel to Toledo for a short two game series. Watson, granting he is in the lineup and injury free, could break the record Sunday night against the Mud Hens.