Mariners Prospect Bryson Brigman Ready For Breakout 2018
By Ty Gonzalez
In the 2016 MLB Draft, the University of San Diego’s Bryson Brigman was selected 87th overall by the Seattle Mariners. Since then, Bryson has been impressing the Mariners organization with both his offensive and defensive skill set.
Bryson is currently in Peoria spending time in both the big league and minor league camps. While he still remains in A-level ball for now, the second-year shortstop is looking to make big strides in eventually reaching the Major Leagues.
Bryson was kind enough to sit down and spare a few minutes with us.
The days of Spring can be grueling for both young and veteran ball players, but Bryson seems to be enjoying himself.
“It’s been pretty good this year,” Bryson said about his Spring Training experience. “I was actually out here a bit early because I was taking some classes in the offseason and wanted to come out here and get myself ready. It’s definitely been beneficial.”
Bryson has appeared in some big league games as a reserve recently, which has helped him prepare for the upcoming season.
“Getting into games and everything the last week or so has been pretty good and I’m itching to get the season going.”
For some of the young guys who are lucky enough to spend time with the Major League club, they are able to take advantage of picking the brain of some of the most successful players in the MLB. As for Bryson, however, he has instead received advice and guidance from some of the other players within the Mariners farm, such as outfielder Ian Miller.
“Ian Miller is one of my good buddies. We were both here early, so we were hanging out all the time. He’s been really cool with getting me through things and helping me get ready for the season.”
Bryson has had his fair share of being starstruck, though.
“Last year I was actually in a hitting group with both Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz. It was just us three. We just ended up hitting in the same cage. I felt real small in there, hitting some line drives while these guys are smoking the baseball.”
While recently reserving in a Cactus League matchup, Bryson was able to interact with Cano, who he perfectly describes as “cool.”
“It’s so fun to watch Cano play. From his swing, to fielding, to throwing and everything, no one really moves like him. It’s pretty cool to watch him.”
Bryson is now entering his second full season within the Mariners organization. After last season, he now has a better understanding of the rigorous grind of being a professional baseball player.
“You get to see the wear and tear on your body, and see what you need to every day to make sure you’re ready to play,” he explained about his first season. As for his mindset going into 2018, Bryson is all about keeping it simple. “It’s just trusting my ability, trying to get a little better every day, and find a way to help the team win. Other than that, things kind of fall into place.”
Off the diamond, Bryson loves playing video games. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you have seen the crazy amount of popularity the game Fortnite has received, especially from professional athletes. While skeptical at first, Bryson has also jumped on the Fortnite hype train and plays it every night when he gets home.
“I’ve definitely caught the Fortnite bug. Me and Nick Zammarelli play pretty much every day. Joe Rizzo plays, Gareth Morgan plays, Nick Wells plays. It’s pretty cool to hangout that way as well and not only doing baseball. It’s definitely a cool way to bring everyone together.”
Bryson grew up a San Francisco Giants fan, so other than Safeco Field, he’s looking forward to some day playing in the Giants’ AT&T Park when he eventually reaches the Major League level.
“That would be a dream come true to play out there. Just to be out on that field, have a little homecoming, and have my buddies come through. That’s definitely one of the places I’m really looking forward to playing in.”
Since becoming the Mariners general manager in late 2015, Jerry Dipoto — the man who drafted Bryson — has harped on “controlling the zone.” Bryson went into further detail of what exactly that means and how he utilizes it in his game.
“The way I simplify it is swinging at the pitch you know you can drive. It may be a strike but not necessarily a pitch you can do damage with. I think kind of the main focus around ‘controlling the zone’ is finding your pitch instead of something you may not be able to get the job done with. I’m really just trying to continue to not only work good counts, work walks, and understand where the strike zone is, but also be able to swing at good pitches that I can do damage with.”
Since the age of 16, Bryson has had the honor of representing different iterations of Team USA, including his last appearance in 2015 for the all-collegiate squad.
“It’s awesome,” Bryson expressed about representing his country. “I absolutely love it. You’re kind of representing everybody. It’s not just yourself any more. You’re not trying to get drafted. The main goal out there is to bring that gold medal home. I’ve loved it every time. You get to go out and see different parts of the world and create a lot of great relationships. Hopefully I can make the team again one day.”
Though a San Jose, California native, Bryson ended up going south to San Diego for his college career. For residents of California, Northern California and Southern California are often viewed as two separate worlds, but Bryson didn’t have a hard time adjusting to the SoCal lifestyle.
“Secretly, I really like SoCal. It’s a beautiful place. I was blessed to be in San Diego, which doesn’t get much better than that. You’re right by the beach and everything. It was phenomenal. I really loved it out there, but NorCal will always be home.”
In 2018, Bryson hopes to begin his season fairly close to home with the defending California League champion High-A Modesto Nuts. For the young shortstop, this is another step to finally achieving the lifelong dream of becoming a Major League player. With any baseball player, improvement sometimes comes with change, which has led Bryson to alter a few things with his game.
“I’ve been tinkering with a few things with my swing, and I feel like I’ve kind of locked them in this Spring. Just really sticking with that consistency. One of the things I went through in my first full season was changing things left and right; I was mixing in a leg kick, I was changing my hands up and down, trying to find things that worked for me.”
As for his goals for the 2018 season…
“One of the things that I really want to do is find that consistency with my swing and also play really good defense that, you know, every time the ball is hit to me, guys aren’t thinking, ‘Oh no, here we go,” they’re thinking, ‘Okay, that’s an out.’ In the long run, those are things that will help the team win, as well as getting on base a whole bunch for the big dudes like Rizzo and Morgan. Just find my spot and play my role, and really just find a way to help the team win at the end of the day. I’m a firm believer that when your goals are set on that, as opposed to your own personal goals, it ends up working out better for you.”
He is a team player for sure, and that kind of attitude is part of what makes a player great. If Bryson can, as he explained, find his identity at the plate, his talent will show through and start to turn more heads. For now, wherever he lands in 2018 and beyond, he wants to help his ballclub win games and hopefully greatly contribute in doing so.
Next: Ian Miller Says He is Ready to Help Seattle
We would just like to say thank you to Bryson and his team for allowing us the opportunity for this interview. It was a pleasure and we are looking forward to seeing how Bryson progresses this season!
Follow Bryson on Twitter @brysonbrigman !