Interview With G-Braves Stefan Gartrell

Photo courtesy of Chris Roughgarden

On Walk-off Home Run against Buffalo:

“I was happy I put the ball in play,” said Gartrell. “I was really happy I put the ball in the air and hit it hard. After I hit it, I knew it was gone. It was a lot of fun to come around third base and look at all my teammates just going crazy and going ‘Aghhhhhh!’ so that was fun.”

Photo courtesy of Kyle Hess

Knowing the Buffalo pitcher did not want to throw him a fastball:

“When a guy throws you four straight off-speed pitches and then he shakes, that usually means the catcher wants a fastball since he’s called for so much off-speed,” Gartrell said. “It looked like he (pitcher) didn’t want to bounce it because Constanza was at third base. So he left it a little higher than the other ones and I was able to hit it.”

Photo courtesy of Daniel Hamby

On hitting behind Luis Durango and Jose Constanza this year:

“(Chuckles) It’s funny. Since May, I’ve got a bunch of two-strike hits and two-strike RBI because of those two. I’ll literally take until they get to second or third base because they’re going to go eventually,” said Gartrell. “The pitcher is worrying about them and trying to throw so hard that they’ll throw balls up and away. I get walked a lot because of it. It’s funny, when they’re on base they get a lot of things going. It’s cool to have that type of speed with their high on-base percentages. They work the pitcher and find ways. They are the 1-2 (in the batting order) and they’re the fastest guys in the league, it’s kind of crazy. I’m like, ‘Okay, I’ll wait for you to steal second, then I’ll get an RBI.’ It’s fun.”

Photo courtesy of Kyle Hess

On hitting in front of Ernesto Mejia:

“If a guy wants to try to pitch around me and not deal with me, then having Mejia behind me….People say I’m a power hitter and I have a lot of pop, but this dude (Mejia) is rediculously strong. To have a guy like that where they have to worry about both of us at some point,” said Gartrell. “Going back to the walk-off on a 2-2 pitch, he left it up because he didn’t want to throw another ball or risk facing Mejia. Stuff like that happens, I’m not getting just fastballs, but I am getting more pitches over the plate because they’re going to want to pitch to me. They’d rather give up a solo homer versus say a three-run home run.”

Photo courtesy of Leslie Watts

On listening to everyone’s opinion when struggling:

“You know where the advice is coming from. You know they want you do good. It comes from a good place so it’s not like, ‘Hey, I’m not going to listen to anybody, I got this.’ Gartrell said. “I’m not fooling myself like that. I like to be known as a humble person. But at the same time, you have to understand becuase they are not you, their methods may be different. What they saw may not be what works for me. What type of person, what type of hitter, what type of player they are or were doesn’t always work for how I am. The reason I am here is because I have always been a very aggressive hitter, to a point to where it’s overaggressive. If I become passive, or take too many pitches then there goes my aggressive swing which goes into my power. I just have to go back to my roots. Shorten up, make good contact and see what happens. The more I simplified it and not tried to crush every single ball, the more home runs came which was funny, so I like that aspect of it.”

Photo courtesy of Leslie Watts

On hitting coach Jaime Dismuke:

“Jaime was the one who said, ‘Dude, you’re fine.’ No matter what. Even if I was like, ‘No, I am not fine.’ He’s like, ‘you’re fine.’ Sometimes I’m like, ‘Jaime what do you see?’ and he says, ‘nothing.’ Then I think, there has to be something wrong. It’s just a matter of getting back to my roots as a hitter.”

Photo courtesy of Karl Moore

On being the first G-Brave player to be named IL Player of the Week in 2012:

“The funniest part is that I was probably the worst hitter in the league the first month (laughing). Then the first week of the second month, they’re like, ‘you’re the best player for the first week of May,’ which is…..sad (chuckling). Really? It took me a whole month? But that is baseball,” said Gartrell. “I just needed April to be over with. I would like to think I was just in a slump, but then things clicked. I started shortening up my swing. I guess it took me until May to figure that out. I was really glad because it gave me a lot more confidence. I try really hard to make sure my confidence doesn’t go up and down no matter how well or how bad I’m doing. Instead of folding up everything, packing up my tent and getting out of here, I made sure I just kept swinging and at some point it was going to click and that’s what happened.”

Photo courtesy of Kyle Hess

….For more on Stefan Gartrell and my interview with him, be sure to grab a Tomahawk Talk when you visit Coolray Field for the G-Braves next 10-game hometsand which is set to begin on Thursday, May 24 at 7:05 p.m. against Rochester.  

By: Tony Piraro

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