Brujan delivers big night for Stone Crabs

Rays No. 12 prospect mashes two homers, drives in five runs

Vidal Brujan has collected nine extra-base hits through his first 15 games in the FSL. (Charlotte Stone Crabs)

By Andrew Battifarano / MiLB.com | August 23, 2018 12:12 AM

When thinking of the best way to describe Vidal Brujan's ascendance in the Florida State League, Class A Advanced Charlotte hitting coach Joe Szekely said with a wry laugh that the young hitter has become "a one-man wrecking crew" in his short tenure.

The No. 12 Rays prospect went out of his way to prove that again Wednesday.

Brujan smashed two homers on his way to a career-high five RBIs, leading Class A Advanced Charlotte to an 8-3 victory over Bradenton at LECOM Park. He also singled, walked twice, stole three bases and scored four runs in his 10th multi-hit effort on the circuit.

Video: Brujan's second dinger of the game for Charlotte

"With the two home runs, five RBIs, three stolen bases, heck, that's a good week," the hitting coach said. "He came up [to the Florida State League] and he was good from the get-go. I'm just staying out of his way and watching him play. He's been electric and he's done everything we could possibly imagine. He's a tremendous sparkplug, solid at both sides of the plate and creates havoc on the basepaths as well."

After batting.313 with an .822 OPS in 95 games with Class A Bowling Green, the 20-year-old earned a promotion to Charlotte on Aug. 6. He's hit safely in 12 of the 15 games he's played with the Stone Crabs, batting .436 overall -- the 12th-best mark in the Minors over the span. He's also kept a patient approach, drawing 13 walks while whiffing five times. 


Gameday box score


That keen eye and advanced approach has allowed him to produce gaudy numbers from both sides of the dish -- he's hit .556 as a right-handed batter and .413 from the left side. Szekely said the switch-hitter's success stems from his simple but effective preparation. 

"He's just locked in right now and he's seeing the ball well and he's not trying to do too much," the hitting coach said. "He's just getting the barrel to the ball and he's making a lot of stuff happen. ... He just comes in, does his routine, gets some tee work done, gets some flips and keeps himself sharp and fresh. Especially this late in the year, you want to get your work done and get out because a lot of these guys have played a lot of games and he's one of them."

Leading off against the Marauders, Brujan worked a free pass after an eight-pitch battle with starter Pedro Vasquez. With two outs, the second baseman swiped second base before scoring on Jake Fraley's double to right field. 

Two frames later, Brujan connected on a 1-0 pitch from Vasquez (0-3) and sent it over the right-field wall for a two-run dinger. He followed that up with a first-pitch single to left in the fifth and stole his second base of the night.

Facing reliever Ronny Agustin in the seventh, Brujan drew another walk and took second on his third steal of the game and 10th overall with Charlotte. The native of the Dominican Republic wasted no time in the ninth, cracking a first-pitch fastball from Blake Cederlind over the wall in right for a three-run homer. It capped off a night in which Brujan amassed a career-best nine total bases. 

"He's strong for a smaller guy," Szekely said of the 5-foot-8 infielder. "I think that surprises some of the guys too, especially the second home run tonight went a long, long way. Right now, I don't know if you can do much more than he is offensively, defensively and on the bases. ... He was facing [Cederlind], who was going to come at him throwing 100 mph. I'm sure [Brujan] was thinking, 'I'm going to get ready and see it,' and he did."

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On the mound, right-hander Brian Shaffer (2-1) allowed three runs -- one earned -- on five hits and a walk over six innings. Righty Jhonleider Salinas yielded two hits and a walk over three scoreless frames to earn his first save with Charlotte.

Pirates No. 22 prospect Jared Oliva doubled and finished with three hits and a run scored for the Marauders.

Vasquez was charged with five runs -- four earned -- on five hits and two walks with four strikeouts in five innings.

Andrew Battifarano is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter, @AndrewAtBatt. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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