southtownstar
BUMP 
Weather Updates

Baseball: Grant DeBruin makes big impression for Slammers

Updated: September 16, 2014 8:02PM



Going into the final series of the season, Joliet manager Jeff Isom had a couple of goals in mind for the Slammers.

“No. 1, I want to pass what they had last year,’’ the first-year Joliet skipper said. “We definitely want to pass that up. Forty wins would be great for us, after the season we’ve gone through.’’

The Slammers achieved both those objectives in the first two games of the series, winning 17-5 on Tuesday and 4-2 on Wednesday for their 39th and 40th victories compared with 38 wins last year.

In Thursday night’s season finale, Joliet rallied with two runs in the ninth inning, including a game-tying RBI single by Russell Moldenhauer, for an 8-8 deadlock after nine innings at Silver Cross Field.

Gateway scored a run in the top of the 15th and held on for a 9-8 victory.

Each team scored once in the 10th for an 8-8 tie. Seth Granger’s single drove in Max Casper, who had reached on an error.

The Slammers finished the season 40-56, fifth in the West Division.

Grant DeBruin put up big numbers for Joliet. The Slammers’ 6-foot-3, 220-pound third baseman was one of the Frontier League’s top hitters in his second season.

“I wish he was with an affiliated team,’’ Isom said. “That’s going to be a lot of my work in the offseason, trying to get him placed with somebody. He deserves to be in affiliated baseball.

“I don’t know if scouts see a lack of power at third base. I know he’s had a nice year, 12 home runs. I don’t know what they’re looking for. He plays a good third base. He offers something to an affiliated club.’’

The 24-year-old DeBruin, who went into Thursday’s game batting .356, said he gets asked every day by teammates, opponents, other managers and fans why a team in affiliated ball hasn’t come calling.

“I don’t have an answer for it,’’ he said. “I can just do what I’m doing and hopefully somebody takes notice.’’

DeBruin knows that hitting for power, especially for a corner infielder, is valued by pro scouts.

“I think there’s a little more stock put in it than needs to be,’’ he said. “That’s the way the game seems to be going. Shortstops are hitting 20, 30 home runs a year in the bigs. Everybody’s got a little more power.’’

Isom said he would be “shocked’’ if DeBruin didn’t get invited to a major league spring training camp in 2015.

“There has to be a need,’’ Isom said. “I don’t know what these organizations have with their infield at lower levels. Maybe somebody has a hole and they bring him in for an opportunity and maybe beat some guys out.’’

Isom said what impressed him the most this season about DeBruin was his work ethic.

“Taking the defensive side serious,’’ Isom said. “He’s kept the focus all year.’’

Now all DeBruin wants is a chance to take the next step.

“I’m not picky. I’ll take an invite from anybody,’’ he said. “I’m not going to turn anything down.’’



© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit www.suntimesreprints.com. To order a reprint of this article, click here.