Brewer standing out in NECBL
If this summer is any indication, then Vanderbilt Commodores baseball fans have several reasons to be excited for Alex Brewer next spring.
The Chapel Hill native and rising sophomore at Vanderbilt University has capitalized on an opportunity to shine this summer, playing for the Keene Swamp Bats of the New England Collegiate Baseball League.
“It’s awesome,” Brewer said. “We’ve got a lot of good pitching here. That’s what will hopefully set me up for success my sophomore year….facing this good pitching and getting a lot of reps.”
Brewer has swung one of the top bats in the NECBL; through 25 games he was hitting .357 with a .443 OBP, six home runs and five doubles.
His coach at Vanderbilt, Tim Corbin, has taken notice of Brewer’s prowess this summer and made the trip to Plymouth, Massachusetts to watch him play on Friday, July 21.
“I’m impressed by it, but I can’t tell you I’m shocked by it,” Corbin said. “Sooner or later, he was going to hit, but he’s come on pretty well.”
During the spring, Brewer played in 14 games at Vanderbilt as a true freshman, primarily late in ballgames. Albeit he was not a starter, he was able to gain experience against tough Southeastern Conference competition and made a positive first impression.
“He’s a kid who can do a lot of things,” Corbin said of Brewer. “He can play the corner positions. He’s got a good arm. He’s continually gotten better defensively, but I think the thing that really attracted us to him is his bat.
“He’s a left-handed kid who had bat-to-ball skills even as a 10th grader when I watched him in high school,” Corbin added. “That’s a little bit rare. I knew at some point, he was going to hit and now, he’s getting the opportunity here. He’s made good of the experience."
Defensively, Brewer is a corner infielder but for the most part, he has been playing third base for the Swamp Bats. Even so, he views the versatility as an important piece of his game.
“It keeps me on my feet,” he said. “At Vandy, we work a lot on footwork. We try to understand the body and what we can and can’t do.”
During the summer, players have more time to work on their game without school work consuming time. Brewer said he is trying to improve his game all-around before going back to school for fall ball.
“I’m just staying consistent and bringing everything back to the middle,” he said. “I’m just doing my thing.”
For a Division 1 baseball player, Vanderbilt has become the ultimate destination for some players. The Commodores have made the NCAA tournament every year since 2006 and they won a national title in 2014. Academically, they are one of the top schools in the country with a mere 10.7 percent acceptance rate.
“It means a lot to be at such a prestigious school,” Brewer said. “I wouldn’t be there without baseball. I’m very thankful for my family and am very fortunate that we’re able to pay for it what we do and I’m very thankful to be where I am.”