SALT LAKE CITY — When his name is announced at Smith’s Ballpark, Brennon Lund always draws a few extra cheers.
Lund, who played baseball at Bingham High and BYU, is back in his home state playing with the Salt Lake Bees — just one stop away from the major leagues.
“Being back home is awesome. Not all people get the opportunity to play in front of the home crowd, so it’s cool,” Lund said.
Lund starred at Bingham, where the team won two state championships in 2011 and 2013. Lund was named to the Deseret News 5A All-State first team in 2013 and the 5A second team in 2012.
“It was cool. When you’re that age, things are a little bit bigger than life, so that was a really cool experience at that age. We won it twice while I was there, so it was cool to have that experience at that level,” Lund said.
After Bingham, Lund played three years at BYU, from 2014 to 2016. Over his career at the Y., Lund batted .335 with 78 RBIs, including batting .387 in his junior year. Lund is one of two players on the current Bees roster who went to college in Utah, Taylor Cole of BYU being the second.
“It was a good experience. I had Coach (Mike) Littlewood there when I was there and he’s a really good guy. He taught me a lot of things that I needed to learn so I could play pro ball,” Lund said.
Baseball is in Lund’s family. His father, Kelly, played college baseball at Utah and has enjoyed watching his son’s success.
“My dad, he loved playing baseball and he always talked about it growing up. Now that I get to be in his situation and get to play in college and pro ball, it’s been really cool to know that he’s enjoyed it as well as I have,” Lund said.
Lund credits his coaches, from high school, to summer ball, to college, to the professional level for developing him into a Triple-A player.
“Coach (Joe) Sato down there (at Bingham) helped a lot. I had a lot of summer ball with the (Utah) Marshalls and Sam Swenson (Marshalls’ head coach) helped a lot too, growing up. Then we get to college ball and Coach Littlewood and Trent Pratt (BYU baseball associate head coach) and all those guys really helped a lot in my development,” Lund said.
Lund was drafted in the 11th round of the 2016 MLB draft by the Los Angeles Angels, and gradually worked his way through the Halos’ minor league system, all the way from rookie-league Orem to Salt Lake.
“It’s been awesome. I’ve enjoyed it every step of the way. I got to play in Orem my first season, so I’ve been very lucky to have the opportunities that I’ve had and for me to progress, step up to each level and become better at each level so I can contribute,” Lund said.
After batting .264 with 59 RBIs, 20 doubles and eight home runs in Double-A Mobile, it’s been a difficult transition for Lund in his first Triple-A season. Lund says that one of the biggest differences between facing pitching in Double-A and Triple-A is that pitchers are more accurate with location.
Over his 19 games for the Bees this season, Lund is batting just .184 with eight RBIs, but as he grows more comfortable at the higher level, he is settling in. Lund’s latest series against Albuquerque is one of his best so far. On Thursday, Lund launched a home run — his first round-tripper since April 8. On Saturday, Lund turned in his first multi-hit game since April 12, going 2-for-5.
“It was good. It’s always good to see some success every once in a while when you’re working on stuff. We’ll keep that in the back of my mind and try and work forward from there,” Lund said.
Lund is working with the Angels’ hitting coaches to try to change his swing into something more viable in the big leagues.
“When I first got into pro ball, they’ve been trying to get me to move my hands a little bit more, because I hit from a stop, so they’ve been trying to get me to move my hands. It’s been a long process to try and get the timing down, so I’ve been struggling a little bit. Last season, I was trying to do it a little bit and struggled a little bit, but it will come through eventually,” Lund said.
Lund has also turned in some highlight plays defensively, including a sliding grab at the warning track in center field in Albuquerque.
What a catch for Brennon Lund! ⚾ pic.twitter.com/f27yak8GLj— Las Abejas de Salt Lake (@SaltLakeBees) April 7, 2019
“He’s been playing a lot. He’s done a nice job in center field. Since Luis Rengifo got called up to the major leagues, he’s been hitting the leadoff spot. He’s been doing well. He’s got a lot of work to do still, especially left-on-left, staying on some left-handed pitchers, relievers, driving the ball the other way and staying on those guys. He’s been doing great so far, though,” Bees manager Lou Marson said.