Brady Christensen has been to Fenway before.
Fenway South, that is; JetBlue Park, the spring training home of the Boston Red Sox based in Fort Myers, Florida.
Next weekend, he’ll get to check out the real deal, Fenway Park, as a member of the National Team in the fourth annual International Week event put on by the New Balance Baseball Future Stars Series powered by Program 15.
“I can’t wait,” Christensen told FutureStarsSeries.com
“There’s going to be a lot of opportunity and a bunch of great guys that I can’t wait to compete against and see how I stack up against that level of competition. I’ve never been to Boston, and I’ve never been to Fenway. I’ve actually been to Fenway South at JetBlue, but that was the only thing closest to Fenway that I’ve experienced. Other than that, I haven’t really been up in that area of the United States, either.”
The cerebral outfielder and Nebraska Prospects standout shouldn’t have much trouble getting acclimated at all, as he’s still plenty familiar with “America’s Most Beloved Ballpark” and is relishing the chance to dig his New Balance cleats into the same surface that all the greatest to ever play have.
“It means a lot,” he said. “That ballpark has been around forever, and there are so many great players that have played there — Big Papi, Mookie Betts back when he was on the Red Sox — and I just can’t wait to get to play there myself. I can’t wait, I’m bubbling with excitement.”
Christensen made a big impact at both the 2021 Grad Class Tournmanent with the Prospects and then in the National Combine, where he reached base four times, including a two-run double. Since then, he says he’s made a conscious effort to make improvements in his game, which he hopes will lead to a standout performance on the big stage.
“I’ve been working on my mental approach to my at-bats more recently, including my pitch selection and not just adjusting to the pitcher, but making the pitcher throw to my zone and attacking only what I know I can hit,” he said.
“Basically, I’m trying to stay more connected to the ball and make sure I’m driving the ball to all fields and not just having a pull mentality.”
That big stage, however, can be *too* big for even the best prospects, no less big leaguers who have been swallowed whole by the very presence of the Green Monster in their debuts in Beantown. Christensen knows that staying within that approach might be a challenge given the big setting, but believes he’ll be up to the task.
“I like to take things in, and I’m going to take it all in a little bit before the game,” he said. “But then, I’m going to think about what I need to do to perform the way I know how to and once you get into the game, it’s all about just playing. It’s all going to be instinct.”
Christensen has shown himself to be a well-rounded player, and the Iowa Western Community College commit is hopeful that those instincts and his tools will be on full display for the socially distanced big-league staffers in attendance and those who’ll be watching the livestream, as opportunities to see prospects in person in advance of the upcoming 2021 MLB Draft have been few and far between.
“It’ll lay the foundation for me getting scouted at the pro level, even when I go to Iowa Western, if not this year,” he said.
“I feel like if I show out, I’ll have an opportunity to get the foundation planted to get to the next level in baseball. I’m hoping that I do pretty well.”
If he does, it could play a pivotal role in the next step in his career, as Christensen admits it’s been hard to not think about the prospects of potentially getting drafted.
“It’s such a big part of my life — baseball’s been a part of me since I was two years old — so it’s always been one of my goals,” he said. “But at the end of the day, life is life, and it’s going to be real with you. If you’re not good enough, you’re not good enough. But I can’t really worry about that, I just have to go out there and show what I can do.”
Having the opportunity to do so at all — and getting to be a part of the only amateur game that’ll take place in a big league ballpark this year, no less somewhere with the history of Fenway Park — isn’t lost on him, and Christensen is grateful for his experiences with the Prospects and the Future Stars Series and how they’ve helped get him seen after Tommy John surgery had seemed to derail his chances to get seen.
“It’s had a huge impact on my baseball career,” he said. “I went from not even being scouted in the entire country because of the surgery I had my sophomore year to all of a sudden being on the radar of all these pro scouts and having an opportunity to play at Iowa Western. (P15/FSS CEO) Jeremy (Booth) has helped me a ton in the recruitment process and staying true to who I am and making sure I’m doing everything I can to succeed and get to the next level.”
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