PERFECTING HIS CRAFT: Tigers' Buzard A Craftsman On, Off Field
FORT BEND TRAVIS SENIOR LATHEN BUZARD CONSIDERS HIMSELF A “BIG WORK GUY”. WHETHER IT’S AT THE GYM OR THE BASEBALL FIELD, THE NORTHWESTERN STATE-SIGNEE IS ALWAYS HUNGRY FOR MORE.
The 6-foot-3, 185-pound Buzard hit .398 with 26 RBIs and eight extra-base hits in helping Travis to the District 20-6A title last year.
He expects better this season.
Buzard worked diligently on strength and conditioning during the offseason. He will be playing a lot at third base, so fielding is a point of emphasis.
Buzard’s big-picture goal is the majors. Taking the next step in his game means showing stuff with the glove.
“A lot of people think I’m just a hitter, but I can do just as much in the field defensively,” Buzard said. “I’ve worked on my fielding a lot, trying to get cleaner and get my arm velocity up.”
Don’t get it twisted, though. Hitting is where Buzard’s a “viking,” to quote the great Ralph Wiggum.
His swing comes naturally. Always has.
“My hands have always been quick to the ball,” said Buzard, a right-handed hitter. “One of my big aspects is trying to get the barrel (of the bat) out in front. I feel like I did that at an early age.”
Buzard is a technician. He idolizes Mike Trout, wearing No. 27 because of the Angels’ star, and Alex Bregman. Buzard admires Trout for his mechanics and swing, and Bregman for his plate discipline in not letting his hips fly open.
“I love trying to get deeper into my legs,” Buzard said. “I’m trying to keep that base and stay consistent. Keeping base and finding barrels are my big things. No matter how a pitcher is throwing, or what he’s throwing, if you can find the barrel, you’ll be successful.”
Teams have read the scouting reports. They know Buzard loves the fastball, so they counter with off-speed pitches.
“A lot of pitchers will work me backwards (in the count) and start me with soft stuff, so I’m focused on seeing the ball deep,” Buzard said. “All of your power is centered in your body. If you’re out front, then you’ll roll over, hit a weak fly ball. But if I can let the ball travel and let it get deep, and try to go the other way to right field or right center, I’ll be good.”
Just watch him work.