An interview with Cincinnati Reds third-round pick Bren Spillane

CINCINNATI, OH - MAY 31: Cincinnati Reds mascot celebrates after the 8-2 win against the Washington Nationals at Great American Ball Park on May 31, 2015 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - MAY 31: Cincinnati Reds mascot celebrates after the 8-2 win against the Washington Nationals at Great American Ball Park on May 31, 2015 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

Bren Spillane, a third-round pick of the Cincinnati Reds in the 2018 MLB Draft, was kind enough to sit down for an interview with Blog Red Machine.

The Cincinnati Reds selected Bren Spillane with the 82nd overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft. The University of Illinois product was the 2018 Big Ten Player of the Year and the Collegiate Baseball Player of the Year. Spillane’s .903 SLG led the nation in slugging percentage during the 2018 season. This dude has power.

Spillane is currently with the Billings Mustangs of the Pioneer League. He hit .248 with a .385 on-base percentage and a .837 OPS. Spillane has 5 home runs, 9 doubles, and 21 RBIs through 44 games thus far with the Mustangs.

Bren was kind enough to sit down and talk with Drew Koch, site expert for Blog Red Machine, to share some of his thoughts on where he’s been, who he looked up to when he was younger, and what position he prefers to play.

How are things out there in Montana?

BS: Good. Good as always. It’s getting a little too cold for my liking, but it’s really not that bad.

The Pittsburgh Pirates drafted you back in 2015, but you decided to go to the University of Illinois, was there anything other than improving your draft stock that led you to play for the Fighting Illini?

BS: At the time, the coaches at Illinois showed a lot of interest. When I took my visit, I fell in love with the place. It was something that I knew would benefit my draft stock and help me to grow as a person. It was going to allow me to get a good education. It was really the complete package.

Being from Illinois, did you appreciate the opportunity to go there even more? Were there other schools that showed interest in you?

BS: Oh yeah, definitely. There were other schools that showed interest. When I made my decision to go to Illinois, it was where I really wanted to be. It was nice, being a kid from in-state, being able to stay within the state of Illinois and help that school win.

You were the highest drafted position player from the University of Illinois. What does that mean to you?

BS: It’s pretty special. It’s [being drafted] something that I’ve worked really hard for and it’s really cool that the hard work has paid off.

Who was your role model growing up?

BS: My mom. She’s everything. She’s helped me become a better person every single day and I thank her for that. She’s helped us get through some tough times. I don’t know if you were aware, but my dad passed away from cancer, but my mom kept the family together and helped me grow as a person throughout that process.

You were crushing the ball in college last season. Last season you slugged .903. That’s like something you’d see on a video game. Other than your obvious power at the plate, what’s your best attribute?

BS: I’d have to say, as far as the game goes, it would be my defense and my ability to run. As far as other stuff, I try to be a clubhouse guy. I have the ability to keep things loose and help give other guys confidence.

You mentioned your defense. You’ve played first base and in the outfield. Do you prefer one position over the other?

BS: No, I think that’s what really helps me. My versatility gives me the ability to play anywhere and I want to keep it like that. I don’t want to limit myself to one or two positions. I want to be able to have the coach’s confidence to put me anywhere on the field to help the team win.

You hit your first professional home run on June 23rd, how’d that feel?

BS: (laughing) It felt good.

If you could compare yourself to any current Major League player, who would that be?

BS: I’ve been asked this a few times. In my thoughts, I really don’t have anyone that’s the same as me. I think I do my own thing. I have special attributes that not a lot of people have, even at the big league level, and I think that I’m my own player.

What’s something that people might be surprised to know about you?

BS: I’d probably say my dad passing away. I think that’s something that not a lot of people know about me. I’m not terribly vocal about it, but at the same time, I’m not afraid to talk about it by any means.

Sims deserves a chance to start. Next

Blog Red Machine is incredibly thankful to Bren Spillane for taking some time out of his day to talk with us. The Billings Mustangs end their season on Thursday, September 6th against the Great Falls Voyagers. Keep up with Bren’s journeundoubtedlydoubedly will make his way through the Cincinnati Reds farm system quickly. You can follow Bren on Twitter at @BrenSpillane.