It was a year of growing as a person before Brevard County’s D’Vontrey Richardson decided to make a return to baseball.
The Brewers’ former 20th ranked prospect walked away from the game following the 2011 season and made his presence known in the Florida State League during the 2013.
“I was missing it and baseball is fun,” Richardson said. “I guess my decision to come back was missing the competition and drive to play the game whether you win or lose and have fun. That experience is something you can’t teach. What it all boiled down to was I guessed I missed it.”
The former two-sport star at Florida State University stated to Brewers Farm Report he returned to the game with a renewed sense of optimism.
“I guess its respect for the game and enjoying the moment of the game,” Richardson said. “I appreciate every moment and try to get better.”
The outfielder cited personal reasons and his desire to complete his college degree at Florida State University in a report by MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy in 2012.
“I went to school in Georgia, a technical school. I went there and studied,” Richardson said. “I grew up a little bit.”
In addition, Richardson credited his family for the unconditional support during his season away from baseball.
“They supported me when I walked away from the game, they didn’t tell me what to do,” Richardson said. “They helped me through the process. They really didn’t know what was going on and they were also with me when I chased my dream. They want what is best for me.”
Richardson, 25, compiled a stellar season where he accumulated an 18-game hitting streak between July 23 through August 10. Through his torrid stretch, he tabulated a .418 batting average along with an On Base Percentage of .452 for the Brewers’ High A affiliate.
“I wasn’t really focused on it that much. I found myself in the moment enjoying my teammates and the chemistry they have,” Richardson said. “It’s a great team to be on.”
The Georgia native stated he was not aware of his hitting streak until the final game.
“I did not know until it ended so I didn’t really look at the numbers that much so I guess that is why I kept on going,” Richardson said.
Richardson followed up with an eight-game hitting streak August 12 where he collected a double and triple for the Manatees.
The outfielder was a home run shy of the cycle August 30 at Daytona where he batted 3-for-5 with a double, triple and two runs scored.
Cumulatively, he batted .325 with 12 doubles, two triples, 13 stolen bases in 52 games for the Manatees.
He also demonstrated exceptional plate discipline with 14 walks in 228 Plate Appearances for a career-best .372 OBP.
Richardson acknowledged playing both football and baseball stunted his development on the baseball diamond.
“To play baseball you have to play year round and get better,” Richardson said. “When most of the baseball players are playing all year you might miss out on the opportunity to get better.”
The former Seminole quarterback opted for baseball and left the gridiron following the 2008 season where he threw for 315 yards on 23 completions with three touchdowns and three interceptions.
“I made my decision to sign the contract with Milwaukee and never really thought of going back to football,” Richardson said when the Brewers picked him with the fifth round selection of the 2009 June draft.
“I had that opportunity to chase after the dream that I wanted to play professional baseball,” Richardson added.
Richardson has begun his pre-Spring Training workouts and arrived in Florida where he works out during the off season.
“I am actually in Florida right now hitting and tossing the ball and putting work in that area to get prepared. I am looking forward to the upcoming season for sure.”
The outfielder remains open to where Milwaukee assigns him for the 2014 season, but believes it could be the Double A Stars.
“I think Huntsville but it all depends on how spring training is,” Richardson said. “Just have to keep striding, keep playing and keep going.”
However, all signs point him directly to the Southern League team with Chadwin Stang as the lone holdover from the 2013 season. Home Run leader Brock Kjeldgaard has not re-signed with the Brewers’ organization.
Much like Richardson’s mindset is on the baseball diamond, he chooses to remain in the present.
“The future is undecided so just plan it, day-by-day,” Richardson said.