Alex Gordon was hitting .340 when Brett came aboard but is just .152 since, putting his season average of .288 closer to what he'd be expected to bat. Lorenzo Cain's average has slid from .282 to .262, more in line with what he hit last season.
But in players that Brett has worked most closely with, Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas among them, there's been profound improvement. Hosmer's average has climbed from .262 to .275, and he is starting to pull the ball more. Moustakas has nudged his average over.200 after hitting .187 prior to Brett's arrival, often crediting his new batting coach with the improvement.
Exactly what has Moustakas been told?
"Our little secret," he said.
"I'm learning," Brett explained. "I've never done this before. Done it with my kids until they got to high school — I was the assistant coach on all their teams. But teaching an 8-year-old to throw a baseball and hit a baseball? Pretty easy."
This is certainly not easy, and in many ways a predicament. If Brett was to fail, how could the Royals fire the face of their franchise? And to whom would they turn next?
Perhaps that's why Brett seems to be living and dying with every at-bat.
When he hung up the cleats after the 1993 season, Brett said he did it because winning and losing didn't mean as much anymore. He never got as high after wins and never got as low after a loss. He didn't want to be simply playing for a check, so he chose to retire.
"It's completely different now," he said. "Now I'm (angry) when we lose and I'm very excited when we win. I mean, I'm more nervous in the games now because the games mean a lot more than when I was watching them on TV."
There's been more wins than losses since Brett took over — the team was 21-29 at the time and is 14-9 since, though most of that can be attributed to some stingy pitching.
But Brett believes the Royals are on their way toward sustained success, something that hasn't happened for the franchise in decades — not since he was still manning the hot corner, and his scrappy team expected to be a contender every year.
"Every day we stepped on the field," Brett said, "we expected to win, and I think this organization the past five years of losing 90 games, they were hoping to win rather than expecting to win. I think when we start winning, we'll expect to win again."
When might that happen?
"How about tonight?" he said. "They win tonight, they'll expect to win tomorrow."