***UPDATE: Jed Bradley was just revealed as the #97 prospect in all of Major League Baseball according to MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo. Follow Jonathan on Twitter at @JonathanMayoB3.***
Welcome to the second installment of Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers for the 2012 season.
If you need a refresher as to how this thing works, click here. If not, let’s ride!
It is January 20th, which is 77 days before Opening Day.
This year, jersey #77 has been assigned to Jed Bradley.
He was picked 15th overall in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft and was the second first-round selection of the Milwaukee Brewers. Bradley was chosen with the pick the organization received when 2010 first rounder Dylan Covey decided to attend college after being diagnosed with diabetes.
Bradley, like his fellow Brewers first round pick Taylor Jungmann, waited until the deadline day to sign his professional contract with Milwaukee. Unlike Jungmann, Bradley ended up pitching on behalf of the Brewers in 2011.
The Arizona Fall League is a place where prospects are sent to compete for various reasons. Some are on the verge of the big leagues, some simply didn’t get enough innings or at-bats during the course of their regular season, some are high-ceiling prospects who teams want to see compete against other top flight prospects. Bradley was sent to the Brewers affiliate in the Arizona Fall League, the Peoria Javelinas.
Compiling at 1-0 record with a 6.48 ERA over 8.1 innings spanning five appearances (two starts), Bradley demonstrated some talent but also his rawness. Yes, this experience screams small sample size, but Bradley was able to strike out eight batters in those 8.1 innings. He earned himself the accolade of “2011 AFL Rising Star”.
Bradley has stated this off-season that he has been told he’ll be starting the year in Florida pitching for the Brewers High-A affiliate, the Brevard County Manatees. There should be plenty of opportunities during the Manatees’ 140-game regular season for Bradley to refine his craft. Then again, there’s always a chance that Bradley pitches well enough to end the season with the Brewers AA affiliate Huntsville Stars.
Let’s be realistic though. While he has a very projectable body and delivery, the fact remains that Bradley needs some more development and refinement because he has not provided the track record of some of the other pitchers in his draft class. The 2011 college season saw Bradley take some big steps and give a glimpse at the kind of pitcher he could be a few years from now.
Speaking of which…
As, I mentioned at the top, Bradley is a left-handed pitcher who delivers out of a high 3/4 arm slot. He has easy arm action and pitches on a downward plane. As is important with any pitcher looking to avoid injury and maximize results, Bradley is said to have smooth and very repeatable mechanics. He hides the ball a bit providing some deception. While it can be rare to see a left-handed pitcher with good size, a good frame, and a clean and effortless delivery, Jed Bradley possesses these things.
That clean and effortless delivery results in easy low 90s velocity on his fastball though when you take into consideration his size and room for growth, the pitch could sit 92-94 in the future. His fastball is consistently plus and could still improve. Bradley has shown the ability in college to maintain his velocity deep into his starts.
The other pitches in Bradley’s arsenal coming out of college are a slider and change. When the slider is on it provides hard, late sweeping action. It’s a swing and miss pitch that at times looks plus. His change-up also looks plus at times, appearing like his fastball out of his hand but diving and fading late.
Bradley is talked about as having a very high-ceiling almost universally when I’ve seen scouting reports by different people. Potential is just that until it is realized, of course, but that is exactly what the Brewers minor league coaches are tasked with tapping into.
Suffice it to say that we should all be keeping an eye on Jed Bradley this year and going forward.
The next installment of “Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers” hasn’t quite been decided yet. I could profile Anderson De La Rosa, a 26-year-old catcher who was extended an invitation to big league camp, but he really has zero chance to make the club and honestly doesn’t profile well to ever make the 25-man roster. I just don’t think it’d be a productive use of our time.
If I skip De La Rosa (which I’m definitely leaning toward doing), and none of the other spring training invitees are assigned jerseys in the 70s, the next player up for sure right now would be recent 40-man roster addition Santo Manzanillo. The right-handed power pitcher was assigned jersey #67 and would therefore be profiled on January 30th.