We’re exactly 13 days away from the Brewers annual winter fan fest, called “On Deck”. We’re exactly 29 days away from Pitchers & Catchers officially reporting to Maryvale for Brewers big league Spring Training. And we’re exactly 77 days away from Opening Day at Miller Park on April 1st. That means #77 is up for review.
(Click here for a brief reminder of what I'm talking about.)
First, though, I have to make special mention of the debut of the brand new “Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers” banner designed by my Twitter friend, Chelsey. It’s nice to have a special visual to tie all of these preview pieces together. You can (and most definitely should) follow her on Twitter at: @ChelseyJo
Today’s profile features a former 1st-round draft pick of the Brewers back in 2011. He didn’t pitch in the regular season after waiting until deadline day to sign his professional contract. He then was in big league camp last year before being assigned to Class-A Advanced Brevard County to begin the 2012 regular season.
Stop me if you’ve heard this before.
While all of that mirrors yesterday’s profile, we are actually talking about a completely different pitcher today. That pitcher is…
Yes, the second verse of Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers in 2013, as was the case with the first, is the same this year as it was last year. In fact, there has been much similarity between the two men profiled in consecutive days this year and last. There also is much that is different when comparing Bradley to yesterday’s look at Taylor Jungmann beyond the simple physical characteristics like that Bradley is two inches shorter or that he throws with the opposite arm.
Both were drafted in the first round of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, but Jungmann was 12th overall; Bradley was picked three spots later at 15. Both waited until deadline day to sign with Milwaukee, but Bradley pitched in the Arizona Fall League in 2011 whereas Jungmann didn’t throw a professional pitch all year. And while both did debut and pitch their full first seasons as Manatees, the results were drastically different.
Bradley, 22, got off to a hot start in the month of April but he simply wasn’t consistent after that. Over his first three starts Bradley was 2-1 with a 0.00 ERA (one unearned run resulted in the one loss) over 19.0 innings. He struck out 18, walked only three, and allowed only 10 total hits. Obviously that level of performance wasn’t sustainable, but the left turn Bradley took last year was a sharp one.
Over his remaining 17 starts Bradley allowed zero runs exactly zero times. He allowed one run only twice. He had 10 starts in which he allowed four or more earned runs.
All this resulted in a season line of: 5-10, 5.53 ERA, 107.1 IP, 136 H, 76 R (66 ER), 9 HR, 43 BB, 60 K, 1.668 WHIP.
Those numbers produced rates of 11.4 H/9, 3.6 BB/9, 5.0 K/9 and a K/BB ratio of 1.40.
To be fair, Bradley dealt with a couple of injuries during the season and tried to pitch through when he could, but those are some pretty ugly numbers. The thing that the Brewers minor league coaches have to do now is figure out what went wrong and how they’ll go about correcting it.
One thing I noticed right away? Bradley’s home/road splits are d-r-a-s-t-i-c.
Home: 11 games, 2.58 ERA, 66.1 IP, 57 H, 24 R (19 ER), 4 HR, 24 BB, 39 K
- One start of 6.0 IP, three of 5.0 IP, rest didn’t get through the fifth inning
Road: 9 games, 10.32 ERA, 41.0 IP, 79 H, 52 R (47 ER), 5 HR, 19 BB, 21 K
- One start of 3.1 IP, two of 5.0 IP, rest at least a full 6.0 IP including four starts of 7.0 full IP
It’s no secret that Space Coast Stadium (Home of the Manatees) is a big ballpark. With dimensions of 404 to straight-away center and 340 down both the left- and right-field lines, we’re not exactly talking about a bandbox here.
I also reached out to the official scorer for the Manatees, Brandon Revels, to ask for his opinion of how the ballpark plays since he’s there on Gameday. He told me that, “Space Coast Stadium is definitely not friendly to hitters. Tougher on RHH than LHH.”
Revels was sure to point out also that while his home/road splits were significant, the distance between his LHH/RHH splits were bad also.
“(Bradley’s) .238/.294/.323 against LHH (130 AB) vs .342/.411/.524 against RHH (307 AB) split didn’t help either.”
So all of those factors contributed to why Bradley’s numbers appear so much better simply depending on how you look at them. For more insight though, I must direct your page views to a Q&A session which Bradley recently did with David Laurila of Fangraphs.com. (You can read the full Q&A here.)
Some highlights of the interview include that Bradley knows he pitched poorly and identified some reasons for that. He would do too much between starts, or they’d try different grips on his pitches, but nothing he did to try to rectify the funk he was in on the mound would stick for very long.
In that Q&A Bradley also goes into his pitch repertoire and what he feels are his best offerings right now. Other than his four-seam and two-seam fastballs, Bradley said that his best secondary pitch would be his changeup.
But the best part of the interview, in my opinion, was to read the resolve in Bradley’s words when he knows that he’ll get better and that he now understands what they mean when they say that the first year in pro ball is a massive adjustment. He knows he wasn’t prepared for it. He also knows that in order to get better he needs to work harder.
The future does still appear to be bright for Bradley despite the issues which got in his way last year. He acknowledges what went wrong, figured out a few ways how not to correct it, and is looking to move forward from these shortcomings through hard work. That’s a recipe for success, at least, as he works to overcome a problematic rookie campaign.
And after all, isn’t admitting your problem the first step to correcting that problem?
Did you know that you can follow Brewers prospect Jed Bradley on Twitter? Do so at @Jed_Bradley.
You can also follow me: @BrewerNation