While in Arizona I got my first look at Milwaukee Brewers first round (15th overall) draft pick Jed Bradley. Bradley, a lefthander, showed a controlled, measured delivery from both the windup and the stretch.
Bradley features a 90-93 MPH four seam fastball with minimal armside run. His 4-seamer is unusually flat, especially for a lefthander, but he’s able to use his 6-foot-4 frame to generate a good downward angle on his pitches. He mixed in heavy sinking 2-seam fastball in the 89-91 MPH range. He was most effective with the 2-seamer late in counts, and used it as a strikeout pitch against the Angels’ Mike Trout in the first inning. He struggled to spot it early in counts and went to his 4-seamer exclusively when behind in the count.
Bradley showed no noticeable change in velocity when pitching out of the stretch, an excellent sign of balanced, repeatable mechanics. Scouts in attendance were impressed by his easy velocity and clean release. He showed the ability to reach back for a little extra and touch 93 MPH on a second inning strikeout of Red Sox third baseman Ryan Dent. Bradley was willing to pitch inside to the right-handed hitters that he faced, a sign of maturity that should help him move quickly through the minors.
Bradley’s three offspeed offerings are a slider, a curveball and a changeup. His slider is a true slider, with little vertical break and good horizontal movement. He was able to get it in on the right-handed hitters that he faced which should allow him to keep them from sitting on his pitches away. He throws it in the low 80’s, which is slow-average considering his fastball velocity.
His curveball is a potential plus pitch. He throws it out of the same slot as his fastball and it has good depth. He didn’t throw it often, and it was most effective when used as a strikeout pitch down in the zone. He threw it consistently at 80 MPH.
Bradley’s changeup appears to need quite a bit of work. It came in at 80 MPH but had no fade or sink to speak of. Although he threw it with decent armspeed, I’d like to see him finish it in a way that distinguishes it from his breaking pitches in either velocity or movement. He did appear to have good command of the pitch.
Mechanics and Projection
Bradley has smooth mechanics and repeats his delivery well. He’s able to throw his pitches out of the same arm slot. He pitches slightly closed, with his right foot a few inches towards the first base side. This adds deception to this delivery as he’s able to hide the ball well before coming to the plate. Occasionally this can present a problem for him when he doesn’t open up his hips enough to clear the closed front leg on the landing. When that happens, he leaves the ball up and away to the armside. This particularly affects his offspeed pitches, and caused him to hang a couple of curveballs and changeups. You can see this in the side-by-side below. The pitch to the left, Bradley opens his hips properly and throws an effective pitch to the target. On the pitch in the right image, he lands too far closed and leaves the pitch up in the zone. You can observe this in the videos at the bottom of this report. It’s a small concern, and it shouldn’t hold him back as he gains strength and flexibility as a professional.
Bradley projects as a No. 3 or No. 4 starter at the major league level. He’s a strong kid with a big frame and his clean release should enable him to be a workhorse and innings eater. He doesn’t have the plus strikeout pitch that would make him a frontline guy, but has impressive command for a 21-year-old. His curveball will play at all levels, and if he improves his changeup he’ll have the repertoire to be a successful starter. He’ll likely spend all of 2012 in the minor leagues, working on his changeup and building arm strength. He could fight for a spot in the big league rotation in 2013.
Pitch 1: This is Bradley's four seam fastball. It has some cut and is relatively flat.
Pitch 2: Bradley's changeup sits on the same plane as his fastball and does not run away from the right handed hitter.
Pitch 3: Bradley opens up his hips and finishes on top, hitting his spot with this fastball
Pitch 4: This is Bradley's slider, it's a bit loopy and comes out of a slightly lower arm slot than his fastball.
Pitch 5: Bradley rushes his delivery on this fastball, lands closed and leaves the pitch up.
Pitch 6: Bradley throws a good fastball out of the stretch and properly lands square to the plate.
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