A future rotation candidate who may be flying under the radar

He might be someone a bit overlooked among Orioles pitching prospects. But he probably should not be, despite the fact he has yet to advance beyond high Single-A ball and is not yet on the O’s 40-man roster. He doesn’t need to be there yet, but right-hander Kyle Bradish will get there when the time comes.

He joined Isaac Mattson, Kyle Brnovich and Zach Peek when the four right-handers were acquired from the Los Angeles Angels for pitcher Dylan Bundy on Dec. 4, 2019. Bradish will not need to go on the 40-man until before the Rule 5 draft of December 2021.

Bradish, who turned 24 in September, was the Angels’ No. 21 prospect in their MLBPipeline.com top 30 at the time of the trade. Then he moved into the O’s top 30 at No. 25 and now he is ranked as their No. 29 prospect. FanGraphs.com ranks him as the O’s No. 22.

baseballs-in-bin-sidebar.jpgAfter three seasons pitching in the weekend rotation for New Mexico State, the Angels selected Bradish in round four of the 2018 draft. Before the draft, he was ranked by Baseball America as its No. 129 draft prospect. His actual draft position was No. 121 by Los Angeles and he signed for $397,500. After he had thrown 101 innings as a college junior, the Angels shut him down after the 2018 draft.

In three seasons with New Mexico State, he went 25-8 with a 3.51 ERA in 49 games and 272 career innings where he averaged 4.9 walks and 10.3 strikeouts. In his junior season, he went 9-3 with a 2.67 ERA. Over 101 innings he gave up 72 hits and just three homers with 4.9 walks and 12.5 strikeouts.

In his only season of pro ball so far, Bradish went 6-7 with a 4.28 ERA in 101 innings at Inland Empire in the high-scoring High-A California League in 2018. He averaged 4.9 walks and 12.5 strikeouts. If you are sensing a theme of too many walks, that has certainly been something consistent on Bradish’s college and pro record so far.

Bradish was a mid-season California League All-Star and a Cape Cod League All-Star in the summer of 2017 when he was 2-0 with a 2.57 ERA. In five starts and 21 innings on the Cape, he walked eight and fanned 28.

From what we heard coming out of the Bowie alternate site this summer, Bradish was impressive. He joined that camp on Aug. 3 and one of his pitching coaches was Justin Ramsey.

“There is nothing not to like,” Ramsey said about Bradish. “He’s a phenomenal person. Showed up a little later, but in shape and ready to go. Strong, physical kid. Different delivery than maybe what you are used to seeing. Higher arm slot, more over the top, but that’s OK. It works well for him. It was fun to watch. First time for him in the organization and it was nice to work with him.”

Bradish throws his cutting fastball in the low to mid-90s with a curve, slider and changeup.

When you talk about starting pitchers yet to debut with the Orioles that the organization has some hopes for and are currently at higher levels, you talk about a group of pitchers such as Michael Baumann, Zac Lowther, Alexander Wells and Kevin Smith, to name just a few.

Even though MLBPipeline.com ranks Bradish behind each of those four pitchers, Ramsey believes Bradish fits in well talent-wise with the group.

“I do. I think he’s up with that. Not taking anything away from those guys, but I thought he was underrated in some rankings I saw. He is very competitive,” he said.

Brian Gonzalez was drafted by the Orioles in 2014, and after the 2020 season, he signed a minor league deal with the Colorado Rockies. I interviewed Gonzalez after he had signed with Colorado. When I asked him to note and comment on a few players that impressed him this summer at the Bowie camp, he mentioned several and then made special note of Bradish.

“That kid has some unreal stuff,” said Gonzalez. “If he can just get the experience at the upper levels and still continue to work on his stuff, I think he’s going to be unbelievable. He has some nasty stuff. He’s quiet and calm and then he gets on the mound and it’s like thunder out of his hand. It’s nice and easy and it explodes.

“Great guy, super nice guy. Calm and just goes about his business. On the mound, it’s 94-96 (mph) with some cut and ride and this hammer curveball. That’s why the O’s got him. They saw something special and that is a credit to the organization in knowing what they want.”

Movin’ on up: In September, MLBPipeline.com ranked the Orioles with the No. 8 farm system among all 30 big league clubs. Last night, it ranked the O’s as the fourth-most improved behind Tampa Bay at No. 1, Detroit No. 2 and Pittsburgh at No. 3. Click here for that article.

For this entry in November, I interviewed Jonathan Mayo of MLBPipeline.com about the improvement on the O’s farm.

“There is a very strong correlation between having a highly thought of farm system and eventually winning,” said Mayo.

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