Originally written on Fangraphs  |  Last updated 11/19/14
Jed Bradley isn’t making excuses. The Milwaukee Brewers pitching prospect knows he underperformed in his first professional season, and he’s spending the winter doing something about it. A 22-year-old lefthander, Bradley logged a 5.53 ERA for Brevard County, in the Florida State League, after being drafted 15th overall in 2011 out of Georgia Tech. —— David Laurila: Do your numbers accurately reflect how you pitched? Jed Bradley: I think they’re pretty indicative. It was not a great year. I did start out strong. Coming out of spring training, I felt great. My velocity was down, but my pitches were working well and my command was on. I don’t think I gave up an earned run over my first 20 innings. After that, the five-day rotation and the growing pains of my first year really set in. I didn’t know how to handle a lot of it. I did too much in between starts, whether it was throwing, running, or the weight room. I kind of stretched myself too thin, and it caught up to me. A lot of times you have to learn the hard way. I would get on the mound multiple times between starts, and I played way too much catch — both long-toss and short stuff. I wasn’t very cognizant of the effect that would have over the course of a 142-game season. I guess my mindset was more about the number of reps, as opposed to a quality number of reps. When they say, “Save your bullets,” that saying is around for a reason. DL: According to Baseball America’s Prospect Handbook, you were throwing 96 mph in instructs [in 2011]. Was that accurate? JB: I don’t know how that could be true. I think I threw one inning in instructs before I went to the Fall League, and I wasn’t throwing 96. Maybe there was somebody there with a juiced gun. Scouting reports aren’t always 100% accurate. I read once that I don’t throw a pitch that I do throw, and that I do throw something I don’t. Some of these rumor mills can just go nuts. In college, yes, I would maybe throw 96 from time to time. But in instructs? Probably not. DL: Where did your velocity sit this season? JB: I was probably 88-91. I had some games where I’d get up to 92, and very rarely would I get up to 93. But 88-91 can be a fine velocity. There are guys who have pitched in the big leagues for a long time doing that. I was definitely used to throwing harder. My sophomore and junior year of college, I was pretty consistently 91-93. That doesn’t sound like much of a difference, but it’s a pretty big adjustment, especially when you’re facing better hitters. DL: What can you do to regain the 91-93? JB: I’m addressing it this offseason. That’s why I’m [at Cressey Performance, in Hudson, Mass.] seeing a guy like Eric Cressey. He’s the best at what he does, which is realizing where you’re weak and where you’re strong, and making those weaknesses a strength. I’m going to be taking his program back to Atlanta and working my tail off there. In the past, I was stronger. Coming out of this season, I was 10 or 15 pounds lighter than I’ve been. I’m more of a physical pitcher, so when I’m heavier and stronger, my velocity tends to be higher. DL: Is your fastball a two- or a four-seamer? JB: I throw both. When I go away from righties or in to lefties, I’m throwing a two. When I go away from a lefty or in to a righty, I’m throwing a four. There’s a little difference in movement, and not a major difference in velocity — maybe a mile-an-hour or so. I think a lot of it is just a comfort level where you don’t worry as much about it running back over the middle. DL: Was lack of command an issue this year? JB: I wouldn’t say it was the biggest issue, but it was one of them. Basically, the two things were life and location. If you don’t have one, you need the other, and I didn’t have either of them very consistently. DL: What do you throw besides a fastball? JB: A curveball, slider and changeup. When I look back at my games, in some I threw 80% fastballs. I like to work off my fastball. I like to work down in the zone and try to get a lot of ground balls, and it was especially that way this year. My strikeout numbers were way down, so I had to rely on the ground ball more than I ever had in the past. I threw a lot of two-seams away, and changeups, trying to get guys to beat it into the ground. Most of the time, hitters were probably getting a fastball. I thought the best way to get outs with the stuff I had this year was my sinker. In the future, that’s maybe going to change a bit. DL: Did you make many adjustments this year? JB: There were a few, although none really stuck. They’d suggest this, they’d suggest that, and we’d try it out. Then they’d suggest something else. But nothing major. They would maybe say, “Hey, try this grip,” but they were never looking for a full-bloom overhaul, or anything like that. DL: What is your best secondary pitch? JB: I’d say my changeup. It’s come a long way. I got a lot of outs with it this year. It’s a basic circle, with a two-seam grip, and I’ve gone from not even throwing it in college to relying on it quite a bit. DL: Any final thoughts on your first season? JB: It takes time. They say your first year in pro ball is the hardest. It’s a big adjustment period where there are a bunch of small things you need to learn, and that’s what the year was for me, a big learning curve. Baseball is the greatest game in the world, but a lot of time people don’t understand the pathway you have to take to get to the big leagues. In every clubhouse, there are guys who have been there multiple years. At the higher levels you’ll get 10-year minor league veterans. They’re supporting a family — they have a wife and kids — and are putting everything on the line just for a shot. This is a business. That’s something that’s really stuck out to me. They’re trying to put the best nine guys on the field in the big leagues at any point in time. They don’t care if you’re a 50th-round pick or a first-round pick. If you’re going to help them win at the big-league level, you’re going to be there. But you have to earn it. I’ve always been a hard worker, and this season showed me I have to work even harder.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Goodell will not recuse himself from Brady appeal

Will Smith suspended eight games for 'foreign substance'

Report: Kobe Bryant likely to retire following next season

Don Shula named in painkiller lawsuit from former NFL players

Kyrie Irving questionable for Game 2 versus Atlanta

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Michael Sam signs with CFL’s Montreal Alouettes

Ex-A&M quarterback Kenny Hill transferring to TCU

Michael Bennett compares Pete Carroll to Willy Wonka

Jim Kelly: There is no doubt Tom Brady cheated

Warriors hang on, edge Rockets in Game 2 thriller

Farrell 'not ruling anything out' as Red Sox's struggles persist

The Los Angeles Angels are finally finding their groove

Re-evaluating all 30 MLB teams at the quarter mark, ranked

Is virtual reality training the next leap forward for football?

Warriors a very shaky 2-0 against the Rockets

NFL icon Bud Grant zings Pats with Deflategate joke on Twitter

RG3 announces birth daughter's birth on social media

Don't listen to Nick Saban, the bowl system is just fine

MLB scores partial victory in minor league wage lawsuits

Ranking the NBA Playoffs' most significant injuries

WATCH: Will Smith ejected for foreign substance on arm

Guy behind NFL's social media trolling of Pats is a Jets fan?

In defense of 76ers general manager Sam Hinkie

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Jim Kelly: No doubt Tom Brady cheated

Post-combine NBA Draft big board: Top 30

Ex-players sue NFL for conspiring to push painkillers

Astros surprising, but can get better with Correa

Here come the Giants

Aaron Hernandez got new tattoo in prison

TUF weekly recap by NOS® Energy Drink

Ten players who could benefit due to PAT rule change

Five QBs set for breakout campaigns

Report: Lakers will pursue Thibodeau

MLS leaders struggling with attendance

LBS: I was a contestant on Sports Jeopardy!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.