Tuesday, November 13, 2012

An Interview with RHP Brady Rodgers

A third round pick out of Arizona State University by the Astros in 2012, Brady Rodgers hails from nearby Richmond, Texas. He grew up watching the Astros and knows how lucky he is to have been drafted by his hometown team.

In his first season in the organization, he did not disappoint. In 12 starts for the short-season A level Tri-City ValleyCats, he was 7-2 with a 2.89 ERA and a 1.139 WHIP.  He walked 11 while striking out 49. The Tri-City staff successfully broke the all-time win record for the team and made it to the playoffs, falling just one game short of the title.

Let's see what Brady had to say about his experience so far ~

WTH: Could you tell me a little about being drafted back in 2009 and then the draft experience this time around. I know that you were a little surprised to be drafted by the Astros. What other teams had been talking to you? Was it helpful coming in to the organization with your Arizona State teammate Andrew Aplin?

BR: Back in '09, it was a crazy experience because getting the opportunity to start my professional career at 18 puts a lot of stress on a kid and it was definitely a tough decision because I also had the chance to go play at a tradition rich college in ASU. This time around it was a lot easier, especially with the Astros selecting me, because only a handful of guys are drafted by the team they grew up loving and watching. There were a few teams actually talking to me such as the Cubs and Braves, and the Astros were talking a little too, but you have no idea whats going on in the draft room so I was just waiting for my name to be called along with [Andrew Aplin], my teammate and roommate at ASU. When I saw Ap's name get called (the Astros got a steal), I was stoked because he's a great ballplayer, teammate and friend so to have him around me again, it was gonna be an easy transition to pro ball and definitely make it fun!

WTH: Could you tell me a little about your pitch repertoire.

BR: I throw a 4-seam fastball, 2-seam fastball, curveball, slider and change. My velocity usually sits at 90-91 and honestly I love all my pitches so it's hard to pick a favorite. The main thing I work on is my command of my pitches and being able to throw strikes with all of them. I've always pitched to where the batter is going to have to beat me by swinging the bat and not walking to get on base. And also I take pride in being able to field my position because pitchers always get made fun of by being [called] non-athletes. I consider myself an athlete!

WTH: Since I haven't seen you pitch yet, what could I expect to see when I finally do?

BR: You'll see a competitor who isn't afraid of any hitter. The game won't last three hours because I like to speed up the game to make the batters uncomfortable and you'll see a guy who loves the game and will do whatever it takes to help the team win.

WTH: What do you feel like you accomplished in the short season?

BR: I feel like I accomplished getting used to a five-man rotation and throwing every single day and taking care of my body as the season goes on so I won't wear down and become sluggish as the season continues.

WTH: What was the biggest surprise for you in your first pro season?

BR: The biggest surprise had to be how tiring playing every day can be, but I love this game way too much to let that affect me so it was surprising but also real fun at the same time.

WTH: Who on the Tri-City team has a pitch you'd like to steal?

BR: Thats a tough one so I'll use a few people. Travis Ballew's and Kenny Long's sliders because the hitter knows it's coming and still can't hit it. I would also love to have Aaron West's fastball because he throws gas and I think it would be nice to see the radar gun at 96 when I'm throwing. And last but not least Brian Holmes' change up because it fools the hitter every single time because it looks so much like his fastball coming out of his hand.

WTH: Which batter on the Tri-City team would you least like to face?

BR: Our entire lineup was pretty deadly but if I had to choose I would say Preston Tucker because he has so much raw power and even if he gets fooled by a pitch, he still has the strength to hit it out.

WTH: Can you tell me a little about the ValleyCats playoff run and the team chemistry. That team was stacked with good pitchers!

BR: Not just the playoff run but the entire season was awesome. A season will always be fun when you're winning and I would say the chemistry was great which is what led to our success. And you're right, we had a ton of depth with good pitchers which should lead to some exciting years in Houston.

WTH: Who on the team made you laugh?

BR: The entire pitching staff always cracked me up. If we were together in the same room, I don't think we ever stopped laughing or talking.

WTH: What would you do if you couldn't play baseball?

BR: That's an excellent question and I don't think I've ever asked myself that, but I think I would have my own TV show on the Discovery Channel about surviving in the wild such as Bear Grylls.

WTH: Can you tell me something about yourself that most people don't know and might be surprised to hear.

BR: Hahaha, man I had a feeling this type of question was going to come up. I like to sing but only when I'm by myself and trust me you don't want to hear me because I might bust your ear drums but when a song I know comes on the radio, I can't help myself so I'll start jamming out.

WTH: How do you like the new Astros uniforms?

BR: I love the new unis because its a classy look and brings back great memories. Also I'm glad to see Orbit back as the mascot because he was who I grew up wanting to take a picture with and get his autograph for some reason! But orange and blue reminds me of the days Biggio was starting out and Nolan Ryan was throwing no-nos, so I see the baseball tradition and many winning years finally coming back to Houston!
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In the final game of the Tri-City season, Brady was called upon to come in to the game in an unusual relief outing. He gave the team three and two-thirds innings, allowing only one hit and striking out six. When his team really needed him, he left everything on the mound to give his team a chance. That told me as much about Brady as a player as this interview told me about Brady as a person. I think I'm going to really enjoy seeing him wear the orange and blue one of these days for his hometown team, making some memories of his own.

Good luck in the coming season and thank you for your time, Brady!

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