Tuesday, May 6, 2014

An Interview with Astros RHP Brady Rodgers

Shortly before the 2013 season started, I had the opportunity to sit down and chat with Astros announcer Bill Brown. It wasn't a formal conversation or an interview, just two baseball fans talking. Brown told me about conversations he'd had with Astros Special Assistant Enos Cabell telling him about some of the terrific pitching prospects in the lower minors, in particular Vince Velasquez and Michael Feliz. He asked me if there was anyone else to whom he should be paying attention. The first name that popped into my mind was Brady Rodgers. I told Brown that I thought Rodgers would move quickly through the system and would be helping his hometown team sooner than most people probably thought because not only did he have a good arsenal of pitches, he had pitch command beyond his years.

Brady Rodgers - April 2014
Photo by Jayne Hansen

Fast forward a season. After spending a season in the hitter-friendly California League refining his command and his approach, he landed in AA Corpus Christi for 2014 and had immediate success at the level. According to Hooks Manager Keith Bodie, that success didn't come as a surprise to him, but rather said that Brady came "as advertised." Bodie had this to say about Rodgers, "Typical consummate professional. Commands the ball very well. His stuff is very good. He's going to progress very quickly because he commands the strike zone very well. He's got a good feel for pitching."

I also sat down with Hooks Interim Pitching Coach Doug Brocail to get his take on Rodgers. Brocail explained to me that, at the end of Spring Training, the pitching coaches get together and map out a plan for each pitcher, but "with Brady it's a little bit different because Brady's close, really, really close." Brocail continued, "Me being here and getting to see him every day, his work habits and his bullpens and how he attacks hitters in the game ... it's almost like Brady has been to the big leagues. His misses are small. He knows when he needs to [rear] back. He knows that his best stuff isn't when he [rears] back. He's an all-round, ultimate pitcher.

"I wouldn't say he has the best stuff [on the team], but he knows how to use his stuff which makes it probably the best stuff. When you sit down and talk with Brady, Brady can talk hitting a little bit and I think that's where he understands how and why he's getting guys out. It's exciting to watch Brady work. He's getting better and better every day. The kid never ceases to amaze me.

"He knows how to pitch. He's getting better every time out and really, for me, Brady doesn't have hardly anything to work on other than he needs innings. The more innings he gets, the quicker he's going to get to the big leagues. You'd like to be able to say that every one of my pitchers on my staff are going to make it to the big leagues. In all reality, 5% of everybody makes it to the big leagues and I think it's safe to say that Brady's one of those 5%."

I talked with Rodgers briefly last Sunday after work outs.

When Rodgers was drafted in the third round in 2012, he was the first Astros draft pick to sign. He couldn't wait to play for his hometown team. The reality of that dream is inching closer and closer.

No comments:

Post a Comment