Name: Jeremy McBryde
Drafted: 26th-round of the 2006 draft (San Diego)
H/W: 6'2'', 225
Over the past several years, the Oakland A's have acquired several players who began their careers in the San Diego Padres' organization. Eric Sogard, Nate Freiman, Luke Gregerson, Andy Parrino and Evan Scribner are members of the A's current 40-man roster that began their careers in the Padres' chain. Jeremy McBryde will be bidding to join that list this season.
McBryde was originally drafted by the Padres in the 38th round in 2005 out of an Oklahoma high school. The hard-throwing right-hander elected to go to junior college rather than sign with San Diego. The Padres still maintained their interest in McBryde, selecting him again in 2006, this time in the 26th-round. McBryde was a ‘draft-and-follow' pick, meaning that the Padres elected to observe McBryde's second season in junior college before attempting to sign him just before the 2007 draft. San Diego brought McBryde into the fold just before the 2007 draft. He was part of the last ‘draft-and-follow' class, as the rules changed that off-season that shortened the signing period and eliminated the year-long observation window.
The Padres assigned McBryde to the short-season Northwest League for his professional debut. McBryde showed raw talent during his pro debut, using a good fastball to rack up nearly a strike-out an inning (56 in 59.1 innings pitched). In 2008, McBryde spent the entire season in the rotation for Low-A Fort Wayne. In 136.2 innings, he posted a stellar 158:24 K:BB. His ERA was 4.28, but he pitched much better than that and was a prospect on the rise in the San Diego system.
McBryde jumped to High-A in 2009, but a back injury impacted him all season. McBryde initially hurt his back during a spring training game, but he pitched through it until the pain became too much for him to continue. Before landing on the disabled list midway through the season, McBryde made the California League's mid-season All-Star team. He struck-out 82 in 75.1 innings as a starter for Lake Elsinore, but he missed virtually the entire second half of the season.
After an extended period of rest, McBryde came into spring training the next season feeling healthy. However, he developed shoulder soreness during camp that then led to bicep tendinitis. He missed the first half of the 2010 season rehabbing those injuries before finally being sent out to pitch midway through the season. McBryde's velocity was down in 2010, however. He posted a 55:18 K:BB and a 4.33 ERA in 68.2 innings between Rookie ball, Low-A and High-A.
After the 2010 season, the Padres moved McBryde from the rotation to the bullpen. He filled a long/middle relief role for Lake Elsinore, tossing 93.2 innings despite throwing exclusively out of the bullpen. McBryde's velocity continued to be down from his normal 92-95 MPH range, but he posted good numbers with the Storm, striking out more than a batter an inning (96 in 93.2 innings).
McBryde finally received an opportunity above the A-ball level in 2012, jumping to Double-A San Antonio. He began the year as a middle reliever for the San Antonio Missions, but he pitched well early in the year. When several relievers were promoted to Triple-A, McBryde moved into the closer's role for the Missions and he excelled. He saved 13 games and posted a 65:16 K:BB ratio in 53 innings. McBryde also saw a jump in his velocity back to the levels that he saw early in his career.
Despite the strong season, McBryde returned to Double-A in 2013. Once again, he served as the Missions' closer. This time, McBryde was dominant. He held Texas League batters to a .186 average. In 61.1 innings, the right-hander had a career-best 2.35 ERA and a 73:15 K:BB. McBryde saved 15 games and was named to the Texas League's post-season All-Star team.
After seven seasons in the San Diego chain, McBryde was granted minor league free agency and he signed with the A's. Like fellow A's off-season signing Matt Buschmann, McBryde was drafted by the Padres when current A's special assistant to the GM Grady Fuson was San Diego's Director of Scouting and Player Development.
McBryde came into professional baseball with what scouts term as a ‘live arm.' His fastball sat in the 92-94 MPH range and touched 96 on occasion. McBryde toned down the velocity a bit early in his career in order to improve his command and before his injuries, his fastball was a plus pitch. After the back and arm issues, however, McBryde's velocity was more in the high-80s to low-90s and he lost some of his prospect luster.
Things turned around for McBryde during the 2012 season. He changed his arm slot to be more ‘over-the-top' with his release point. That change gave McBryde back most of the velocity and movement that he had lost to the injuries. Now McBryde's four-seam fastball is back in that 92-95 MPH range. He also has a good two-seam fastball that has heavy sink. His best secondary pitch is a slider and he also has a change-up that he uses to mix-up the hitter's timing.
For the most part, McBryde has had good command throughout his career. He does a solid job of keeping the ball in the park. His career HR/9 is 0.9. He has struck-out more than a batter an inning during his career and his career BB/9 is 2.3. McBryde has a big build and has been durable since 2011.
McBryde has never pitched above the Double-A level, but he should be given an opportunity to land a spot on the Sacramento roster this spring. He is a non-roster invitee to A's big league camp. The A's have had luck finding major league relievers on minor league contracts, and McBryde could be the latest in that line. He will turn 27 on May 1.