Interview: Cards 30th Rounder Brett Bruening

During the 30th round of the 2008 MLB First Year Player Draft, the St. Louis Cardinals dipped back into the talent-deep pool to select right-handed pitcher Brett Bruening out of Grayson County College in Texas.

During the 30th round of the 2008 MLB First-Year Player draft, the St. Louis Cardinals went to the junior college ranks.  Their selection was a mountain of a right-handed pitcher, Brett Bruening, out of Grayson County College in Texas.  His record during his first season of college baseball is deceiving, 5-2 with a 7.26 ERA, as he got off to a rough start but seemed to progress.  During regional play, the native of Flower Mound pitched a complete game five-hitter to clinch a spot in the JUCO World Series that his team would go on to win. 


The 19-year-old is still quite green as he missed over a year after undergoing elbow surgery during high school.  What he does have is a long, lean projectable frame (6-foot-6). In video I have watched, he uses a high leg kick to add deception and hide the ball until it appears almost on top of the hitter by the time it leaves his hand.  Working in the low nineties, Bruening could add probably add more velocity with professional instruction.  Also with top-notch coaching, he should become more adept at using his height to create a more favorable downward plane when delivering his four-pitch repertoire to hitters. 


In our continuing interview series of the Cardinals' recent draft picks, Bruening discusses his contract status, his plans for the summer as well as coming back from elbow surgery. 



Dustin Mattison: How are negotiations with the Cardinals coming along? Is there anything close?


Brett Bruenig: We haven't actually started anything like that. I am what they call a summer follow. So they are going to watch me pitch over the summer and hopefully we can work something out if they really want to sign me. (Writer's note: The deadline for signing a contract is August 15.)


DM: Where will you be playing this summer?


BB: I will be playing summer baseball in a collegiate league called the Dallas Area Baseball Association. I am not sure of the team name yet but it should be a good experience.

DM: Tell me about how you found out that you had been drafted.


BB: I was just at home hanging out with my girlfriend when my advisor called me and told me. Then I called my parents who were working and let them know.

DM: Were you expecting to be selected higher?

BB: I definitely thought I was going to go much higher than what I did. I believe that there were some signablility issues regarding my money demands that may have dropped me.

DM: Tell me about your pitching repertoire as well as the MPH.


BB: I throw a two-seam and a four-seam fastball. i usually sit about 91 to 93 and I can run it up to mid-90's when I want to. I throw a slider and a circle change-up. I would say my change-up is my second best pitch.

DM: How did you end up at Grayson County? What D-I schools have contacted you?


BB: Well, after my senior high school season, I thought I had a chance to get drafted and when I didn't, a lot of people told me to go to a junior college so i could try my luck next year. So I called Grayson assistant coach Brent Murphy and told him my situation. He and (coach) Dusty Hart brought me down on a visit and gave me a scholarship. I was contacted by several D1's out of high school, Texas A&M and TCU were just a couple.

DM: I understand that you had elbow surgery during high school. Tell me about that rehab process. High school is hard enough, I am sure it had to be really rough.


BB:  I had elbow surgery at the end of my sophmore season. I was basically on a rehab program for over a year. It took me almost all of my junior year to be able to pitch again. I really got back to full health my junior summer going into seinor year. That's when i started throwing in the low 90's every now and then. And it was really hard to stay positive through all of that because a lot of times I would think I would never be able to pitch again.

DM: Along those lines, where do you feel your game has progressed since that time? Are you where you feel you should be? What area do you feel you need to work the most?


BB: I think I have grown a lot since then. I feel like everything about my game can be better than what it is. I think my offspeed pitches need the most work out of everything. 

DM: What has been the highlight of your baseball career?


BB: There have been a lot of exciting things throughout the years but this year was probably one of the best. We won the Junior College World Series in Grand Junction and that was a pretty amazing feeling.

Other interviews in this series:

Supplemental-round pick Lance Lynn
Second-round pick Shane Peterson
Fifth-round pick Jermaine Curtis
Sixth-round pick Eric Fornataro

Dustin Mattison can be reached via email at

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