Cardinals 2010 Draft Interviews: Cole Brand

Interview with the St. Louis Cardinals' 42nd-round selection in the 2010 draft, pitcher Cole Brand.

In the 42nd round, with the 1279th overall choice in the 2010 amateur draft, the St. Louis Cardinals selected Larry Coleman Brand (known to us as Cole Brand) out of Bradley Central High School (TN).  He is a right-handed pitcher measuring 6-foot-2, weighing 225 pounds who had committed to Clemson University earlier in the spring.  


Brand played alongside fellow draftees Ryan Fraser (New York Mets' 16th round) and Ryan Casteel (Colorado Rockies' 17th round).  They are not the first Bradley Central High School alumni to be chosen in the draft, as catcher Ray Stephens was taken by the Cardinals in 1985 after attending college at both Troy University and Middle Georgia College.  Stephens had a short-lived major league career which Brand hopes to surpass. 


The 18-year old righty is said to have a 90-plus mph fastball complimented by a good curve.  He had a record of 18-4 the last two years and struck out a total of 211 batters, including tying a county record with 19 in one game.  Brand had a 2.16 ERA his junior season and improved it to 1.20 over his senior year.  The Cleveland, Tennessee native also played multiple positions when needed if not listed as the starting pitcher.  He was the winning pitcher in game two of the 2008 District 5-AAA Baseball Championship and had made appearances in the last two Tennessee-Georgia All-Star Baseball Classic contests.


There was a small amount of concern over whether he would sign, hold out, or possibly go to college and that might have been one of the reasons he fell in the draft.  But in the end Brand wanted to begin his pro career and signed with the first batch of draftees. Brand made his professional debut on June 23rd with the Gulf Coast League Cardinals and to date, he has logged three scoreless relief appearances allowing one hit, two walks, and striking out two over three innings.


Brand was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to take on a few questions. His answers follow.


Josh Jones: What was it like to pitch the clinching game in the 2008 District 5-AAA Baseball Championship? (Or was it 2009?)


Cole Brand: It was ‘08, and it was a thrill, big game, big atmosphere, everything a kid could ask for in a athletic event.

JJ: How did you perform in the 2010 TN-GA All-Star Game? And have you been a part of any others?


CB:  Haha. I did alright. I closed in the 9th inning, hit a guy actually, but got a ground ball and 2 K's right after. It had been a while since I had thrown. All-Star game wise, I was invited to do the Under Armour and AFLAC games but I never really had the time to go. I was working on getting myself ready for the draft and what I'm doing now.

JJ: Did you play any other positions or sports while in high school?


CB: I played third base, hit .407 and hit 4 bombs. I was the three hole hitter. I also played other infield spots, second and short, but I wasn't as anywhere as good at them.

JJ: Why did you decide to pass on the decision to go to college at Clemson for pro ball?


CB: Pro baseball is the ultimate goal. I wanted to go out of high school. I've always wanted that since I was in high school. I just wanted to always be on a field doing what I love. When someone told me I could go pro and get paid to do something I truly love, I had to do it.

JJ: Tell me about the day you were drafted. What you were doing, people around you, and any other details.


CB: I had actually almost given up on my name being called, I just was sitting on the couch and in the same room as my mother when the 42nd round came around and I heard Larry Coleman Brand, and I looked at my mother and asked, "Was that my name?" Then they called it back. Regardless of the round, just being drafted is a relief.

JJ: Did you expect to go higher or lower in the draft? Why?


CB: Higher of course.  Andy Seiler (I think that's right) wrote a draft notebook having me going from the 7th to the 10th round, but I guess signability was a question. I just wanted to play pro ball, 42nd round sign opposed to the above rounds, proves I'm here for the game and not the money.  Writer's note: Seiler is one of the draft experts from MLB Bonus Baby.

JJ: Are you looking forward to playing against any of your former teammates (Ryan Fraser, Ryan Casteel, etc)?


CB: I would love to throw against Ryan again. The last time I faced him, I was 16 years old and playing on the younger Chattanooga Cyclones team in Florida. I struck him out.  But he has had success against me as well, but I don't want to mention that...haha.

JJ: What was your first professional game like? Nervous, excited, etc...


CB: Well I was so filled with emotions, happiness I was throwing in a pro game. As part of my game, I use my mental intensity and mindset as one of my major advantages. I have confidence in everything I do. But after the first batter got a hit and the second I walked, I started wondering why I was so overamped. I relaxed after I convinced myself that its just the game I love, and got out of the inning with the next three batters.

JJ: You were a starting pitcher in high school, now a reliever. Are you at all disappointed to be moved into the bullpen and are you trying to get back into the starting role?


CB: I had been used in the middle of the week as a reliever, so I'm not too terribly unfamiliar with the role, but I'm still getting the hang of it. And no, it's not a big priority of mine to get back in the rotation. Whatever needs to be done in order for me to get moved up, so be it. The main goal is to be a big success in MLB. And step by step, day by day, I'll get there, regardless the spot in the rotation or pen.

JJ: Can you give us a scouting report on yourself? What are your pitches, anything along those lines.


CB: Fastball, curve-ball, change up, slider, I use my youthful energy to try and pound the zone to get ahead early, then use my fastball to get the hitter out either up in the zone, or just try and blow it by them. Changing the eye level of the hitter is the most important thing I try to do, because if the hitter has no clue what's next, it makes it 100 times easier to get an out.

JJ: What types of activities/hobbies do you like to do outside of baseball?


CB: I fish when I can, but mostly I love swimming and spending time with my family. God has truly blessed me with this talent and with the family it has been involved with.

JJ: Who's your favorite sports player?


CB: My favorite sports player is actually ironic because he is a Cardinal, Albert Pujols is my favorite for three reasons. He doesn't cause distractions on and off the field, he doesn't talk all about himself, and he gets the job done at whatever the cost. He is a true athlete's athlete.

JJ: What are your favorite college/professional sports teams?


CB: My favorite college by FAR is Auburn; my family has been a part of it for years. My grandfather, my father and a few other family members have spent a lot of time there. Professional football I don't watch. But baseball until recently has been the Atlanta Braves, mainly because they are one of the closest teams to my home, but now I'm a Cardinal guy strictly...I better be, right?


Thank you to Cole Brand for this interview and yes sir, you need to be a St. Louis Cardinals fan now.

Note: This is the sixth in our series of interviews with 2010 St. Louis Cardinals draftees with more on the way. The first five were for subscribers to The Cardinal Nation. Join today so you don't miss any of them!

Premium Article Links to earlier Cardinals draftee interviews in this series:
7th round pick Greg Garcia
13th round pick Colin Walsh
15th round pick Geoff Klein
18th round pick Boone Whiting
8th round pick Daniel Bilbona

Find Josh Jones blogging at Cardinals Best News Links or visit his Twitter account for occasional commentary.


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