Bradley on TinCaps pitching prospects

Tom Bradley coached the Fort Wayne TinCaps pitching staff in 2009, handling a staff that featured a first half ERA champ, a 16-game winner, a no-hit hurler, and a plethora of other talented young arms within the San Diego Padres system.

You had Anthony Bass through the first half of the season – a Midwest League All-Star. What did you see out of him?

Tom Bradley: He was our opening day starter, he had a very good first half 9-3 will a real low run average. He started using his changeup a little bit more probably the last five or six starts. He's got a real good one. His slider is pretty good. I think it needs maybe more depth to it, but right now it's a workable pitch. It needs to improve a little bit.

He has a real good plane to his fastball. His fastballs are average to a little bit above average at times. He's around the plate, so he's got three good pitches. He's a bulldog on the mound, a great competitor. So I look for him to do well in his career.

Brad Brach was money in the closer's role. How did he get away with throwing the splitter when the Padres are adamant regarding the changeup?

Tom Bradley: Well, he didn't really throw it a lot. He threw it to left-handers more than right-handers. He threw it like maybe two or three times in a game. He had such success this year. I don't know how many one-two-three innings he had. He had like 50 games and I'll bet he had a lot of one-two-three innings in there. He started throwing that the latter part, during the second half primarily. It was a way to get him off his fastball a little bit, because when you play this game as many times as we do like Dayton and South Bend where you're playing over 20 times they get used to those fastballs and sliders.

I think it's a pitch that it will help him down the road. He needs to get a little bit better command of it, though, and keep his arms right up where his fastball is, but I think it can be a good pitch for him, especially against left-handed hitters. He just started throwing it and they allowed him to keep throwing it and he didn't throw it a whole lot. It is a pitch that is going to work on that league he's going to.

You didn't have Dexter Carter long and he wasn't that great with his command in Fort Wayne. What were your impressions of him?

Tom Bradley: Well, he had great frame, great body: tall, lanky, he's going to fill out. I think he was tired when he got to us, since he had thrown 120 innings. He wasn't the same pitcher as he was with Kannapolis.

He's got a very good fastball and a real good breaking ball. His changeup is a lot better than I thought. He's just got to get better command in the zone and leverage the ball a little bit better downhill. I think he was tired more than anything. He had a couple decent starts for us, but I just think he got a little bit tired. He went down to the Instructural League and they were going to try and work with him on his motion a little bit and get him ready for spring training. I like his upside, he's got a great frame. He's 6-foot-5, 6-foot-6 and has a good downward angle to his pitches. He'll be fine.

Simon Castro had a fantastic year for you and really continued his development path in leaps and bounds. What was so impressive about him to you?

Tom Bradley: Well, first off, he's a great, great person. He's great in the clubhouse, always has a smile on his face. He doesn't get down, really works hard. I was with him a little bit in extended back in '07 for a couple months and I give Razor, Dave Rajsich a lot of credit along with Bronswell Patrick, guys who have worked with him prior to me having him because those guys really contributed to the success he had obviously.

His delivery is better; he's around the zone. I think he only walked like 30-some hitters. He walked 37, 37 walks in 140 innings. Now that's absolutely incredible to see how far he's come!

He's obviously got two plus pitches, he's got an above average fastball. He throws a two-seamer that he worked on to get in there on right-handed hitters. His slider is an out pitch, it's a plus. It's a nasty two-plane pitch at times. He throws it for strikes and he keeps it down, and his changeup got a lot better. That's the one pitch that he needs to refine further, and when he does, I think you're really going to see rapid movement. He just has to be more consistent with his arm speed, but it got a lot better as the season went on, and he's going to continue to work on it. I look for great things for him in 2010. He's great to work with, really improved, did all his work and it paid off. It did.

Erik Davis won 16 games for your squad and was the least heralded pitcher on the club. It seems he is a guy that works a little bit backwards, throwing more off-speed pitches to keep hitters off the fastball.

Tom Bradley: At Stanford, he just threw fastball/changeup, that's about all he threw. You're right, he does pitch off his changeup. His fastball can be average at times. He's just got to locate it better.

He did a better job working down in the zone with it. That down or away to right-handed hitters that down and away well located fastballs off both sides of the plate makes or breaks pitchers. If they can do that consistently and hitters counts, they are the ones that are going to move.

His changeup is obviously a plus pitch. His curveball came a long ways, a long ways and it's now a very workable pitch for him. It's got tight spin and if he stays with himself, it doesn't yank and pull off. He can throw it as a wipeout strikeout pitch too.

For someone that didn't throw it much in college it, turned out to be a very good pitch for him. He had a tremendous season, counting the playoffs to win 17 games and Pitcher of the Month in August. He had a phenomenal season for us.

You didn't have Chris Fetter long but what you saw had to impress considering he played a pivotal role in the playoffs.

Tom Bradley: He started a couple games for us initially; he started four games all together, pitched 24 innnings in the regular season.

In Eugene, they used him primarily in the bullpen, he closed and saved some games because of his pitch. I think he ended up, counting the playoffs with 107 innings.

He's a 6-foot-7, right-handed, great plane to his fastball, keeps the ball down extremely well. He can pitch with both sides of the plate. He's not afraid. The game against Burlington he threw out about 85 percent fastballs because they couldn't catch up to it. So his size and he's around the plate, he throws strikes, he's not all over the place. He's in the zone, he closes his pitches – that's a hard skill to teach people.

I really like all these guys we're talking about. I think his upside is high too. He could throw a curveball in college, now he's throwing a slider, and, at times, it's a pretty good pitch for him. He's got to work on it a little bit. He knows that. He's got to get a little bit better two-plane depth to it.

His changeup, he didn't throw much in college, and it came on he could throw it over the plate on his own. There's a lot to work with there. He's got good command of his fastball and his slider will get better and his changeup will get better. I look for good things for him also. Great kid, works hard and really pitches a great game. He pitched a great game against Burlington.

Another guy who contributed in the playoffs for you was Nick Greenwood. He got a lot of big outs for you coming out of the bullpen in the playoffs.

Tom Bradley: Yes, he got some big outs for us in the playoffs. He's very tough on left-handed hitters. His fastball moves a lot. He throws three pitches over the plate. He's got a little bit of a funky delivery. Left-handers did not see the ball at all.

His curveball is pretty good. I think it's very effective. It's kind of a slower pitch for him and it's got good break to it. He makes left-hand hitters look very bad on that pitch. He's also got a good changeup that goes down and away to right-handed hitters. So, he's got three pitches. He's a funky left-hander. He throws strikes and the ball moves all over the place. He really got some big outs for us down a stretch during the playoffs.

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