Q&A With Rays 18th Round Pick Kevin Brandt

With the 572nd-overall-pick the Rays selected East Carolina left-hander Kevin Brandt in the 18th round. Brandt, who was named a first team All-Conference USA this season, went 7-6 with a 2.12 ERA and 68 strikeouts for the Pirates. Inside, he discusses what he was doing when he found out he had been drafted, his experience at East Carolina, what he brings to the table as a pitcher and much more.

School: East Carolina University
Born: 11/24/1989
B/T: R/L
HT/WT: 6-2/195

• Named first team All-Conference USA as a senior, and owned a 7-6 record with a 2.12 ERA and 68 SO in 16 starts.

• Ranked among league leaders in innings pitched (1st, 106.1), ERA (2nd), strikeouts (2nd, 68) and wins (2nd, 7), and led the conference in pickoffs (9) for the second time in three years.

• In 2011, earned Second Team All-Conference USA honors after going 7-3 with a 2.26 ERA.

• In his first three years at ECU, combined to go 19-12 with a 3.61 ERA (249.1-IP, 100-ER) and 204 SO.

• Played for the Bourne Braves of the Cape Cod League in 2011…played for the Hyannis Mets/Harbor Hawks in 2009-10.

• In 2009 named a Freshman All-American by Louisville Slugger and named to the Conference USA All-Freshman Team and NCAA Greenville Regional All Tournament.

• Also played basketball at Fuquay Carina (N.C.) HS…named 4AA Player of the Year as a senior by the N.C. Baseball Coaches Association in 2008.


Rays Digest: I read that you were golfing when you found out the Rays had drafted you. Could you describe that moment?

Kevin Brandt: Yeah, I was on the golf course, Coach Godwin was playing with all the seniors one last time. Between holes 7 and 8, Corey Thompson, our third baseman who later got drafted, stuck his hand out and said congrats. I thought he was messing with me so I just chuckled and told him to stop messing with me. He showed me his phone and it just so happened that I did go.

Rays Digest: Had you previously been in contact with the Rays organization? Were you surprised at all when they picked you?

Kevin Brandt: I had filled out a player info form they sent to me early in the school year and had talked to a scout a time or two, but nothing made me think that this would be the organization that I would go to.

Rays Digest: You were one of six players out of ECU to be drafted this year, so that must have been great environment for you. What can you take away from your time as a player there?

Kevin Brandt: East Carolina was the best experience of my life so far. I met a lot of fantastic people and formed relationships that will last forever. Between my coaches and my friends, I learned a lot about baseball and even more about life.

Rays Digest: You recently signed with the Rays, and it seemed like that was your intention as soon as they drafted you. Aside from wanting to play pro ball, is there anything about the Rays organization in particular that intrigues you?

Kevin Brandt: I like how this organization really focuses on player development especially within the pitching staff.

Rays Digest: Do you have an idea of where you'll end up now that you've signed?

Kevin Brandt: Currently I'm in Port Charlotte, Florida at extended spring training and I'll be here until this Thursday and then I will go to Princeton, West Virginia to play for the Princeton Rays.

Rays Digest: What types of things do you bring to the table as a player? Could you provide a brief scouting report on yourself?

Kevin Brandt: I don't really throw hard enough to blow anybody away (fastball is 85-87 mph, so I really have to rely on my changeup to make that fastball look harder. I also throw a curveball which is more of a get-me-over-pitch and I have a cutter to work off my fastball.

Rays Digest: In which areas are you looking to improve the most?

Kevin Brandt: I look to improve my mental game and step it up to another level, as well as improving my mechanics throughout my delivery.

Rays Digest: You were a full-time starter in 2012, but before that you also had a good amount of relief experience. Do you feel as comfortable out of the pen as you do starting? Does your mentality or approach change at all depending on which role you're in?

Kevin Brandt: I feel comfortable on the mound, whether it's starting or relieving, it's just a nice place to be. Mentally, the preparation is different; as a starter I try to remain relaxed and not get too hyped up for the game, that way I can pitch deep into the game. As a reliever I get a little more hyped and go max effort from pitch one. They are two different types of adrenaline rushes that really can't be described by words.

Rays Digest: Are there any players, past or present, that you have tried to model your game after?

Kevin Brandt: I'm a huge Tom Glavine fan, I liked his composure on the field and the way he "pitched" and not just threw.

Rays Digest: Lastly, who has helped you become the player and person you are today?

Kevin Brandt: Coach Roszel, my pitching coach at ECU for the last two years, has helped me on the mound a ton. He was the one who started working with me on a cutter and broke down my mechanics frame-by-frame on video, which allowed me to see what I was doing wrong and correct it.

Brad Lymburner is a staff writer for Rays Digest. You can follow him on Twitter at @_BradL.


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