Position: Right-handed Pitcher
Brackman joined the Tigers as a decorated starter from William Jewell College, taken in the 16th round of last year's draft. Brackman's honor started rolling in as a high school junior and senior, as he took home 1st Team All-Conference during both seasons, and even played on his school's 2002 Conference Championship squad.
While at William Jewell, Brackman was named a WJC Scholar Athlete in each of his four seasons, earned 1st Team All-Conference honors as a sophomore and senior years, and 2nd Team All-Conference as a junior. On the back of a 13-1 record and 12 complete games as a senior, Brackman was also named the Heart of America Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Year and NAIA 1st Team All-American.
Upon turning pro, Mark managed a 4-4 mark for the Oneonta Tigers, making 14 starts; highlighted by his final start of the season in which he went 8-1/3 innings, allowing one hit and one walk, while striking out seven.
Despite his relatively low draft round, Brackman brings a strong skill set to the table, with a chance to develop into an innings eater at the back of a big league rotation. He starts with a sinking fastball that site in the 88-90 range, and can touch 92-93. Mark spots his fastball well, working it side-to-side at the knees; allowing his sinking action to induce plenty of ground balls.
As an offset, Brackman features a solid three-pitch mix of secondary stuff, including a curveball, slider, and change-up. His curveball is on the soft side, lacking consistent command or bite, while his slider has excellent depth and works easily to both corners. He knows when to bury his slider in the dirt as a chase pitch, but also when to pitch to contact for weak grounders throughout the infield. Finally, his change-up is presently a below average pitch, but he has shown a feel for throwing it. To become a legit starter prospect he will have to make strides with either his curve or change, in order to maintain his ability to keep hitters off balance as he moves up the ladder.
Brackman is an excellent athlete, having starred in both basketball and football in high school. His athleticism allows him to repeat his mechanics very well despite his lanky frame. Mark is an intelligent pitcher, setting up hitters and understanding his role as a defender after he releases the pitch. His pickoff move is exceptional, giving his catchers an extra advantage in controlling the running game.
Performance Level Team W-L ERA G GS SV SO BB IP AVG SS-A
Brackman was worked hard at WJC, but he remained strong and healthy throughout his collegiate career. After working 170-plus innings between college and the pros in 2007, Brackman will likely be watched closely this season, with a goal of keeping him around 150 innings of work.
Brackman is a near cinch for the West Michigan rotation this season, with a slim possibility of being pushed to Lakeland with a strong spring. He has the poise, command, and raw stuff to be extremely effective in a Midwest League that is typically very tough on hitters. The key to Brackman's season will be how he handles the rigors of a long full season.
While this ranking appears aggressive for a 16th round choice, Brackman's ability to induce groundballs and set hitters up, gives him a great chance to succeed at higher levels. He profiles as a very similar pitcher to someone like fellow prospect Andrew Kown.
Mark Anderson is TigsTown's Managing Editor and feature Minor League writer. He can be reached at Mark@TigsTown.com.