Lail Settling Down

TAMPA, FL - Baseball is a game of adjustments, something Brady Lail has learned the hard way. The twenty- one-year old righty from Utah has battled ups and downs throughout this year, but not without immense growth.

Lail began the season in Charleston and wasted no time proving he belonged at a higher level. Before making the move to Tampa, he posted an impressive 8-4 W-L /3.71 ERA/ 95 K statline and looked mature beyond his years. In fact, Lail believes he truly “grew up” during his time in the Palmetto state.

“Charleston was a great experience,” he said. “It really helped me mature and figure out what I wanted to do on the mound. Great league, great team, great coaching staff."

Lail is unique in that he’s been all over the map in the past two years. He grew up in Utah and decided to skip college after being drafted by the Yankees in 2012. After signing with the Pinstripes, he was sent straight to the Gulf Coast League, had a brief stint with the Tampa Yankees before being optioned back to the GCL, and finally ended up in Charleston this past year. Lail, however, had no qualms about his frenetic shuffling between teams and remained patient until the coveted promotion to Tampa.

“It was kind of a surprise, it came on kind of a random day,” he said of the call-up to the Florida State League. “I knew I had been doing well but didn’t think the call-up would come that early. I’m so glad that it did. Getting the opportunity to pitch here has been a big goal of mine.”

Though Lail was excited to finally take the next step, things in Tampa weren’t exactly picture perfect when he first arrived. His first two starts were shaky to say the least and included a four-run implosion against Palm Beach and a dismal five-run outing against Port St. Lucie. Lail attributed this to over-thinking and trying to do too much.

“Here you’re facing older guys, guys who can hit the ball better," Lail said. "My first few outings here I think I was giving them too much credit, trying to make that perfect pitch. Now I’m settling down and realizing it’s still the game of baseball. I just need to do what I did in Charleston and not change who I am.”

Manager Al Pedrique surmised that it was probably due to a classic case of nerves.

“His first time out he was nervous--as a young guy getting promoted it’s normal to go through a period where you need to get the feel for the league, the hitters, your new teammates, the coaching staff. It’s going to take time for him to adjust fully,” he said.

In his past three starts, Lail has looked like an entirely different pitcher and is giving every indication that he is on the rise as a prospect. After getting off to a less-than-optimal start, Lail has flashed brilliance, including a no-hitter through six innings against Brevard County in his previous outing.

So where did this new and improved Brady Lail come from? If you ask Pedrique, it’s just a matter of confidence and maturity.

“From my end, I can see a kid who has more confidence [these days]. He’s throwing the ball over the plate and keeping the ball down. He’s also been able to use his changeup and slider and throw them for strikes,” Pedrique commented.

Speaking of changeups and sliders, one of Lail’s best attributes is his ability to throw four different pitches incredibly well. According to pitching coach Danny Borrell, Lail has a four-seam fastball, a two-seam fastball, a changeup, and a cutter in his pitching arsenal. Pedrique is keen on his cutter and believes it is easily his best pitch, whereas Borell sees each pitch as a viable option.

“For me it’s 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D. I think all of them have the possibility and opportunity to become above average pitches,” Borrell said.

Physically, Lail is on the taller side [6-foot-2], but doesn’t rely on strength or overpowering hitters. Because of his wide range of pitches, Lail chooses to be crafty and stymie opposing batters with his diverse skillset.

“I’m not a hard throwing pitcher. Really it’s not even outsmarting, though. It’s execution of pitches. You throw a fastball down and if they square up and hit one in the gap then hey, cap off to them. Mostly I’m trying to focus on saving my arm and getting them as fast as I can. Efficiency over power,” he said.

Brady Lail is young and certainly has his work cut out for him. His journey thus far has been filled with ups and downs, but if his trends show us anything it’s that he’s continually improving as opposed to regressing. He’s been shuffled around more than a deck of cards, but every good deck needs it’s ace.

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