Lail Picking Up Where He Left Off

TAMPA, FL - It's no secret that Brady Lail initially struggled upon his promotion from low-A Charleston last season but he made the adjustment to the high-A level relatively quickly and finished strong. It appears that he's picking up right where he left too as as he was dominant in his season debut for the Tampa Yankees on Thursday night.

After a nightmarish start to his call-up to Tampa in 2014, Brady Lail turned it around to finish the year strong heading into the offseason. In his first three starts in Tampa last year, Lail gave up nine earned runs in 14 1/3 innings. In his last four starts, he gave up two earned runs in 23 innings, lowering his ERA to 3.38 from 7.53.

“It was just getting back to what made me successful in Charleston, and that’s not trying to do too much or to be too fine,” Lail said. “Just trying to get groundouts, not muscle up on fastballs or make my secondary [pitches] dirtier, just simplify and concentrate on one pitch at a time.”

Growing up mentally last season, Lail went to work on his physicality and put on 15 pounds this offseason and he credits it buying into working out and keeping a good routine.

“There were some ups-and-downs, some obvious things I needed to work on as in secondary pitches,” Lail said. “It all started clicking at the end of spring.”

Gil Patterson suggested adding a cutter to Lail in 2014; because of the amount of sinkers Lail threw it would be a good fourth pitch to have at the end of last season.

“It [the cutter] is a great set-up pitch and a great put-away pitch to be honest,” Lail said.

Lail carried over the late season success into Thursday night’s start against the Lakeland Flying Tigers. He went five innings, gave up four hits and struck out nine batters, while only throwing 71 pitches.

“It was a good first day. It was big to get the first win under my belt and get this team in the right direction,” Lail said. Pitching coach Tommy Phelps said most of the pitchers will be on an 85-90 pitch count for April then they will start to stretch them out.

Lail was able to throw the curveball for strikes and believes that was his best pitch on the night.

“He had all four pitches going, and could throw any pitch in any count and kept those guys off-balance,” Phelps said.

Phelps estimates that Lail induced about twelve swing and misses. The biggest thing for Phelps is for Lail to be consistent, command the fastball and learn his routine. Lail topped out at 93 mph with the fastball and sat at 90-91.

“He’s a competitor,” Phelps said. “He works fast and he gets on the mound and he’s not afraid. He just exudes confidence.”

Manager Dave Bialas was impressed with Lail’s curveball and fastball command.

“I saw him three times in Spring Training, and everything was a lot sharper and crisper [Thursday night],” Bialas said.

“Every day is a learning day,” Lail added. “I try to get in here early, watch some film and try to pick me apart just a little bit more.”

He thinks being more mature is the biggest difference from last year to now. He feels he understands pitch sequences more and is able to read the batters swing better, and the whole package has his new manager very impressed with his long-term potential.

“He’s a gamer. He is determined to pitch in the big leagues and he definitely has the stuff to do it,” Bialas concluded.

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