Name: Brady Lail
DOB: August 9, 1993
Repertoire. Fastball, Curveball, Changeup, Cutter.
Fastball. First and foremost Lail is now known more as a control pitcher than a power one. When he was first drafted though the prevailing thought in the scouting community was that he could eventually add some power as he filled out his frame and become a plus power pitcher in due time but that never really materialized. What was once more of a 88-91 mph four-seam fastball coming out of high school, he now sits more in the 90-94 mph range with a sinking two-seamer that generates a ton of movement so he has developed nicely in that regard, and he he can spot his fastball rather well in the zone too. So while the velocity would suggest it is more of a contact out-pitch [which it is], the fact is he can still generate a lot of swings and misses with his fastball because of the great diving action. It's a borderline above average offering velocity-wise but a full-fledged above average pitch when factoring in the movement and command too.
Other Pitches. It's kind of ironic now that Lail, now known more for his plus changeup than anything, didn't really have one when he first entered the professional ranks. In fact, in went from a non-existent pitch into one of the better offerings in the entire farm system over the last few years. Just like his fastball his changeup shows excellent fade and depth, and it serves as his best strikeout weapon against both left-handed and right-handed batters. It's a true big league plus pitch. His next best pitch is his above average big league curveball, one that flashes plus potential and could be a plus pitch someday if it continues to develop. A true power knuckle curveball, it ranges from 77-81 mph and it is another strikeout weapon for him. He rounds out his repertoire with a quality big league cutter that allows him to give batters another look, especially inside to lefties.
Pitching. Lail certainly falls more into the cerebral, high pitch-ability category of arms more so the power variety. He attacks batters from pitch one with an assortment of four big league pitches that he can throw for strikes, all of which have above average or better movement. It's because of that excellent movement and innate strike-throwing of a rather deep arsenal that opposing batters aren't able to sit any one particular area in the zone either. Lail also has a knack of setting up batters early in counts to get them to swing at the pitches he wants later in at-bats. It is because of his ability to throw so many strikes that his approach is all about efficiency; his plan is to induce early count contact and get out of innings as soon as possible and thus pitch as deep into games as possible too. With that efficient approach he also employs a quick tempo too. While those are all positives, the one real downside to his game is he will often times only be as good as his defense behind him given he does induce so much contact and if he's up in the zone a little too frequently [as he was in Triple-A this past year] he doesn't have the plus power to get it by advanced hitters. An extremely high makeup guy though, he doesn't get rattled too often and he shows a real ability to make adjustments.
Projection. There was a time not too long ago that Lail had a potential front-half of the rotation type ceiling to his game if the fastball could ever gain the kind of velocity some scouts believed could be coming. However, now five years into his professional career that velo bump doesn't seem likely but while the frontline starting ceiling is no longer in play he does have nearly everything else in place to pitch like one on any given day; plus command, plus changeup, above average breaking ball, and plus-plus makeup. On paper though the lack of plus fastball does project him better in the middle to back-half of a big league rotation, most likely the latter given the fact that recently he has shown to be a little more hittable when the sinker isn't sinking as much as it should. Still, given his ability to induce a lot of early contact, pitch quickly and efficiently, he has all the earmarks of an innings eater type starting pitcher, one who could be a bullpen's best friend. He falls more into the Dillon Gee mold of a number four or five big league pitcher., one with swingman type potential too if the need arises.
ETA. 2017. Lail, now with some valuable Triple-A experience under his belt, is still only just 23 years old and will be so for a majority of the 2017 season. Given his past history of making adjustments at a new level it certainly bodes well for his big league opportunity chances this coming season. So while he most likely will begin the season right where he left off, back in the Triple-A rotation, he will be on the short list of starting candidates at the big league level once a need arises.