A 34th round pick in 2008, Brad Rulon put together some impressive numbers at Staten Island last summer: two wins with an earned run average of 0.41, having pitched in 44 innings and allowing just 21 hits, only 20 walks and striking out 68.
Rulon has been consistent with his statistics while raising the level of play. So far this season with the RiverDogs, he has an earned run average of 1.23. In the process, he's scattered 35 hits and 12 walks in a little more than 51 innings, and has struck out 56 batters.
Purists point that it is quite an achievement for a hurler to have a WHIP average below one. Rulon's WHIP average is 0.94.
"I'm pitching really confident right now and I have had a lot of it [confidence] when I'm out there," he said. "I'm on a roll right now."
Even though Rulon is experiencing success with his current arsenal, he would like to continue to add more pitches.
"I've been talking with Nardi [Contreras, the Yankees' minor league pitching coordinator] about working on a changeup and I'm really trying to work that in," he said. "I haven't thrown it much this season, but I would like to throw it more because I'm going to need it in order to move up."
Rulon believes that his curveball is one of the biggest reasons for his success.
"I think that he is having success because of his ability to throw strikes and with the plus of his curveball," said RiverDogs pitching coach Jeff Ware. "He throws two really good curveballs. Both of them have a real sharp bite and he can throw them for strikes. He can expand the zone when he gets ahead to get guys to chase.
"He doesn't have an overpowering fastball but he is able to locate," Ware added. "He has a lot of deception with his fastball and he hides the balls really well, so hitters have a tough time picking the ball coming up out of his hand. That cuts down the decision time."
Rulon's velocity this season has been clocked between 88-90 MPH, but he has occasionally touched 90-91 MPH.
He has been working with Ware on his mechanics, like staying back and not rushing towards the plate. But in order to keep improving and possibly moving up, Rulon realizes that he still needs to work on a few things.
"I would like to get ahead of hitters and throwing strikes early so I can use my curveball to finish when I get ahead in the count," said Rulon, a native of Columbus, Georgia.
"I think one thing he has to improve on is pitching down in the zone more consistently," Ware continued. "Right now he'll get the ball up and out of the zone, which actually isn't that bad because when he's up its usually up and out of the zone. So if he continues to do that and pitch down, I think he will have success."
Ware believes that Rulon is putting himself on the prospect radar. His velocity is getting around the 90 MPH range and that's what scouts and organizations are looking for.
Maintaining impressive stats may not be easy, but if past performance is an indicator of future success, Rulon is up for the challenge.
Rulon Keeps Putting Up Numbers
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