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Norfolk Notes: Kyle Bradish is Really Good, & More

Kyle Bradish
photo: Josh Linn
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Despite being right in the thick of enemy territory, Thursday was a picturesque evening for baseball in Moosic, PA. Thankfully for the Norfolk Tides, Kyle Bradish (O’s #10 prospect according to MLB.com) had the stuff to match, setting the foundation for a 3-1 win against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. Bradish wasn’t left in the game long enough to be eligible for the win, but make no mistake: he was absolutely filthy, throwing four shutout innings with one hit allowed, no walks, and six strikeouts (NOT punchouts, for the love of all things) while needing only 58 pitches to do so.

SIDENOTE: I’ve lived an hour from this area my entire life and still had to google whether Scranton or Wilkes-Barre went first in the team name. It me, lauded academic.

Bradish faced an extremely talented RailRiders lineup that featured Yankees top 30 prospects like SS Oswald Peraza (#2, MLB.com), INF Oswaldo Cabrera (#14), and OF Estevan Florial (#30) as well as players with extensive MLB experience like Greg Bird, Miguel Andujar, and Ender Inciarte; Florial produced the only hard contact off of Bradish when he sent a ball into the gap for a ground rule double in the third inning. Kyle’s fastball sat comfortably in the 92-94 range with his curve/slider/change resting in the low to mid 80’s and besides the aforementioned double, it was a cornucopia of weak grounders, a few routine fly balls, and a hearty helping of swings and misses, like this absolute screwdriver of a changeup he got Tim Locastro to strike out on. I got a video, which you can watch at the following link:

https://streamable.com/1q5n7m

Of all that stood out about Bradish last night, his command was the star of the show, as he threw 41 of his 58 pitches inside the zone. His relentless attack on the strike zone was akin to those shoot-em-up games at fairs where you have to knock out the star in the middle to win a prize. My dude should’ve walked out of PNC Field last night with giant stuffed bears in each arm. It was remarkable to see him throw any of his three off-speed pitches for strikes seemingly at will; few better than his final pitch of the evening, a slider that caught Greg Bird sleeping. Again, video by me:

https://streamable.com/08towt

It’s easy to get lost in the premium velocity, but the secondary pitches (especially the curve and change) could play in the majors right now. The slider may need tightened up a bit to be a plus pitch, but it should be enough to keep hitters honest given the array of tools at his disposal. It is no secret that the Orioles have a dire need for starting pitching, so it’s not unrealistic to expect Bradish in the big league rotation by mid-May.

Other Observations

— As extensively covered by O’s Twitter, Yusniel Diaz was pulled after the second inning with what MASN’s Roch Kubatko is reporting as a tweaked hamstring. While hopefully not a serious setback, it’s hard not to feel for Diaz after a long string of injuries and underperformance ostensibly caused by it, and after the torrid start he’s gotten off to which placed him back on the radar as a potential outfield option in Baltimore. The last play of the second inning was a routine fly out to Diaz, but it was a fairly routine play and it didn’t require a sprint or any other explosive physical movement, so hopefully it’s just a minor tweak and he’ll be back shortly.

— It was a relatively quiet night for the Tides bats, with Tyler Nevin (2-for-4) the only one with multiple hits.  I was a little disappointed not to see a prodigious Robert Neustrom homer, but a walk works too.

— The Yankees suck and they’re the worst, but you’ll be hard pressed to find a better MiLB venue than PNC Field.  It’s come a long way since the Phillies built the original version in the late 80’s which was more or less a AAA version of Veterans Stadium, concrete AstroTurf and all.

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