When Jed Bradley was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers with their second first round pick of the 2011 draft, the question was not if he was going to make the big leagues, but when. The lanky left hander out of Georgia Tech, dominated the competition in college going 7-3 and finishing sixth in the nation in strikeouts. He appeared to be on the fast track to the big leagues. Three years later, Bradley is not pitching in Miller Park, but instead he is working at Brevard County. Here he is working to rediscover his command so he can live out his dream in Milwaukee.
One of the reasons that Bradley’s career is stalled in the minor leagues is because he has been injury riddled. In his time with the club he has never completed as season where he hasn’t missed at least one start. He has endured groin injuries, arm fatigue, and disabled list stints that have kept him off the mound. As a member of the organization, he has made just 41 starts in his 2.5 seasons. A pitcher who was seen as an innings eater, has racked up just 212 career innings.
The other reason that Bradley is not currently pitching in Miller Park is his ineffectiveness. Bradley has struggled to command the strike-zone, and there for his ERA has ballooned. Through his first two seasons, he averaged a walk every two innings. This inability to find the zone not only caused an inflated WHIP, but also sky-rocketed his ERA well over four.
But this season through his first five starts, Bradley has appeared to figure it out. Although he was hammered for seven earned runs in his first start this season, his last four starts have been outstanding. His strong fastball and plus changeup have allowed him to strike out 29 batters in 26.1 innings, and lower his ERA to a solid 3.42. His WHIP has also remained incredibly low, just over one through these starts. He was even named the pitcher of the week in the Florida State League on the 22nd of April. In these strong innings, he has shown the Brewers flashes of why he was the 15th pick overall in 2011.
The journey to a major league roster is never an easy one. Once viewed as one of the premier Brewer prospects, Bradley didn’t even crack the Brewers top 20 prospect list on MLB.com to open the season this year. While pitchers selected above him like Gerrit Cole and Trevor Bauer have had successes, Bradley scuffled. Even though many around baseball have written Bradley off, his April shows he still has the tools to be elite, even if it is not as soon as everyone has hoped.
Statistics Provided by Baseball Reference and MILB.com