Hometown: Miami, Fla.
School(s): Palm Beach Central High School (Wellington, Fla.), Palm Beach Community College (Draft and follow)
Position: Starting Pitcher
Nationals Prospect rank for 2011: #9 - Fangraphs, #10 - Baseball America, #16 - Minor League Ball, #18 - Baseball Prospectus
You want to know how you can tell if a kid really wants to play professional ball? Take a look at where they were drafted, if it says Round 41, and they sign... you know they want to make their dream happen. What's even more telling is if said player had a full ride to college waiting for them if they bypassed signing.
Brad Pea**** was a 41st round pick of the Nationals in 2006 and indeed did pass over a full ride to Florida Atlantic to take a shot at making his dream happen. Back in 2006, when draft and follow rules still applied, major league teams had 51 weeks to tender a contract to any player they drafted, provided they didn't go to a four year institution. A third basemen coming out of high school, Pea**** had only thrown a grand total of 11 innings his senior season when the Nationals took a flier on him thanks to a report by former scout Tony Arango.
Initially the Nationals did not offer Pea**** a contract. Only after an 8-0 season at the Junior College level, his first full year as a pitcher did the Nationals offer him $110,000 dollar contract. Rather than risk going undrafted, or a possible injury, Pea**** jumped at the deal.
Thankfully, for Pea****, and the Nationals, the 41st round gamble out of high school has already started to pay off in spades.
Born in Miami, Pea**** was a well scouted high schooler in the south Florida area. Coming up through the ranks, Pea**** attended multiple showcase camps where he put his skills on display for scouts and colleges alike. Only 5'11 and weighing 160 pounds at the time, Pea**** was only able to muster a fastball that topped out at 84 MPH. It is unknown what the Nationals saw in Pea**** at the time of drafting, but it's clear that they thought he still had some growth potential both physically and on his fastball. They were correct in both regards.
Sitting out the 2006 season after signing as an 18 year old, Pea**** made his professional debut in 2007 with the GCL Nationals appearing in 13 games (7 starts, 6 relief) pitching 39.1 innings while posting a 3.89 ERA, 1.35 WHIP and 38 K's.
In 2008, Pea**** began the year in Short Season A ball in Vermont. From the start, Pea**** showed he could handle hitters his own age, posting a 3.12 ERA, 1.25 WHIP over 14 starts spanning 75 innings. While the strike out total dipped from his start in the GCL (7.5 in 2007 to 6.4 in 2008), the Nationals moved him up to Low A Hagerstown for eight starts where the young Mr. Pea**** got his first taste of defeat posting a grotesque 9.09 ERA, 1.75 WHIP and a nasty 2.1 HR/9 rate.
2009 proved to be a much more successful year for Pea**** as he started the year repeating in Hagerstown to much better results. In 19 games (17 starts), Pea**** posted a 4.05 ERA, 1.36 WHIP and saw his strike outs start to rise to a 6.9 K/9 level. Impressed with the results, the Nationals moved him up to A Ball Potomac. Fairing much better than he did after his original promotion, Pea**** went on to post a 4.34 ERA and a sparkling 1.17 WHIP over 8 appearances (7 starts) in 47.2 innings. While the numbers were OK, little did the Nats know that Pea**** was about to strut his stuff in 2010 (pun intended). :rim:
2010 is the year Brad Pea**** finally started to put it together. As a 41st round pick, no one expected, nor dreamed that Pea**** would ever even be considered a prospect, yet there he was, proving his talent as a 22 year old in High A. For the year, over 19 games (18 starts) and 103.1 IP, Pea**** posted an amazing 118 K's good for a 10.3 K/9 rate while only walking 25, good for a 2.2 BB/9 and an overall 4.72 K/BB rate. To see the young righty transform before their eyes, the Nationals were pleased, but wanted to see if what Pea**** showed in A ball would translate to the higher levels. Making the bump to AA, Pea**** held his own, posting a respectable 4.66 ERA and 1.44 WHIP over 38.2 IP.
Impressed with the skills he had shown in 2010, the Nationals sent Pea**** to the prestigious Arizona Fall League, where the best of the best prospects battle it out as a showcase of future starts. Pea**** hit the ground running in the AFL, posting a 1.02 WHIP with a 12.75 K/9 rate over 12 innings, all in relief.
That brings up to 2011. To date, Pea**** has been lights out in AA, posting a 1.50 ERA, 0.83 WHIP and striking out 28 hitters in 24 IP.
From 41st round pick to legitimate prospect, that's a story you don't hear every day.The Good:
From all accounts, Pea**** has seen a massive improvement on his fastball velocity. 84 MPH out of high school, Pea**** has been clocked as high as 97 MPH
heading into the 2011 season. He features a solid curveball as well as a developing change up. Each season he has seen a decrease in his walk rate, a sign that as he grows, he becomes more and more confident with his control and command.The Bad:
Despite hitting 97 on the gun, scouts claim that his fastball is flat, lacking the movement necessary to constantly fool the top end hitters for 6-7 innings per outing. Scouts also worry that his change up may not be a true third pitch and that without improvement, he will end up as a late inning reliever featuring only a fastball and curveball.Stats:
2007 - GCL - 1-1, 3.89 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 39.1 IP, 13 G (7 GS), 34/15 K/BB, 1 HR, 7.8 K/9, 3.4 BB/9, 2.27 K/BB
2008 - SS/A - 4-12, 4.97 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, 108.2 IP, 22 G (22 GS), 77/48 K/BB, 11 HR, 6.4 K/9, 4.0 BB/9, 1.60 K/BB
2009 - A/A+ - 8-11, 4.14 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 147.2 IP, 27 G (24 GS), 104/42 K/BB, 14 HR, 6.3 K/9, 2.6 BB/9, 2.48 K/BB
2010 - A+/AA - 6-11, 4.50 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 142 IP, 26 G (25 GS), 148/47 K/BB, 16 HR, 9.4 K/9, 3.0 BB/9, 3.15 K/BB
2010 - AFL - 0-0, 4.50 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 12 IP, 12 9 G (0 GS), 17/3 K/BB, 1 HR, 12.75 K/9, 2.25 BB/9, 5.67 K/BB
2011 - AA - 3-1, 1.50 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, 24 IP, 4 G (3 GS), 28/3 K/BB, 1 HR, 10.5 K/9, 1.13 BB/9, 9.33 K/BBLinks:Fangraphs PageBaseball Reference PageMilb.com PageBaseball Cube Page