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MLB Rookie Report: Jed Bradley, LHP, Atlanta Braves

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Another interesting name in the September call-up department: Atlanta Braves lefty Jed Bradley. He fits two well-known player memes: the "post-hype prospect" and the "needed a change of scenery" guy.

Bradley was originally drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in the first round in 2011 from Georgia Tech. At the time he was considered to be one of the most advanced college pitchers available, a safe bet to develop into a mid-rotation starter and someone who would not need much minor league development time. It did not pan out that way: Bradley suffered through physical issues in 2012 and 2013 and pitched poorly in A-ball. He rebounded to some extent in 2014 but his 2015 campaign was a disaster, with an ugly 5.83 ERA in 59 innings in the high minors. He got off to a slow start again in 2016, relegated to the bullpen in Double-A with an ERA over 6.00.

The Brewers finally gave up and traded him to the Braves in June for "cash or a player to be named later."

Maybe it was the shock of the trade or returning to the place where he had college success, but in a new organization Bradley quickly cleaned the cobwebs off his career. He pitched 65 innings for Double-A Mississippi, posting a 2.35 ERA with a 69/23 K/BB. Promoted to Triple-A, he made three starts for Gwinnett with a 1.50 ERA and a 19/11 K/BB in 18 innings. The walks were a bit high but the strikeouts were good to see and even that brief run of success was enough to convince the Braves to give Bradley a chance in the majors.

Bradley is a 6-3, 225 pound lefty born June 12, 1990.  His fastball is generally 88-92 averaging right at 90. He has a slider, a curve, and a change and can hit any velocity spot between 73 and 85 with his secondaries. Although he doesn't have a certain plus pitch, when his command is sharp it is an effective combination. His strikeout rate took a step upward after the trade and in general he looks much more confident now, more like his Georgia Tech self.

At age 26 Bradley doesn't have additional projection in a traditional way and his long-term role is unclear. Whatever the reason (psychological, better or different coaching?), it is fair to say that the trade has saved his career.