In the 17th round of the 2018 MLB Draft, the Pittsburgh Pirates selected Brad Case with the 504th overall pick. Since Case joined the Pittsburgh organization, he has been a solid arm and started the 2022 campaign one call from the majors. While he has flown under the radar, the Rollins College product could help the Pirates this year. His journey, however, began in 2018 on an unforgettable draft night.
” There was a lot of stress and sleepless nights going into it, ” said Case. ” I had a couple teams in on me but the ones that showed the most interest were the Pirates, Mets, and Blue Jays. In the 17th round, I got a call from my agent saying the Pirates were going to pick me. I was with my family and my brother had his phone set up recording in the kitchen to capture the whole moment. It’s a special video that I go back to a lot. ”
With draft night in the rearview, Case had an excellent start to his professional career. In 11 appearances during his first minor league season, Case posted a 3.29 ERA and recorded 40 strikeouts. While pitching out of the bullpen and rotation, he limited the damage when he got into trouble. Although his sample size was limited, Case pitched at three different levels. That experience set the stage for an even better 2019 season.
RHP Prospect, Brad Case #Pirates
17-7 record in the minors with a career ERA of 3.38 🔥 pic.twitter.com/yjpwCrJ62K
— Kody Duncan (@KodyDuncanPGH) February 10, 2021
Case Stands out in a talented system
In 24 appearances, the Pelham native struck out 108 batters. Despite an increased workload, Case continued to improve as he moved closer to the majors. He made life more difficult for opponents as he held batters to a .232 batting average. As Case has moved through the Pirates system, he has worked alongside some of the most talented prospects in baseball.
” We have a lot of great arms in the system. It’s not just the big-name prospects that everyone hears about, ” said Case. ” We have guys like Cristofer Melendez, John O’Reilly, and Cody Bolton. The list could go on for a whole roster, and they are all nasty. ”
While Case was making progress uncertainty hit in 2020. Due to the pandemic, the minor league season was canceled. In order to work on his game, he had to be creative and used the unexpected year off to his advantage.
” Every day, I would wake up and go throw and work out, ” said Case. ” I got a group together to go to my old high school. Working out was tough because we did not have access to the weight room. I had a 50-pound log at home that I would put on my back and do different variations of squats to stay in shape. It was tough, though.”
The focus for 2022
Although Case posted a 5.24 ERA last year, his work has paid off so far in 2022. The right-hander has not allowed a run in two appearances while striking out three Batters. Opponents have managed to post a .333 average against him, but Case has been able to work out of trouble. He has shown excellent control and has not allowed a walk this season. While his dream is closer than ever before, he isn’t taking anything for granted.
” It’s cool, man. I keep telling myself that I’m one step away, ” said Case. ” Our manager has coined this phrase, but you never know. If I get to the field tonight, I don’t know If I will get a call saying I need to go to Altoona, that I got traded or that I’m going to the majors. You never know what could happen, so you just have to roll with it. All I know is that I have to throw the ball when I’m told. ”
With his MLB debut projected to come in 2022, Case is a prospect to keep an eye on. The Pirates have already dealt with injuries at the major league level, and a shorter spring training makes depth even more critical. However, for Case, his focus is simple.
” I want to be as reliable as possible, ” said Case. ” Last year being my first year out of the bullpen, I felt like I was searching for how to get into a good routine. This year my mindset is to go out there and throw the ball and be as nasty as possible. ”
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