Aug. 9, 2010
By Jon Cooper
The summer of 2010 was one of change for Jed Bradley.
Bradley didn’t require drastic change coming off a sophomore season that saw him crack Georgia Tech’s weekend rotation, tie for third in the ACC in wins (9) and finish second in the conference in strikeouts per nine innings (9.76). But he recognized that there was room to improve and he embraced the opportunity to do so in the esteemed Cape Cod League.
“I wanted to go up there and kind of make a name for myself,” he said. “I wanted to get better as a pitcher and work on my change-up and control the running game. I think I did all those things.”
Accomplishing his goals is not good news for ACC hitters, as it basically means that one of the ACC’s top returning strikeout pitchers and one its best in picking runners off (his six tied for third), has developed another out pitch and is even better at holding runners close.
In seven appearances for the Wareham Gatemen, Bradley had a 2-3 record, but pitched to a 1.98 ERA (nine earned runs in 42 innings), second on his team and 10th in the League, and rang up 44 strikeouts, which is still tied for the league-high, while giving up only 33 hits.
About the only disappointment is that he had to cut his stay in Massachusetts short, having reached the innings-pitched limit set by Tech head coach Danny Hall, and thus was not able to participate in the playoffs, which are currently going on (The Gatemen swept their best-of-three first-round series against Bourne and began the best-of-three semifinals against Cotuit Monday afternoon).
“I talked to Coach Hall before summer ball and we kind of decided that about 40 innings would be my max,” Bradley said. “My first four starts I was averaging about eight innings a start (he had two complete-game efforts in those four), so I ate up those innings kind of quick. The 40 innings came along faster than we thought it would.”
Fortunately, he was still able to pitch in the Cape Cod League All-Star Game, held on July 28 at Fenway Park (he wasn’t the only Yellow Jacket pitcher in attendance, as Jake Davies participated in the pre-game Home Run Derby).
“It was a lot of fun. It was a good experience,” said Bradley, who needed only 11 pitches (seven of them strikes) to record a perfect fifth inning, striking out one, as part of the West Division’s 5-0 victory. “There was a pretty good crowd there and you’re in good company when you’re throwing on the Fenway mound. So it was a lot of fun and I’m glad I got the chance to do it.”
As Bradley headed back South, he took with him the experience of surviving pitching at Fenway Park, with its well-earned reputation for being a left-hander’s nightmare, and staring down Fenway’s legendary Green Monster in left field –something he might be able to share with former Tech ace Deck McGuire, who was drafted by Boston’s A.L. East rival Toronto. He also had the opportunity to learn from Wareham’s pitching coach, former Atlanta Brave and Milwaukee Brewer lefty John Foster.
Put it all together and it should add up to Bradley being a better pitcher come next spring.
“That’s really up to the coaches, but I see myself as being one of the leading guys,” he said. “I threw my change-up a lot and it got a lot better. It’s become a vital part of the way I pitch and I plan on using it a lot next year. I got a lot better managing the running game and it’s safe to say more people know my name now than before I went up there. So it was a productive summer.”