The next member of the Baltimore Orioles to receive their 2022 report card from yours truly (Adley Rutschman was the first) is right handed starting pitcher Kyle Bradish. The 26 year old, known most notably for being part of the package the club received in exchange for Dylan Bundy, was Baltimore’s #7 ranked prospect according to Fangraphs heading into the season. Needless to say, O’s fans were ebullient when he made his big league debut on April 29th.
Standard plus/minus grades are used to calculate overall GPA. The grading system for pitchers varies from the one used for hitters and consists of the following: overall results, batted ball quality, and (like with hitters) a miscellaneous “elective” of my choosing. No need to worry though, electives are a tried and true GPA booster.
Baltimore Orioles SP Kyle Bradish receives his official 2022 season report card.
Overall Results: B
On June 18th, Kyle Bradish had a 7.38 ERA and landed on the Injured List thanks to inflammation in his throwing shoulder. Chances of him salvaging a passing grade for the 2022 season were bleak, however Bradish returned six weeks later and wholly transformed his season, looking every bit like the guy who was mowing everyone down in Bowie and Norfolk.
The juxtaposition of Bradish’s splits before and after his injury is a stark one:
ERA pre-injury: 7.38 | ERA post-injury: 3.28
H/9 pre-injury: 12.4 | H/9 post-injury: 6.9
HR/9 pre-injury: 2.1 | HR/9 post-injury: 0.8
The highlight of Bradish’s turnaround was without question the masterpiece he crafted against the eventual AL pennant-winning Houston Astros on September 22nd. Against a team that’s one win away from a World Series championship, Bradish hurled 8.2 shutout innings wherein he allowed only two hits and struck out ten, including this one against Kyle Tucker.
Batted Ball Quality: C
This is another tale of two halves for Bradish. Unfortunately, his early numbers weighed him down so much that his batted ball profile finished below average despite his late season resurgence. But, as the old saying goes, C’s get degrees!
Bradish finished in the bottom third of qualified pitchers in most StatCast categories though as with his ERA, these numbers improved and batters squared him up far less after he was activated from the IL.
Through June, Kyle Bradish’s average exit velocity sat at 91.7 MPH, approximately three miles per hour harder than MLB average. After his return, batted balls from opponents’ bats averaged 88 MPH, almost half a mile per hour below league average. Bradish generated ground balls 44.1% of the time post-IL compared to 42.7% pre-IL, helping to explain how his HR/9 decreased by 62% after he came back.
These numbers coincided with a decrease in fastball usage to make way for more curveballs and sliders. Batters experienced a decrease in AVG, SLG, and wOBA against Bradish as a result of this adjustment. The early numbers were ugly, but there was consistent, considerable improvement as the season progressed.
Pregame Warmup Song: A
I’m an unabashed hip-hop head that was in college when Drake began his career and launched himself into the mainstream, so Kyle Bradish gets an automatic A for using “Jimmy Cooks”, a single from Drake’s most recent album Honestly Nevermind.
The track begins with a sped up sample of Playa Fly’s “Just Awaken Shaken”, slows to pick up Brook Benton’s 1976 song “You Were Gone”, and builds a beat that Drizzy effortlessly glides on. The uptempo track is a perfect song to get anyone hyped, from Baltimore Orioles fans in the stands to Bradish on the mound.
Final GPA: 3.0
I had the pleasure of watching Kyle Bradish’s first start for Norfolk against Scranton back in April and was left thoroughly impressed with the quality of his stuff and the command he showed of each pitch. After a rocky beginning to his rookie season, Bradish adjusted his approach and showed the potential of a low end #2/high end #3 starting pitcher who could help the Baltimore Orioles emerge as playoff contenders once again.