Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Gaithersburg’s Brady feeling a draft

Record-setting right-hander plays waiting game as MLB Draft nears

E-mail this article \ Print this article

Chris Rossi⁄The Gazette
Gaithersburg High School pitcher Kevin Brady, pictured batting at May 27’s county senior all-star game, may have a tough decision to make after the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft later this week. Brady will likely be selected but he also has a scholarship to Clemson University, and may have to choose whether he wants to honor that or turn pro.
With a combined 16-0 record and 210 strikeouts the past two seasons, Gaithersburg High senior Kevin Brady established himself as the county’s most dominant pitcher. But in seven innings of May 27’s Montgomery County Senior All-Star Game at Blake High School, Brady never once stepped on the mound.

Instead, Brady, Maryland’s Gatorade Player of the Year, took one at-bat in the third inning — he reached on a fielder’s choice — and then sat back and relaxed for the rest of his final appearance in a Trojans uniform.

No, there wasn’t a conspiracy to keep Brady on the sideline by opposing coaches and players who had seen more than enough of the flame-throwing, right-handed hurler, who consistently throws in the high-80s, low-90s. An understandable feeling considering, Brady, who has signed with Clemson University, surrendered less than a run per game the past two seasons en route to earned-run averages of 0.84 in 2007 and 0.29 this past spring.

Brady didn’t play the field or pitch because he had already thrown his fill of pitches before even arriving at Blake last Tuesday — he’d tossed a bullpen session for the Cincinnati Reds in New Jersey in what was a pre-draft workout. The Reds are one of many teams that have expressed interest in Brady and one of many who could select him when Major League Baseball’s 2008 First-Year Player Draft starts Thursday.

‘‘I’m just keeping my body in shape and throwing bullpens,” said Brady of his regimen since Gaithersburg (20-2) fell, 3-2, in the 4A West Region final last month to eventual state champion Sherwood. ‘‘We’re just waiting for everything to come into place and just waiting for teams to talk to us. We’re not really sure right now what projected round I’m going to. It’s a fun time. It’s both fun and nervous at the same time. It’s just going to be a tough decision.”

The decision comes down to does whether to begin his professional career or head south to Clemson and play for his dream college. In which case he would not be eligible for draft again until after his third season at Clemson.

‘‘It’s a win-win situation,” Brady said. ‘‘I either get to start my Major League career at age 17 or I get to play at Clemson for three solid years there and come out even better.”

Since last summer, Brady, the two-time Gazette Player of the Year, has heard from the Atlanta Braves, New York Yankees, Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Colorado Rockies, Baltimore Orioles, Philadelphia Phillies and the Boston Red Sox.

He began attracting increased attention at last summer’s Florida-based East Coast Professional Showcase. Bob Mayer, the Cleveland Indians’ regional supervisor in charge of most of the East Coast, invited Brady to the prestigious tournament, where Brady struck out five and allowed a hit in three innings of work.

Also last summer, Brady compiled a 6-2 record with a 1.56 ERA and 100 strikeouts in 58 1⁄3 innings of work for county champion Gaithersburg Post 104. Brady produced Post 104’s lone victory in the state tournament, shutting out Garrett County Post 71⁄214 for seven innings, allowing two hits with 10 strikeouts in the 5-0 victory.

Brady also dazzled scouts and coaches alike in June while playing for Team Maryland at the 31st Annual Sunbelt Classic in Oklahoma. He had a complete-game victory with seven strikeouts against Team California and earned a save in the team’s 5-3 win over Ohio as well.

Brady leaves Gaithersburg as the school’s career leader in wins (19), innings pitched (140 2⁄3), strikeouts (249) and ERA (1.05) and he ranks third with 11 complete games. As a junior, Brady set Gaithersburg single-season standards with a 9-0 record and 112 strikeouts. He also tossed a perfect game. He followed with a 7-0 mark, two saves, and 98 strikeouts in 48 1⁄3 innings this past spring.