The Rays are drafting college seniors who will sign easily now, but they’re getting some interesting ones. Kevin Brandt is a 6’1″, 195 lefty coming out of East Carolina University who continually pitched well the past two seasons.
In 2011, Brandt put together a nice season between starting and relieving, going 7-3 with a 2.26 ERA in 11 starts, 8 relief appearances, and 91.2 IP. But after being converted to a starter full-time in 2012 he was even better, going 7-6 with a 2.12 ERA in 16 starts and 106.1 IP. He posted just a 5.8 K/9, but a 2.3 BB/9 and a 0.2 HR/9 in 106.1 IP. Those numbers are pretty impressive- other than the K/9. But Brandt brings solid stuff to the table.
Brandt doesn’t have a very good fastball, hitting the low-90’s with solid control but commanding it pretty terribly, missing way too often up in the zone. But his secondary pitches are intriguing. He throws a slider that actually flashes plus and also a changeup that at times shows some nice sink. It’s really hard to pitch with a severely below-average fastball, but Brandt kept college hitters off-balance and has a chance to do the same as a pro, especially is he’s moved to the bullpen. It could see Brandt working in a situational lefty kind of role and he could pitch well. Brandt happens to share a name with Kevin Brandt, the Twins’ 11th overall pick in 1979. Cool. Brandt is nothing flashy but is a nice 18th round value by the Rays and has a chance to make the majors in a relief role someday.