Our Best Tools results won’t begin to be posted until later this week, but we can give a little sneak peek–the best pitching prospect in the Florida State League is not who you might think.
Kyle Drabek pitched very well in his time in the FSL, but a majority of managers picked Fort Myers’ David Bromberg as the league’s top pitching prospect. Drabek actually got votes for the best fastball, best breaking ball and the best command, but some of the same managers who voted for Drabek on other categories picked Bromberg as the league’s best pitching prospect.
Bromberg is 11-1, 2.44 in 125 innings this year, but he wasn’t just picked by managers because of his stats.
"He controls the game very well. He pounds the strike zone with three average to above average pitches. He dials up his game. He can run it up to 95 mph and pitches at 91 to 92," Lakeland manager Andy Barkett said.
At his best, Bromberg has been dominant. A 2005 32nd-round pick who signed for $40,000 in 2006 as a draft-and-follow, he led the minors with 177 strikeouts in 2008.
He’s had similar success this year at times. He struck out 12 and walked only one in six innings against Brevard County on May 30 and he struck out nine in a complete-game shutout against Charlotte on Friday. But he’s not close to being a finished product yet. He sometimes struggles to command his fastball and usually actually has better command of his breaking ball and his changeup than his fastball. But his fastball is good enough to make hitters worry about it even when he is struggling to throw it for strikes. And when he gets in trouble, managers are impressed with his ability to bear down.
"Bromberg is an ice in the veins kind of guy. Even when he’s in trouble you can’t really tell anything is going wrong," Barkett said.
Dominant Start: The number of top two round picks who have seen significant playing time is nearly outnumbered by those who are still holding out. But Rockies supplemental first-rounder Rex Brothers has gotten a taste of pro ball, and up to now, he’s had few problems.
The Lipscomb product has been kept on a tight pitch count–he’s yet to work more than two innings in any outing. But in those short outings, the 21-year-old lefty has piled up the strikeouts. With the exception of a three run, 1/3 of an inning outing against Salem-Keizer on July 31, Brothers has struck out at least two batters an inning in each of his six appearances. This weekend he struck out five of the six batters he faced in two perfect innings against Eugene giving him 18 strikeouts compared to three walks in eight innings.
As you would expect for a lefty who can throw 95-96 mph, Brothers has been especially tough on lefties. Of the 12 lefthanded hitters he’s faced, nine have struck out.
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