Mitch Bratt's Stock Headed North When He Moved South
It’s not as if Mitch Bratt hadn’t been seen by scouts or college coaches while playing baseball in Canada the past few years.
The 18-year-old lefthander was committed to Florida State, but scouts from MLB teams kept calling to ask him when they might be able to see him again.
The answer was always “I don’t know,” because of stringent Covid-19 protocols in place throughout Canada. But Bratt wanted to give himself a chance at being selected early in the 2021 draft.
His solution was transferring to a high school in Georgia—and it worked. The Rangers selected him in the fifth round and signed him for $850,000.
“I really had to outsource myself,” Bratt said. “I had a need to be able to throw, and it was either preparation to go to college, just kind of get my feet wet beforehand, or (for) pro scouts to see me.”
Bratt pitched well at the Georgia Premier Academy in Statesboro, Ga., before transitioning to the MLB Draft League, where he performed better against better competition. He logged a 2.57 ERA with 44 strikeouts in seven starts and 28 innings for the West Virginia Black Bears.
Bratt didn’t head south alone. A teammate from the Canadian Junior National Team came along. Bratt had been on trips as long as three weeks with the national team, so he didn’t feel as if he would be overwhelmed leaving his hometown of Newmarket, Ontario.
“When I was 15, I was fortunate enough to make the junior national team," Bratt said. "I went on multiple trips with them. It was an experience similar to this.”
Bratt made his pro debut in the Arizona Complex League and was impressive. He didn’t allow an earned run in his first four outings, striking out 13 with no walks in six innings.
His fastball velocity trended up after the Draft League, from 88-92 mph to 90-95. His best offspeed pitch is his curveball, and he also throws a changeup and a slider that is a work in progress.
— First-round pick Jack Leiter spent three days at the instructional league and threw a bullpen session in the Rangers’ performance center with their motion capture technology. The No. 2 overall pick continues to work on a throwing program at Vanderbilt, where he is taking classes.
— Righthander Owen White, the 2018 second-round pick, was hoping to log 30 innings in the Arizona Fall League after missing much of the regular season with a broken hand. White, who had Tommy John surgery in 2019, has hit 98 mph with his four-seam fastball.