“Life is not always a matter of holding good cards, but sometimes, playing a poor hand well.”
That’s a Chasen Bradford tweet I found on-line as I searched to find something about the B-Met relief pitcher. I was curious to know whether Bradford was talking about the cards he was dealt (being a 35th round draft pick by the Mets in 2011), or just life’s cards folks are dealt in general. Whatever cards Bradford was dealt he’s playing them with a deft hand this summer in Binghamton.
Bradford pitched for the Knights of Central Florida in college where command issues clouded his future baseball potential. The 6’1” right hander went 17-7 during his stay as a Knight, earning five saves, but too many free passes and a high WHIP left unanswered questions.
After originally failing to make the squad out of spring training for Savannah in 2012, Bradford fought his way back on the roster and had a solid season as a Sand Gnat. He worked entirely in relief, making 37 appearances with a 2.47 ERA and a 1.118 WHIP, and has been turning heads ever since.
St. Lucie was next up for the Met prospect this spring. Bradford shined in 30 relief appearances going 6-2 with three saves that earned a promotion to Binghamton. His command issues seem to be a thing of the past as he fanned 43 batters while walking only nine in St. Lucie.
Bradford has been undaunted with the fabled jump to the Double-A level, pitching lights out in 16 appearances as a B-Met thus far. The right-handed set up man has a 3-1 record with a minuscule 0.46 ERA and a flashy 0.966 WHIP. With Jeff Walters, the King of Saves in all of minor league baseball, Bradford doesn’t get much of a chance to close a contest although he did pick up his first Double-A save over the weekend.
I got an opportunity to watch Bradford in two outings during the current B-Met home stand. The Binghamton reliever threw one inning of scoreless relief in the B-Mets 1-0 victory over New Britain on Friday and picked up a victory in relief Monday night with a second scoreless inning when Binghamton topped Bowie, 3-2. Scoreless relief outings are nothing new for Bradford this summer. In fact, he has not surrendered a run out of the Binghamton pen since July 12th.
Bradford throws a fastball that regularly registered at 90-92 mph with off-speed pitch selections to compliment his quick stuff. A high 70’s breaking pitch was very effective for him in the games I observed.
With names like Noah Syndergaard, Logan Verrett, Erik Goeddel, Darin Gorski, Adam Kolarek, Chase Huchingson and Jeff Walters headlining a potent B-Met pitching staff, it would be easy to lose a guy like Chasen Bradford in the shuffle. That would be to overlook a trump card in the Binghamton pitching card deck.