Scouting Yankees Prospect #23: Brady Lail

Lail has tremendous makeup & pitch-ability

The Yankees drafted right-handed pitcher Brady Lail in the 18th round of the 2012 MLB Draft out of Bingham High School in Utah. He has made steady progress since that time and quickly has become one of the higher ceiling arms that also offers safeness in his long-term projection too.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Brady Lail
Position: Pitcher
DOB: August 9, 1993
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 195
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

He quickly proved that his success in a small sample size in his debut season was no fluke, posting a 2.33 ERA for Gulf Coast League Yankees1 last season with a 0.81 WHIP ratio and striking out nearly one batter per inning pitched.

"Last year, I thought it was great," he said. "I thought with some of the experiences I got that I matured a lot. I was able to put together some pitches and kind of grow up.

"That was awesome and a really positive thing. Statistically I thought it was a pretty good year and hopefully I can do that again this year."

While there were some tangible physical improvements to his game, he credits a lot of his success to his mental maturation as a ball player.

"The big thing was just improving my mindset into pitching, being on the mound and just really commanding the game," he said. "I think I matured mentally and physically on the mound and had the mindset that is my game and I'm going to set the tone."

Set the tone he did. He attacked batters with command of an advanced repertoire that rookie level hitters were simply not ready for, including a brand new sinking two-seam fastball.

"I've been throwing a few bullpens [lately] and I'm very positive about it," he remarked. "It's moving very, very well and I'm hoping that it can have the effect that it did last year. I'm just going to keep playing with my grip a little bit more and keep being able to command it."

The epitome of a control pitcher as evidenced by his issuance of just five walks all of last season, it is the command of his pitches that stands above his many great tools, including an advanced changeup too.

"To be honest I think my changeup is probably my best pitch," he insisted. "I have more feel for it and it's just something I can throw in any count right now, really just attack a hitter with a different look. Right now it's my fastball-changeup combo, that's my best pitch."

Throw in a curveball that continually gets better and a power fastball that has also steadily improved since he was first drafted, Lail not only can feel things starting to gel but he feels like there is a lot more left in the tank.

Often compared to current pitching prospect Bryan Mitchell for their similar projectable body types, Lail is still physically maturing and gaining strength.

"I've been sitting 195-197 with my weight which is awesome. I'm getting a lot more leg strength. My dad has been funny about it, he's been feeding me peanut better and jelly sandwiches every night before I go to bed. He's just trying to stack it up.

"I'm running a ton and trying to keep my cardio up. I had a great offseason and I'm just excited to keep that going on this season."

Lail and the Yankees feel there is more velocity yet to be tapped. Considering where his current pitch-ability and level of command already are, that puts him ahead of most young pitching prospects right now and that has him wanting to be challenged more.

While conventional wisdom would have him in short-season Staten Island in 2014, Lail would be pretty disappointed if he was not able to make to low-A ball this coming season.

"I shouldn't say disappointed but my goal right now is to break out of Spring [Training camp]," he said emphatically. "If I have to go to Extended [Spring Training] I just have to take it as I'm still playing the game of baseball and go with it, prepare and prove a point that I can be ready for Staten Island.

"I'm hoping though and I am breaking my butt that I can make it to a full season [league]."

Wherever he pitches this coming season, Lail already knows what he wants to work on and improve in 2014.

"The big thing I want to improve on is maybe get a couple of more ticks on my fastball again, stay a little more consistent with the 92-93 mph action, and keep being me; be mature on the mound and enjoy the game of baseball. I just need to stay healthy and keep playing the game."

And that is really the big key with any prospect -- staying healthy. Should he be able to accomplish that, he is sure he can only get better going forward.

"I don't know, I guess the years will tell. I'm very excited, I can't wait to get on the field again," he concluded.




















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Repertoire. Fastball, Curveball, Changeup.

Fastball. Lail predominantly throws a four-seam fastball that will average 91-93 mph and top out at 94 mph on occasion. He also sports a 90-91 mph sinking two-seamer that shows great movement. What ties the fastballs together, however, is his ability to work them off of each other and his ability to command the strike zone with both pitches. Still just 20 years old, he has room to add more strength and he could potentially add a couple of more ticks on his fastball in the coming years.

Other Pitches. His main secondary pitch used to be his power knuckle-curveball, one that will average 78-81 mph and show not only downward biting action but some slurvy sweep to it as well. It's an above average pitch with room to get better. However, his game has rapidly changed and now his best go-to offspeed pitch is his plus changeup. It will sit 83-84 mph, it shows great movement and fade, and the arm action and speed mirror that of his fastballs.

Pitching. Lail pitches well beyond his years. Almost a seasoned big league veteran caught in a 20-year old's body, he absolutely sets the tone on the mound. He goes right after batters with stellar command of four big league pitches, he is not afraid of pitching to contact, he gets ahead in counts, and he has the stuff and moxie to put hitters away when he is ahead. He shows an advanced delivery, he fields his position well, and he knows how to make quick adjustments. But more than anything he works efficiently by throwing a ton of strikes and limiting his walks.

Projection. With advanced mechanics and command, a four-pitch big league arsenal that is above average across the board, and tremendous makeup, Lail safely projects as a future middle to back-end big league starting pitcher someday. However, there is still some untapped talent here, especially physically. Built like Bryan Mitchell there is a very good chance the fastball could get harder and the curveball still has room to get better too. Should either of those two happen, or both, his ceiling could trend even higher.

ETA. 2016. Lail is ready for low-A Charleston in 2014. Should he open up the season in the South Atlantic League there exists the possibility he could see some time in high-A Tampa by season's end if all goes well.

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