08/20/2008 – All Things Valley League
Written by John Leonard www.allthingsvalleyleague.typepad.com While we were all watching the current Valley League season, former Harrisonburg Turk Brad Mills (05) has been one of the best pitchers in the minor leagues. The lefty in the Toronto system began the season at Low-A Lansing in the Midwest League. He was there for 15 starts, going 6-3, 2.55, with a 1.22 WHIP, 3.1 BB/9, and 10.2 K/9 in 81 1/3 innings. Understandably, the Blue Jays promoted him to Dunedin in the High-A Florida State League, but he kept firing. After 5 starts, he was 4-0, 1.15, with a 1.09 WHIP, 3.2 BB/9, and 9.8 K/9 in 31 1/3 innings. The Blue Jays kept pushing him, this time promoting him all the way to Double-A New Hampshire. So far after 4 starts at this level, Brad is 2-1, 0.44, with a 1.11 WHIP, 3.0 BB/9, and 9.1 K/9 in 20 2/3 innings. Notice how his rates stayed pretty close to the same, even though he was facing tougher hitters at each level! Baseball America noticed his pitching, as Brad came in at #11 on the August 8-14 week’s "Prospect Hot List." This is what they had to say: "On the strength of a plus-plus changeup and a solid fastball and curve, Mills has rocketed from low Class A to Double-A in his first full season. And the Jays’ fourth-round pick in 2007 from Arizona has made it look easy, going 2-1, 0.44 in his first four starts for the Fisher Cats. His composite 1.89 ERA ranks third in the minors, and his 147 strikeouts are fourth, suggesting that Mills may be able to help the big club much sooner than expected." Great news! It looks like Brad, according to BA the #20 Blue Jays’ prospect pre-season, is forcing his way into the major league picture! By the way, there is a Facebook group called "Brad Mills will pitch in the bigs." Not too far off, it seems!