11/20/2008 – www.allthingsvalleyleague.typepad.com
Hey all you Turks fans, below is an article that our friend, John Leonard, of All Things Valley League posted on his site. We encourage you to check Johns’ site daily during the VBL season and often during the off season for up to the minute coverage of current players and Valley Baseball League Alumni. Thank you so much John for your enthusiasm and coverage of the VBL. Read on …. Brad Mills: Toronto’s #7 Prospect Former Harrisonburg Turk Brad Mills (05) has just completed quite possibly the best minor league season by a Valley League alumni pitcher that I’ve seen. Over three levels, he went 13-5, 1.95, with 159 strikeouts in 147 1/3 innings. He is forcing himself into the Blue Jays’ future plans with this kind of pitching. Baseball America has noticed, as they named Brad Toronto’s #7 prospect (subscription only). This is BA’s writeup for the young man: Background: The Blue Jays first drafted Mills in the 22nd round in 2006, but he turned them down so he could complete his civil-engineering degree. Toronto took him 18 rounds higher in 2007 and watched him advance to Double-A in his first full season while ranking fifth in the minors in ERA (1.95) and eighth in strikeouts (159). Strengths: Despite his strikeout total, Mills doesn’t overpower batters in the traditional sense. Instead he relies on a deceptive, herky-jerky delivery and offspeed stuff to put batters away. His well above-average changeup is a true swing-and-miss pitch because his arm speed fools hitters. They also struggle with his average 12-to-6 curveball. He gets high marks for his mound presence and ability to make adjustments. Weaknesses: Mills tends to work up in the zone because of his high three-quarters arm slot, which could be a problem against better hitters at the upper levels. Aside from his fastball velocity—he sits at 88-89 mph and touches 91—that’s the chief criticism of the lefthander. The Future: Success came easily to Mills in 2008, but pitchers who rely on deception usually find it more difficult to fool big league hitters. Evaluators who have seen him pitch believe his stuff will play in the middle or back of a big league rotation. This is good news, obviously, that evaluators think Mills can pitch in the starting rotation in the majors. I would expect him to start 2009 in either Double- or Triple-A, with a chance to pitch in the majors at some point during the year. Congratulations, Brad!