With the impending trade deadline fast approaching, every playoff bound team is looking to add reinforcements to the bullpen and on virtually everyone’s radar is the twenty-seven year old, All Star Brad Hand. His breakout is well known to Padres’ fans, but for those who are unfamiliar with Brad Hand’s story, here is the rundown.
Brad Hand was born in Minnesota and graduated from Chaska High school in 2008. His strong athletic build and his presence on the mound caught the eye of baseball scouts across the country, with one scouting report writing, “His fastball was up to 93 mph and pretty straight ,and he was able to throw it consistently above hitter’s hands. His curve ball had power spin at 76 mph and he had good feel on location.” Brad Hand was ranked forty-second nationally and went on to be drafted 52nd overall by the Florida Marlins (now Miami Marlins) in the second round of the 2008 MLB Draft.
He debuted in the 2011 season and started twelve games, pitching sixty innings for the Marlins. Over Hand’s rookie season, he posted an ERA of 4.20, FIP of 5.73, a W-L record of 1- 8 and a K/9 value of 5.70. In the subsequent years in Miami, Brad Hand was anything but impressive, as he was optioned to the minor leagues frequently and started a only three games between 2012 and 2013. Hand pitched in 111 innings in 2014, starting 16 games with an ERA of 4.38, FIP of 4.20 and a K/9 value of 5.43. After posting a similar line of a 4-7 record with an ERA of 5.30, FIP of 4.08 and a K/9 value of 6.46, it was becoming clear that Hand wasn’t a strong starting option.
As such, the Marlins opted to part ways with Hand, and the Padres claimed him from waivers in 2016. Since then, Hand has been one of the few bright spots on the big league squad and was the only Padre representative at the All Star Game in Miami this year. He has pitched in 48 innings and is having a supreme year in all the categories with the following line: K/9 value of 11.43, ERA of 2.25, FIP of 2.75, xFIP of 2.89, and 61 strikeouts.
To underline Brad Hand’s dominance, let’s compare how he stacks up against fellow Padres and also premier relievers:
While we may all agree Brad Hand is not elite yet, making it unlikely that the Padres will get multiple top prospects, the Padres aren’t budging on price with Hand as arguably the top bullpen arm on the market Andy Green stated “Personally, I hope he’s in a Padres uniform, Why wouldn’t I? I want him pitching for us the rest of the year and years to come.”
Nevertheless, the value of Hand will probably never be higher for the Padres, so expect them to pull a trigger if the market continues to push towards the substantial price the team is hoping for at the deadline.