While pitchers and catchers continue to settle back into their routines at Camelback Ranch, we thought it would be a good idea to briefly drift back to the minor league-side of things while re-exploring the depth of the Dodgers‘ stacked farm system.
For those who may forgotten the 2018 draft, Los Angeles certainly had its mind on pitching, as the first four selections were all pitchers. J.T. Ginn was the Dodgers’ first selection towards the end of the first round. However, the righty decided to commit to Mississippi State, ultimately handing the Dodgers a compensatory draft choice immediately after the first round in 2019.
Right-hander Michael Grove and lefty John Rooney were selected in the second and third rounds, respectively. Both quickly entered the Dodgers’ top prospect rankings during their first years in the system.
But there’s another future star from that same draft, fourth-round selection Braydon Fisher, who could be back on the radar very soon. After undergoing UCL surgery last spring, he spent all of 2019 recovering from the procedure.
Despite the grueling recovery process, the right-handed Fisher says he’s been throwing consistently as he continues to prepare for his upcoming campaign.
“Arm’s going great,” he said in a conversation last Tuesday. “I threw my fourth bullpen today. Feels good. Had 20 fastballs at full distance.”
Fans who remember Fisher will recall that he was selected out of Clear Falls High School in Texas and was somewhat of a surprise pick. Despite earning TSWA 6A All-State honors in 2018, he wasn’t a regular on the summer showcase circuit as a junior, which made him a bit of an unknown on the national level. Regardless, he did emerge at the World Wood Bat Association Championships, where his presence impressed scouts to the point of making him a Top 150 pick.
After the draft, the 6-foot-4 Fisher had enough time to log nine starts for the Arizona League Dodgers, tallying 11 appearances—two in relief—while compiling a 1-2 record with a 2.05 ERA. He struck out 19 and walked nine batters over an even 22 innings of work.
Subsequently, when throwing a bullpen early in 2019 spring camp, he hyper-extended his elbow, which was the catalyst of the surgery.
“I have always dealt with some soreness since high school, but this definitely came as a surprise,” Fisher told us of the injury during an interview late last spring.
Still, at just 19 years old, his advanced repertoire may be one of the main reasons he quickly re-emerges into the team’s Top 30 prospect rankings.
“I throw a four-seam fastball, a two-seam fastball, a curve ball and a changeup,” he said last year. “The four-seam has to be my best pitch because the off speed stuff is still developing. The fastest I’ve ever been clocked was 96 MPH in high school.”
According to scouts, Fisher’s slider was trending upwards before his surgery, but his changeup is still very raw. Here’s a short, pre-draft video highlighting his mechanics:
As far as 2020 goes, Fisher said he hasn’t heard any specific direction regarding an agenda, but his main focus is returning to the high-level of competition in the minor leagues.
“No news yet [on the schedule],” he said. “Right now, I’m just trying to get fully healthy and back to competing.”
Fans should definitely keep their eyes on Fisher when he returns to the mound this season. With his build, his mechanics and his diverse selection of pitches, his ceiling is undoubtedly extremely high.