Excitement was high around Milwaukee following the 2011 MLB Draft. Using a short-lived organizational philosophy regarding the selections of taller pitchers with plus fastball velocity, the club had chosen two highly touted collegiate pitchers in the first round: RHP Taylor Jungmann at 12th overall and LHP Jed Bradley at 15. At the time, scouting director Bruce Seid told reporters:
"There were some really good players taken in front of our picks, and we feel we were able to capture some needs and some guys that fit the criteria," Seid said. "These are successful college [pitchers]."
Now, five years later, it's difficult not to look back at the Brewers' 2011 draft without feeling a great sense of disappointment. Milwaukee passed on now-successful big leaguers like Jose Fernandez, Sonny Gray, Kolten Wong, and Joe Panik when they picked Jungmann and Bradley. Jungmann's up-and-down career has been well documented on this site, but at least he made it to the major leagues. Bradley's career never really got off the ground, and today the organization cut ties with the soon-to-be 26 year old left-hander.
Minor-league LHP Jed Bradley has been traded to Atlanta in exchange for a player to be named or cash.— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) June 3, 2016
Ranked as the Brewers #4 prospect and the league's #97 overall by MLB Pipeline at the start of 2012, Bradley was praised for his four-pitch mix including a plus fastball and slider and the potential for above-average command.
Big and strong with an Andy Pettitte-like body, he should be an innings-eating workhorse in short order.
Things didn't quite work out that way, of course. Bradley struggled in every season of his career and at every level he pitched at. His best season was in 2014, when he began the year making his third go-around with high-A Brevard County and posted a 2.98 ERA and 53:10 K/BB in 60.1 innings before a promotion to AA Huntsville. He wound up posting a 4.55 ERA and 71:36 K/BB in 87.0 innings against tougher competition there, giving him a cumulative 3.91 ERA and 124:46 K/BB ratio in 147.1 innings. To date, that'e the only season he's posted an ERA under 4.00 at any level of the minor leagues.
After struggling with injuries and ineffectiveness the Brewers transitioned Bradley to relief in 2015 and gave him his first shot at the AAA level, where he posted a 9.00 ERA and 15:10 K/BB in 20 appearances covering 26.0 innings. He was sent back to AA Biloxi to begin this season but scuffled to a 6.20 ERA through his first 24.2 innings despite being nearly two years older than the league average.
Bradley ends his Brewers' career with a 4.78 ERA and 308:154 K/BB ratio in 416.1 minor league innings. He will now hope to find some footing with the Braves in the state of Georgia, where he experienced plenty of collegiate success as a product of Georgia Tech. The Brewers might recoup a player in return, but as Adam McCalvy noted on Twitter, it'll probably end up being a cash return. The failures of Jed Bradley and Taylor Jungmann to make a lasting impact on the Brewers' organization should stand out as a stark reminder of why it is a fool's errand to try to draft for need in Major League Baseball.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference