In the 42nd round, with
the 1279th overall choice in the 2010 amateur draft, the St. Louis Cardinals
selected Larry Coleman Brand (known to us as Cole Brand) out of
Bradley Central High School (TN). He is a right-handed pitcher measuring
6-foot-2, weighing 225 pounds who had committed to Clemson University earlier in the spring.
Brand played alongside fellow
draftees Ryan Fraser (New York Mets' 16th round) and Ryan Casteel
(Colorado Rockies' 17th round). They are not the first Bradley Central High
School alumni to be chosen in the draft, as catcher Ray
Stephens was taken by the Cardinals in 1985 after attending college at both
Troy University and Middle Georgia College. Stephens had a short-lived
major league career which Brand hopes to surpass.
The 18-year old righty is said to have a 90-plus mph fastball
complimented by a good curve. He had a record of 18-4 the last two years
and struck out a total of 211 batters, including tying a county record with 19
in one game. Brand had a 2.16 ERA his junior season and improved it to
1.20 over his senior year. The Cleveland, Tennessee native also played multiple
positions when needed if not listed as the starting pitcher. He was
the winning pitcher in game two of the 2008 District 5-AAA Baseball Championship
and had made appearances in the last two Tennessee-Georgia All-Star Baseball
There was a small amount of
concern over whether he would sign, hold out, or possibly go to college and that
might have been one of the reasons he fell in the draft. But in the end
Brand wanted to begin his pro career and signed with the first batch of
draftees. Brand made his professional debut on June 23rd with the Gulf Coast
League Cardinals and to date, he has logged three scoreless relief appearances
allowing one hit, two walks, and striking out two over three
Brand was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to take on a
few questions. His answers follow.
Josh Jones: What was it like to pitch the clinching game in the 2008 District 5-AAA
Baseball Championship? (Or was it 2009?)
Brand: It was ‘08, and it was a thrill, big game, big atmosphere, everything a
kid could ask for in a athletic event.
JJ: How did you
perform in the 2010 TN-GA All-Star Game? And have you been a part of any
I did alright. I closed in the 9th inning, hit a guy actually, but got a ground
ball and 2 K's right after. It had been a while since I had thrown. All-Star
game wise, I was invited to do the Under Armour and AFLAC games but I never
really had the time to go. I was working on getting myself ready for the draft
and what I'm doing now.
JJ: Did you play
any other positions or sports while in high school?
I played third base, hit .407 and hit 4 bombs. I was the three hole hitter.
I also played other infield spots, second and short, but I wasn't as anywhere as
good at them.
JJ: Why did you
decide to pass on the decision to go to college at Clemson for pro
baseball is the ultimate goal. I wanted to go out of high school. I've always
wanted that since I was in high school. I just wanted to always be on a field
doing what I love. When someone told me I could go pro and get paid to do
something I truly love, I had to do it.
Tell me about the day you were drafted. What you were doing, people around you,
and any other details.
I had actually almost given up on my name being called, I just was sitting
on the couch and in the same room as my mother when the 42nd round came around
and I heard Larry Coleman Brand, and I looked at my mother and asked, "Was that
my name?" Then they called it back. Regardless of the round, just being drafted
is a relief.
JJ: Did you
expect to go higher or lower in the draft? Why?
Higher of course. Andy Seiler (I think that’s right) wrote a draft
notebook having me going from the 7th to the 10th round, but I guess signability
was a question. I just wanted to play pro ball, 42nd round sign opposed to the
above rounds, proves I'm here for the game and not the money. Writer's
note: Seiler is one of the draft experts from MLB Bonus Baby.
Are you looking forward to playing against any of your former teammates (Ryan Fraser, Ryan Casteel,
I would love to throw against Ryan again. The last time I faced him, I was
16 years old and playing on the younger Chattanooga Cyclones team in Florida. I struck him
out. But he has had success against me as well, but I don't want to
JJ: What was your
first professional game like? Nervous, excited, etc...
Well I was so filled with emotions, happiness I was throwing in a pro game. As
part of my game, I use my mental intensity and mindset as one of my major
advantages. I have confidence in everything I do. But after the first batter got
a hit and the second I walked, I started wondering why I was so overamped. I
relaxed after I convinced myself that its just the game I love, and got out of
the inning with the next three batters.
JJ: You were a
starting pitcher in high school, now a reliever. Are you at all disappointed to
be moved into the bullpen and are you trying to get back into the starting
I had been used in the middle of the week as a reliever, so I'm not too
terribly unfamiliar with the role, but I'm still getting the hang of it. And no,
it's not a big priority of mine to get back in the rotation. Whatever needs to
be done in order for me to get moved up, so be it. The main goal is to be a big
success in MLB. And step by step, day by day, I'll get there, regardless the
spot in the rotation or pen.
JJ: Can you give
us a scouting report on yourself? What are your pitches, anything along those
Fastball, curve-ball, change up, slider, I use my youthful energy to try and
pound the zone to get ahead early, then use my fastball to get the hitter out
either up in the zone, or just try and blow it by them. Changing the eye level
of the hitter is the most important thing I try to do, because if the hitter has
no clue what’s next, it makes it 100 times easier to get an
JJ: What types of
activities/hobbies do you like to do outside of baseball?
I fish when I can, but mostly I love swimming and spending time with my
family. God has truly blessed me with this talent and with the family it has
been involved with.
JJ: Who's your
favorite sports player?
My favorite sports player is actually ironic because he is a Cardinal, Albert Pujols is my favorite for three reasons. He doesn't cause distractions on
and off the field, he doesn't talk all about himself, and he gets the job done
at whatever the cost. He is a true athlete's athlete.
JJ: What are your
favorite college/professional sports teams?
favorite college by FAR is Auburn; my family has been a part of it for
years. My grandfather, my father and a few other family members have spent a lot
of time there. Professional football I don't watch. But baseball until recently
has been the Atlanta Braves, mainly because they are one of the closest teams to
my home, but now I'm a Cardinal guy strictly...I better be,
you to Cole Brand for this interview and yes sir, you need to be a St. Louis
Cardinals fan now.
Note: This is the sixth in our series of interviews with 2010 St. Louis Cardinals draftees with more on the way. The first five were for subscribers to The Cardinal Nation. Join today so you don’t miss any of them!
Links to earlier Cardinals draftee interviews in this series:
7th round pick Greg Garcia
13th round pick Colin Walsh
15th round pick Geoff Klein
18th round pick Boone Whiting
8th round pick Daniel Bilbona
Find Josh Jones blogging at Cardinals Best News Links or
visit his Twitter account for occasional
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