Rookie Brodt hits the mark for Athletics
Other than having a pretty good right arm, coach Evan Bailey wasn't sure precisely what the Okanagan Athletics should expect this season from rookie Matt Brodt.
Halfway through the 2014 B.C. Premier Baseball League season, the 16-year-old from Penticton is looking very much like the complete package.
Not only is Brodt delivering the goods on the mound with a solid 4-2 record and meagre 1.76 ERA, the 5-foot-10, 160-pound freshman has also been a major contributor at the plate.
Brodt is among the Athletics top hitters with a .326 batting average, while adding eight RBIs and 17 runs scored.
"He's basically gotten better week by week," Bailey said of Brodt. "He's a competitive kid and he gives you a chance when he's on the mound."
"At the plate, I didn't know what to expect. I heard he was an athletic kid, but didn't know much else. He's done very well with the bat…he's been a huge addition for us."
A versatile player, when Brodt isn't on the mound he can usually be found in the outfield, but can also play at second or third.
After playing last season and performing well with the South Okanagan Tigers of the B.C. Midget AAA Baseball League, Brodt decided the time was right to try his hand at the next level.
And after a tentative first couple of days with the A's this season, the Grade 11 student at Pen Hi soon found his groove with the Kelowna-based PBL club.
"I had a pretty good year (in 2013), so I wanted to see if I could make the jump," said Brodt, who commutes between Penticton and Kelowna for games and practises. "When I first came, it was a bit of a shock to see how things ran, but it didn't take me long to start to feel comfortable. You get more and better competition in this league and your skills improve faster. I feel like it's going pretty well so far."
Bailey said Brodt is a bit of a rarity among midget-aged pitchers in that he can throw four effective pitches—an arsenal that allows the Penticton-bred hurler to keep opposing hitters honest.
"He has a fastball, a cut fastball, a slider and a change-up and he can throw them all for strikes," Bailey said. "He's not the hardest thrower, but he challenges hitters and he really competes hard."
So how and where did Brodt acquire his talent for throwing a baseball ? Other than some natural ability, the A's rookie points to good, old-fashioned practise.
"Throwing a baseball always kind of came easy for me," Brodt said. "My dad and I spend a lot of time fooling around with different pitches, trying anything just to see what the ball can do. I practise whenever I can."
Brodt and the Athletics (18-10) are coming off a four-game sweep of the North Delta Blue Jays, as Brodt tossed a complete game four-hitter in the series finale Sunday, an 8-3 win.
The A's return to action this weekend when they travel to Vancouver for four games with the Cannons.