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Brad Brach

Sport: Baseball

Born: April 12, 1986

Town: Freehold

Brad Brach was born April 12, 1986 in Freehold Township to Mary and Mike Brach. He excelled on the mound in the local youth leagues and was the pitching star of Freehold Township High School. He led Frank Gaultieri’s Patriots to division titles and to the Central Jersey group final in 2004. Brad decided to stay close to home for college, accepting a scholarship from Monmouth University.

Brad threw hard and he threw strikes. As a freshman, he, led Monmouth U. in victories. As a sophomore, he made the all-conference team, leading the Northeast Conference in ERA and setting a school record with 82 strikeouts. As a junior in 2007, he had a great year for the Hawks, pitching the school’s first no-hitter since 1980, against LIU. As a senior he established new career records with 29 wins and 277 strikeouts. He graduated with a secondary school teaching degree in history.

Brad was drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 42nd round. They liked how he pounded the strike zone, and slated him as a reliever. After pitching in 18 games in the Arizona Rookie League, he began moving up the organizational ladder, closing games at each stop—33 in 2009, 41 I 2010, 34 in 2011. Working with the team’s pitching coaches, Brad developed a splitter to go with a good slider, and upped the velocity on his fastball from the high-80s to 92 and 93 mph and occasionally 95 or 96. He was called up to the Padres in August of 2011 and saw action in 9 games.

Brad yo-yo’d between the majors and minors in 2012 and 2013, appearing in 100 games at the big-leahue level. He averaged better than a strikeout an inning for the Padres, but batters hit him hard in 2012, and San Diego abandoned its plans to groom him as a closer. Brad was traded to the Baltimore Orioles after the season for Devin Jones, a AA-level prospect. A few days later, he married Jenae Cherry, a Country singer. They had met when Brad and a teammate caught one of her shows.

In 2014, Brad became a key member of Baltimore’s bullpen. He cut down on his walks and went 7–1 for the first-place O’s. In Game 2 of the Division Series against the heavily favored Tigers, Brad took the mound in the 8th inning with one out and two on and retired the next two batters. In the bottom half of the frame, Baltimore scored four times to turn a 6–3 deficit into a 7–6 lead. That’s hiw the game ended, as Brad scored his first postseason victory. Brad appeared in one ALCS game against the Royals, as Baltimore fell to Kansas City in four close games.

Brad was a key man in the Orioles bullpen in 2015. He appeared in 62 games and notched an ERA of 2.72, averaging better than a strikeout an inning. Brad continued to improve in 2016, lowering his ERA under 1.00 in the season's first half, earning him selection to the All-Star Game. He finished the season 10–4 with 92 strikeouts in 79 innings. In 2017, the Orioles elevated him to the closer's role when Zach Britton missed May and June. Brad saved 18 games on the year. Brad opened 2018 as the Orioles closer but was less effective. He was traded to the Braves for the stretch run, and then signed a free agent deal with the Cubs for 2019. Brad had control problems and Chicago released him in August. The Mets picked him up and he pitched well enough for New York to earn a contract for 2020.


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