Minnesota Made: Adam Bray
Image courtesy of Adam Bray, Design by David YoungsEach year thousands of elementary school teachers ask their students the million-dollar question that lives rent-free inside the mind of the common individual for an eternity.
“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
For most, dreams of becoming superheroes, Hollywood elite, and pro athletes evolve into 9-5 shifts and commonplace jobs in society. But for Eden Prairie native Adam Bray, the pursuit of the dream continues; and he isn’t far from it.
"I would tell my teachers in class that I wanted to play in either the MLB or the NFL. I would tell them straight up, ‘I want to do it,’” Bray said. “I’m still working towards it, but hopefully one day it will happen, soon.”
A standout pitcher for Eden Prairie High School, Bray is on the cusp of achieving his childhood dream. After being drafted by the Dodgers in 2015, the 27-year old was traded to his hometown organization following the 2017 season. And while Bray is destined to be a standout at AA Wichita, the RHP has his sights set on making the trip up I-35 to achieve the childhood dream.
Courtesy of Dustin Nosler
Adam Bray doesn’t strike you as a professional athlete to the eye. His down-to-earth demeanor and calming presence resonate with an old friend you’d grab a beer with, not a top-tier pitcher who struck out 83 batters in 2019.
Perhaps it’s the fact that Bray’s roots began in his Eden Prairie cul-de-sac playing catch with his dad at age two. Like every other child with dreams of the 'Bigs', his days after school included a healthy tree and a Hit-A-Way. And when it came to college recruitment his looks came from South Dakota State and North Dakota State, not Vanderbilt or Arizona State.
Bray grew up in the 612 idolizing names like Johan Santana, Torii Hunter, and Joe Mauer under the bubble at 900 South 5th St. in Minneapolis.
“I remember going to the Metrodome and watching games with my family,” Bray recalled. “Once I had a birthday party there with five or six friends and we got to go down to the field and watch batting practice and get autographs.”
Like most kids, Bray enjoyed hitting and throwing. Yet at the young age of 10, he knew that his calling was on the bump.
Courtesy of Adam Bray
“It came naturally to me,” Bray said. “I think I started pitching when I was 10 and it took off from there.”
Bray’s love of pitching helped him excel through youth baseball, travel ball, and high school. Yet it wasn’t until his junior year of high school that he realized that baseball was a potential option for his future.
“I had a good (junior) year and realized that I had a shot to play some sort of college baseball,” Bray said.
That talent took him to South Dakota State, the alum of current Twins reliever Caleb Thielbar. Bray was a staple in the Jackrabbits rotation, posting a 24-16 record over four seasons in Brookings.
Bray's talents landed him a 33rd-round pick by the Dodgers in the 2015 MLB Amateur Draft, an experience he’ll never forget.
“I made the mistake of listening to all three days (of the draft), I didn’t know when I was going to get picked,” Bray said. “I heard my name called in the 33rd round and it was an unreal experience, I enjoyed every moment of it.”
The young draft-pick enjoyed his time with one of baseball’s hallowed organizations, posting solid numbers in the ‘Blue Crew’ system through 2017.
Yet on a suspense-filled day during 2018 Spring Training, Bray’s path would change drastically.
A week where players were being released, Bray suspected that his name might be next on the chopping block.
But the news wasn’t that of a release; Bray was headed to the organization that he grew up following from his backyard.
“It was a crazy day,” Bray said. “It was emotional, I had made a lot of friendships with the Dodgers but it was a really good opportunity for me to go the Twins.”
Hometown on the Horizon
Bray didn’t leave his talent behind on the West Coast when making the move to the Twins. The 6'3" righty appeared in 19 games for A+ Fort Myers in 2018, posting an outstanding 1.88 ERA. His 2019 numbers weren’t too shabby either, touting a 2.66 ERA and 4-4 record while bouncing between AA Pensacola and AAA Rochester.
Bray was activated to the Twins new AA affiliate Wichita Wind Surge this spring. It’s likely that he’ll be a strong contributor to the Wind Surge pitching staff. Still, Bray’s goal lies 634 miles north on I-35.
“It’s awesome that I work for the twins but at of the day I need to do my job. The end goal is to get to the big leagues and to do that with the Twins would be incredible.”
Check out Seth Stohs' interview with Adam Bray on Twins Daily Offseason Live!
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