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Spring Trade Brings Bray Back Home

He helped his high school team win a Minnesota state baseball championship. In the summer, he was a big part of an American Legion National championship. He achieved his goal of going to a Division I college to play baseball. He was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers, fulfilling a goal of being a professional baseball player. This spring, Adam Bray’s career pushed him in a new direction. The goal remains the same, but now that goal involves eventually playing for his home state

Recently, Twins minor league right-handed pitcher Adam Bray answered questions for Twins Daily.Today, let’s get to know him a little bit.
Adam Bray grew up in the shadows of the Metrodome. Not the actual shadows , of course, there weren’t any houses that close to the Metrodome. However, Bray certainly was a big Twins fan.

“I have been a Minnesota Twins fan since I was young,” Bray recently told Twins Daily. “I grew up going to games at the Metrodome with my parents and friends. My favorite memory was getting to go on the field and watching batting practice for my birthday. My favorite Twins players were Torii Hunter, Johan Santana, and Joe Mauer.”

As he grew up, Bray played on some of the best youth teams around. He played for Eden Prairie High School, one of the biggest high schools in the state, and they do a lot of winning. Bray noted, “My favorite memory from high school was winning the Minnesota State High School League State championship in 2010 at Target Field, and earning the win as the pitcher.”

But Bray was a multi-sport athlete and very active in high school. “I played football for four years at Eden Prairie, and I played basketball for one year. In addition, I was involved with FCA and PROP.”

In the summers, he was a big part of some really, really great American Legion teams. After his junior season, the team went to the national championship and finished as the runner-up. Following his senior season, the team got back, and this time they won the American League World Series.
“I loved being part of two very talented and fun teams, both of which made it to the championship game. That’s one of the best experiences of my baseball career! Not many teams have done that.”

Despite the high school and Legion success at one of the best programs in the state, he didn’t have a lot of offers coming out of high school.
Bray noted, “I had very few offers coming out of high school. I had two NCAA Division I programs looking at me, and the rest of the programs were out of Division II or III, and junior colleges. My dream and goal was to play Division I baseball.”

Bray decided to fulfill that Division I dream and went to South Dakota State University in Brookings, South Dakota. “SDSU had a unique community. I liked how the athletics were on the rise, and how supportive the community was about the programs there.”

He was able to make the weekend rotation for SDSU as a freshman and had a real strong career full of highlights.

“Winning the Summit League tournament in 2013 and playing in a regional was a big highlight of my career.”

Following his four seasons at South Dakota State, Bray was selected late in Day 3 by the Los Angeles Dodgers. It was another dream to cross off the list of goals.

“Ahead of the draft, I had talked to several teams that said they were looking at acquiring me in the late rounds. I was eager for the opportunity to have a chance to play professional baseball. On the third day of the MLB Draft, I learned that I was picked in the 33rd round by the Los Angeles Dodgers while sitting at home with my mom. I was thrilled to have a chance to continue to play baseball. It was a very emotional day for both of us.”

He spent that 2015 season in Ogden with the Dodgers’ rookie Pioneer League team. In 2016, he split the season between the Low A Midwest League and High-A California League. He started the 2017 season back with Rancho Cucamonga where he went 7-3 with a 4.44 ERA in 26 games (19 starts). He even made one start for the Dodgers AAA affiliate in Oklahoma City.

There have been many adjustments for Bray during his three-plus professional seasons.

“The game is much faster. You are facing the best of the best every night, and now it’s a business. It’s important to work hard everyday, and to surround yourself with good people.”
He went to spring training this year hoping to continue to work his way up the Dodgers’ organizational ladder, but one day he was pulled out of the locker room and told that he had been traded.

“It was a Thursday morning, and I was getting ready for the day at Camelback Ranch and I was sitting at my locker. Our farm director, Brandon Gomes, pulled me outside of the locker room and told me I had been traded to the Minnesota Twins. I couldn’t believe it and was shocked. I told him, ‘You’re kidding me!’ He said he wasn’t. I asked him what was coming next, and he said I needed to pack the bags. The Minnesota Twins were in contact with me later. I called my fiancé and shared the news with her, and then my parents. It was exciting!”

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As you would expect, there has been an adjustment to joining a new organization.

Bray noted, “I only have good things to say about both organizations. I am blessed, and beyond grateful to have played in such a classy organization with the Dodgers. My time with the Twins has been great thus far. I think the hard part coming to the Twins was getting adjusted to how they run things here, and also meeting everyone.”

On Thursday night, Bray came out of the Miracle bullpen and threw two scoreless innings. He struck out four batters. In nine outings since joining the Miracle in late June, he has worked out of the bullpen, throwing anywhere from one inning to three innings. He has posted a 1.02 ERA and a 0.91 WHIP over his first 17 2/3 innings. He has given up ten hits, walked six and struck out 17 batters.

In years past, he worked mostly as a starter, but he got in quite a bit of time as a reliever as well, and that’s something he believes is important for him. “My versatility is one of my biggest strengths as a pitcher. I have been both a starter, and a reliever in my career. I throw lots of strikes while not walking many batters.”

The 25-year-old righty isn’t a finished product on the mound by any means, and he knows he’s got some things to work on. “I am working on improving my ability to read hitters tendencies and swings. I feel that by watching what a hitter does can tell you a lot about how to pitch him. It also helps that we have more data on hitters than ever before.”

Bray is also quick to credit others who have helped him reach this point in his career. “First and foremost my parents have been a huge part of why I’m at the place I am today! The support they provide is amazing. Other people are my Grandpa (aka “my number 1 fan”) who passed away two years ago, my fiancé, and high school and college coaches. I have so many people that have helped me get to where I am today but those are some very special people.”

Now he’s living a dream, playing in the organization he grew up watching. The goal is to play on the field where he watched the Twins play, and where he played in a state championship game in high school

Of the idea of playing for the Twins, Bray has given it some thought. “I am truly honored to be a part of a team and organization I grew up watching. The Twins are a classy organization, and it would be a dream come true to put on a big league uniform in front of the hometown crowd in Minneapolis!”

In case you were wondering, Bray is a Health Education major with a minor in Health Science. He is just a couple of credits left to earn his degree.

And, most important for you to know, Bray points out that his favorite baseball movie is either The Sandlot or Moneyball.

A huge Thank You to Adam Bray for taking time to answer our questions to thoroughly and completely. Please feel free to wish him well in the Comments below, and you can also ask any questions you like.

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2 Comments

Thanks Seth. Nice article.

 

Looking at his Baseball-Reference page I see something kind of unusual. His WHIP has not been at or above 1.3 since his first year and he has never had an ERA of 4.00 or higher at any level. What mix of pitches has had him doing this well? 

Great article, Seth.

 

Recall EP, high school and legion, being my son's big rival back when he was playing ball.Excelsior did well against them, although that was 10 years before Bray was on that great team.Remember hearing lots about them in those back-to-back Legion Series.

 

Do you recall what the Twins gave up to get him?Was it one of those $X trades?


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