#MLBPlayers411 | Brad Hand
After the best first-half of his six-year career, Padres reliever and today's #MLBPlayersAllStar17 #MLBPlayers411 subject Brad Hand is back where his Major League career began.
Brad, who pitched for the Marlins for four-plus seasons before being scooped up by the Padres with a waiver claim at the end of spring training in 2015, posted a 2.30 ERA with 60 strikeouts in 47 innings in the first half to earn a place in the National League bullpen for the Midsummer Classic.
“It's kind of crazy — full circle,” Brad said . “If you would have asked me a year-and-a-half ago if I was going to be coming back as an All-Star, I would have never told you that.”
In three of those seasons with the Marlins, the left-hander from Chaska, Minn., had at least 10 starts and 10 relief appearances, but since joining the Padres he's worked his way from long relief to high-leverage situations.
"I could never really find what it was I was going to do," Brad said on Monday. "I was still kind of pitching in a long relief role for a bit (with the Padres). My first few outings I was going three or four innings out of the bullpen there. Then I gradually worked into one-plus innings … I feel like I've found something that works in the bullpen. I've found my role."
When the Padres claimed the 27-year-old lefty in April 2016, Brad saw a chance to revive his career.
It didn't take very long for the Padres manager to figure out they'd found a pitcher with a unique skill set.
“A week into (his arrival), I thought, ‘This guy's not scared of anything,'” manager Andy Green recalled. “You kept giving him more, kept giving him more, kept giving him more, and he wanted the ball every single day in a way I'd never seen with anybody else. When I gave him the ball, the stronger he got, the better his stuff got, the more his (velocity) went up.”
“He's three things wrapped up in one,” Padres pitching coach Darren Balsley, who was the one who told Brad he was headed to Miami, added. “He's a shutdown set-up guy, he's a left-handed specialist, and he's a one-plus-inning guy. There aren't too many guys like that.”
To see more photos of Brad, click here.
To read more #MLBPlayers411, click here.