Former KU Pitcher Brett Bochy Featured in San Mateo Daily Journal

June 19, 2012

SAN MATEO, Calif. — Former Kansas pitcher Brett Bochy was featured in a recent article in the San Mateo Daily Journal. The Poway, Calif. native is pitching in the San Francisco Giants’ minor league system with the Richmond Flying Squirrels.

Below is the text from the article, which was written by Terry Bernal. Fans can also read the original article in its entirety here.

The baseball world is still abuzz over Matt Cain’s perfect game Wednesday night, and rightfully so.

As a first-round draft pick in 2002, though, Cain has done what first-round picks are expected to do. The ace right-hander has long since proved to be a cornerstone arm of a starting rotation that currently features four former first-round picks. That’s a clear recipe for successfully building a big-league rotation.

On the contrary, building the major league bullpen has hardly been an exact science. The current roster of right-handed relievers features a mix highlighted by Santiago Casilla (a non-roster invitee in 2010) and Sergio Romo (a 28th rounder in 2005). Even All-Star closer Brian Wilson was an unglamorous 24th round pick in 2003.

As the Giants continue to tinker with the bullpen — they have already used 12 different relievers this season — there are some reinforcements on the way. And like the current mix of right-handed relievers, the arms being groomed in the farm system are also something of a mixed bag.

Brett Bochy

Double-A Richmond

Brett Bochy is notorious for his cool demeanor. It’s one of the things he has in common with his father, Giants manager Bruce Bochy. Like his father, he is also known for possessing an excellent arm. Unlike his father — a long-time big-league catcher — Brett Bochy has made his way in the baseball world on the mound.

“He’s a guy who nothing bothers him on the mound,” Richmond pitching coach Ross Grimsley said. “I asked the question to him in spring training, ‘How do you handle the pressure that comes with your dad being the manager of the big league club?’ … He just said he had a good time playing and it shows. The pressure of his dad being the manager, he doesn’t show it one bit.”

Since undergoing Tommy John surgery in March 2010, Bochy has worked his way back as a legitimate prospect as a relief pitcher. He emerged as a junior at the University of Kansas, leading the 2010 Jayhawks with five saves while notching a 0.87 ERA. However, after pitching in pain for most of the season, he discovered that despite his consistent velocity, he’d been pitching with a torn elbow ligament.

“I was very frustrated and disappointed, and it was a devastating injury at the time,” Bochy said. “Everything was going well, I was throwing well and then it was a big step back.”

Just three months before the 2010 draft, Bochy’s stock took a big hit. The 6-2 right-hander ultimately fell to the Giants in the 20th round, while he was still trying to reestablish his full range of arm motion following surgery. It wasn’t until he arrived at minor league camp in 2011 that he could throw off the mound.

“I felt great right when I came back,” Bochy said. “Standing out on the mound, I felt like my stuff was back and everything was back. As far as bouncing back in back-to-back days, that took awhile to come. Last year, I didn’t have that as much. This year, I feel great.”

If last season was a rehab year, then the sky is the limit for Bochy. In 2011 at Low-A Augusta, he appeared in 35 games, tallying 10 saves to compliment a 1.38 ERA. This season, he skipped a level with a promotion to Double-A Richmond. He didn’t immediately assume the closer’s role for the Flying Squirrels, but soon earned the job after starting the year with eight scoreless appearances. He currently has seven saves along with a 1.84 ERA.

— Reprinted with permission from the San Mateo Daily Journal.