Michael Brady has been pitching in the minor leagues for so long, it’s easy to forget that he was once one of the nation’s top high school shortstops when he played at Santa Margarita from 2003-05.
At 30 years of age, Brady finally earned the chance to pitch in a major league baseball game last June as a member of the Oakland A’s, facing none other than the eventual World Series champion Houston Astros.
Three days after he was recalled from Triple-A Nashville, Brady jogged in from the bullpen at Oakland Alameda Coliseum, chosen to pitch the ninth inning of a game the A’s were losing 7-4.
Brady stared down the first batter he faced, veteran Carlos Beltran who had made his major league debut when Brady was 11, and Brady promptly surrendered a home run deep into the right-field seats.
The long bomb barely ruffled Brady, who had already overcame the immense challenge of switching from infielder to pitcher early in his 10-year minor-league career.
“When I made the switch from playing to pitching, I never thought it would get this far,” Brady told the San Jose Mercury News shortly after he was called up to the majors at the start of last summer. “I just wasn’t ready to quit. So I figured, I’ll give it a shot.”
Brady would stick around with the A’s long enough to appear in another 15 games last season, and he’s earned another opportunity this spring with the Milwaukee Brewers, who signed Brady to a minor-league contract last November, which includes an invitation to Spring Training later this month.
The Brewers may not have been impressed with Brady’s 5.68 ERA with the A’s last season, or the seven home runs he allowed in 31 1/3 innings, but his walk (6) to strikeout (24) ratio is the sign of a reliable arm.
“I really try not to walk anyone,” Brady said. “I used to be a hitter, so I know how hard it is to actually hit. Just in my mind, if I make them put it in play, the odds are with me.”
Brady hit .358 as a junior at Santa Margarita in 2004, was a first-team All-Serra League selection and led the Eagles to their first league title in baseball, both as a pitcher and a player.
He played four years at the University of California, but never hit better than .271 in any of the seasons and was drafted in the 24th round by the Florida Marlins in 2009. Brady converted to pitcher full-time during his second season in the Florida organization.
He couldn’t crack the major league roster in five seasons with the Marlins and was claimed off waivers by the Los Angeles Angels before the 2014 season. Two years later, he was traded to the Washington Nationals in a package that brought third baseman Yunel Escobar to Anaheim.
After a year in the Nationals’ organization, he signed with the A’s prior to the 2017 season and was optioned to Nashville before the start of the season.
Brady was scheduled to pitch for Nashville on June 17, but was given a four-hour notice that he needed to catch a flight to Oakland.
“The flight was delayed by an hour, and I made my connection in Las Vegas by maybe five minutes,” he said upon arrival. “It’s great, but it was kind of stressful.”
Brady seems to thrive in those types of situations.