Brandon Pfaadt, D-backs look to improve, find fun in playoff chase

Aug 15, 2023, 12:03 PM

Brandon Pfaadt throws a pitch...

Starting pitcher Brandon Pfaadt #32 of the Arizona Diamondbacks throws a warm-up pitch during the first inning of the MLB game against the Miami Marlins at Chase Field on May 09, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

In the three years since the Arizona Diamondbacks selected Brandon Pfaadt in the fifth round out of Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky, expectations have steadily risen.

Even a little more than a year after the draft and with only a few minor league games under his belt thanks to the COVID-shortened 2020 season, Baseball America’s Nick Piecoro called him a legit prospect.

Fast forward a year later and he was named the D-backs’ minor league pitcher of the year.

Early this season when the team needed starting pitching help, they turned to Pfaadt, who, like many others making their debut in the big leagues, experienced some growing pains.

In five May starts, Pfaadt gave up 22 earned runs in 23.2 innings pitched.

“Baseball is hard, especially in the big leagues,” he told Arizona Sports’ Bickley & Marotta. “Being a top prospect kind of carries its own weight for some guys and I think to be honest, it kind of carried that weight early on (for me).”

After making a spot start in June, he’s made five starts since July 22 and the results — 14 runs in his last 29 innings – have been better.

He credits the work he put in at Reno and in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League as contributing to the improved results.

“I went to the other side of the rubber just to give me a different view. I went to the first base side so the changeup stays on the plate more.

“Just got back up and told myself to trust that process and trust what we did down in Reno and it showed that it did work out,” Pfaadt said.

With the D-backs still in the hunt for a Wild Card berth, he says the coaching staff and the guys on the roster know they can play like they did earlier in the season and make a run at the playoffs.

“I think having fun, playing our game, playing loose, trusting each other, having each other’s back, kind of all of those come together and at the end of the day, that is what makes a championship team a championship team.

“When we play with that enthusiasm and show everybody the team that we are and the team we are capable of, then we are going to find ourselves in the playoffs for sure,” Pfaadt said.

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