When Charleston RiverDogs pitcher Brady Lail was an infielder at Bingham High School in South Jordan, Utah, he couldn't wait for his chance at the plate.
Like just about every position player, Lail loved to hit so the sooner he could get off the infield and into the dugout the better.
It's that kind of mentality that Lail brings to the field every time he steps on the mound for the RiverDogs.
Throw strikes, work fast so the guys can go hit.
"Who doesn't like to hit, I mean, that's what everyone loves to do and I know I loved to hit when I was playing in high school," said Lail, who was an 18th-round draft pick of the New York Yankees in 2012. "I'm not going to waste a lot of pitches. I'm going to go up and challenge the hitters because I know the guys behind are going to make the plays. The faster I work, the quicker those guys are back in the dugout and can go hit."
The formula has worked pretty well for the 20-year-old right-hander this summer.
In 16 starts for the RiverDogs, Lail is 7-4 with a 3.77 earned run average. Lail has gone at least five innings in all but two of his starts and has thrown into the seventh inning twice, which is unheard of at this level of minor league baseball when almost every prospect is under a pitch count.
His 86 innings of works is tops on the RiverDogs pitching staff.
"I don't want to work more than three or four pitches for each hitter," Lail said. "I've been lucky to stay out there as long as I have most games because my pitch count is low. I think it's going to save my arm and again, the guys behind me are making the plays, so they make my job a lot easier."
Despite the reputation as a "ground ball" pitcher, Lail has a team-high 96 strikeouts to go along with just 15 walks.
"When Brady is on the mound, we have a really good chance to win," Charleston manager Luis Dorante said. " Brady is able to keep the ball down and that has been the key to his success this year."
Lail's teammates gush about his control on the mound.
"On the bump, he has some of the best stuff I have ever seen," RiverDogs second baseman Gosuke Katoh said.
Charleston first baseman Mike Ford agreed.
"He really knows how to pitch," Ford said. "He mixes his pitches and locations, and he is really pinpoint with his accuracy."
Lail, who has put 25 pounds of muscle since signing with the Yankees in 2012, has four solid pitches - four-seam fastball, two-seam fastball, change-up and curveball - and throws in the low 90s mph. No matter what pitch he throws, the ball is always around the plate.
Coming out of high school, Lail was a two-sport star in football and baseball. His uncle Joe Borich played quarterback at the University of Memphis in the early 1990s.
"I love football and my uncle was a really good quarterback," Lail said. "I had a couple of offers to play football in college, but baseball was my sport."
Lail signed to play baseball at the University of Arizona, just a month after the Wildcats won the NCAA national title. Lail said he was tempted to play for the Wildcats, but a $225,000 signing bonus plus another $135,000 for a college education was more than he could pass up.
"I kind of wanted the college experience, but the Yankees made me a tremendous offer that I just couldn't turn down," Lail said.
Because his older brother Ben was a Yankees fan, Lail said he always routed for the Mets.
"I did it to get under Ben's skin," Lail said with a chuckle. "But I'm a Yankee through and through now."
The players selected to The Post and Courier's All-Lowcountry baseball and softball teams will be honored prior to Monday night's game against Greenville.
First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.
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