Right-hander Braden Tullis
was drafted in the eighth round of the 2009 MLB Draft by the Texas Rangers.
The 19-year-old recently finished his freshman season at Skagit Valley Community College in Washington, where he went 9-2 with a 1.56 ERA in 75 innings. Tullis checks in at 6-foot-2, 200-pounds, and he relies on an upper-80s, low-90s sinker. He's also developing a breaking ball and a changeup.
Lone Star Dugout has a Q&A with one of the newest members of the Spokane Indians.
Jason Cole: What are your thoughts and what was going through your mind when you got drafted by the Rangers?
?Braden Tullis: I was very excited. After hearing about the Rangers organization, I got even more excited. Their pitching program is very good and it's all really exciting.
Cole: You went in the eighth round. Is that about where you were expecting to go?
Tullis: Yeah. That was about in the range were I was projected.
Cole: How much had you talked to the Rangers leading up to the draft this year?
Tullis: I talked to them a lot. I talked to the area scout—Gary McGraw—quite a bit. We kept in touch and I knew that I was his top guy that he wanted to get signed. I thought there was a pretty good chance that I was going to go to the Rangers.
Cole: Was he coming out to see you quite a bit during the season?
Cole: Did you have any other teams that were on you as much as he was?
Tullis: Yeah, there were three or four teams. The Angels, Indians, and Orioles were pretty serious about getting me too.
Cole: Tell me a little about your stuff on the mound. What pitches do you throw and what velocities are you usually sitting at?
Tullis: I consistently throw about 88-90 [mph], but in the early spring I hit 92. My fastball just has lots of movement and naturally—the way I throw it—it sinks. I've got a lot of sink to my ball. I get a lot of ground balls. That's what the scouts all liked about me. I get tons of ground balls. And I've got a good changeup. I'm developing a curveball.
Cole: Did you throw a breaking ball in high school?
Tullis: Yeah. I was just a fastball-curveball guy in high school.
Cole: You said you're still developing the curveball. Would you say the changeup is your second-best pitch right now?
Tullis: Yeah. I'm just refining the curveball—making it sharper.
Cole: Talk about throwing a decent changeup while having very little experience with the pitch. What has allowed you to do that?
Tullis: In high school I didn't really throw a changeup very much, if ever at all. When I got to college, my coach said I needed to develop that pitch and it just kind of naturally took off. I started getting a good feel for it and it became a really good pitch.
Cole: You mentioned that your fastball has a lot of movement. Does that mean that you're throwing a two-seamer or is it natural movement on a four-seam fastball?
Tullis: I throw about ninety-eight percent two-seamers. But even when I throw my four-seam, it has movement on it too.
Cole: This was your freshman season in college. How'd you feel about the way you pitched?
Tullis: I exceeded my personal expectations. Definitely. I pitched very well. I got a ton better and obviously it paid off for me—all the hard work and dedication.
Cole: Have you guys discussed what your role will be with the Rangers? Do they want to develop you as a starter or do they like you out of the bullpen?
Tullis: I think they want to develop me as a starter.
Cole: Being from the northwest, what are your thoughts on being able to play with the Spokane Indians in the Northwest League this year?
Tullis: I would love it. Being from Boise, Idaho, it's the same league as the Boise Hawks. I've got a good chance of playing in Boise where my family could come watch me, so that's good.
The Rangers' eighth round pick in the 2009 MLB Draft, right-hander Braden Tullis signed with the club earlier in the week, and he has already reported to short-season Spokane. Lone Star Dugout chatted with the pitcher after he was drafted.
Lone Star Dugout chats with Braden Tullis, who will open his career with the Spokane Indians