For the Minnesota Twins, the end of July has been most notably about the looming trade deadline, and what pieces they are still going to be able to move. However, the Twins have made headlines for a different kind of transaction, a free agent acquisition of a 100 mph flamethrowing pitcher.
Brandon Poulson isn’t a household name yet, but the Twins are sure hoping he turns out to be. A 24-year-old fresh out of a collegiate summer league, Poulson is not $250,000 richer, and a professional baseball player.
He had currently been playing for the Healdsburg Prune Packers, who are coached by Joey Gomes, the brother of Major League Baseball player, Jonny Gomes. Poulson has repeatedly thrown in the triple digits, but has never found himself drafted.
Most recently, Poulson had been pitching for Academy of Art University in San Francisco, where he registered an 8.38 ERA. The Twins had been keeping tabs on the prospect throughout his college season.
Poulson’s story, even as it stands now, is one for the ages. He chose football over baseball in junior college, he didn’t make his high school baseball team as a freshman, and he was intending to give up sports to take over his father’s excavating business. The Twins are taking a shot on Brandon as a reliever, and at $250,000, that’s a significantly better shot than most undrafted free agents get.
Elliott Strankman, the Twins west coast scouting director said, “He’s a physical specimen. He’s got the best pure arm strength I’ve ever seen.”
The Twins were able to sign Poulson away instead of the San Franciscio Giants, who also had interest, due to having more money left in their draft pool.
While expectations should be tempered, Poulson could be already pitching for Elizabethton this weekend. With the Prune Packers this season, he registered 31 strikeouts and six hits in 12 1/3 innings, with four saves in 12 appearances.
For Twins fans, you have to hope this is a pretty significant diamond in the rough.