One of Mississippi State’s most resilient baseball players was former Diamond Dawg Ben Bracewell, who played collegiately from 2010-14. Not only did he overcome an early career arm injury, he reinvented his pitching style during his five years on the MSU campus to put himself in position to play the game he loved professionally.
Bracewell quickly established himself as State’s closer during his freshman season. In fact, the fire-balling right-hander led the staff with four saves that season, and struck out 23 batters in just 18 innings of work. A late-season shoulder injury required surgery during the off-season, however, and Bracewell sat out the 2011 campaign as a medical redshirt.
When Bracewell returned to the mound competitively in 2012, gone was the overpowering fastball. Instead, he relied on command and movement to remain successful at the college level. He concluded his State career with a scintillating 2.44 earned run average. He helped lead that ’12 team to a regional appearance, the ’13 club to the College World Series championship series, and the ’14 squad to a super-regional. So respected by his teammates, he was elected a team captain prior to that senior season.
Bracewell recently completed his fourth professional season at the minor league level, and he was pitching the best baseball of his career when the season came to a close. Pitching at Class AAA Nashville in the Oakland A’s farm system, Bracewell went 5-2 on the year. His five victories tied for a team high. He won four straight starts from Aug. 10-27, and allowed just one earned run over 18 innings pitched in his final three starts of the season at Nashville. Bracewell was named the Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Week after back-to-back shutouts against Iowa and Round Rock during that span. In so doing, he helped Nashville to a second-place finish in the PCL's American Southern Division.
He has a 22-9 overall record and 3.77 earned run average at the minor league level, having posted winning records at each stop along the way, and is 13 of 15 in save opportunities. His collegiate baseball perseverance and hard work has been rewarded with a solid pro career, one which has put Bracewell on the doorstep of the big leagues.
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