Athletes of Kingston: Matt Brash

By Ian MacAlpine

Matt Brash, only the second baseball player from Kingston to be drafted by a major league baseball club, is enjoying his first season of professional baseball.

A dominant pitcher for the Kingston Thunder and Bayridge Secondary School, Brash, six-foot-one and 170 lbs., grew up only a long throw from Woodbine Park in Kingston’s west end where he honed his craft to a point now where he can throw a baseball over 95 miles an hour. He’s also developed a slider, change up and curve ball.

On June 4 Brash, 21, was selected in the fourth round, 113th overall, in the Major League Baseball Amateur draft.

He’s only the second Kingston baseball player to be drafted by a major league team. The Montreal Expos in the 41st round drafted Johnny Mazzeo, also a pitcher, in 1999.

Only a few days after getting drafted Brash got to experience a brief moment of life in the major leagues when he and the other top three Padres drafts picks got to throw out the first pitch before a game at Petco Park in San Diego.

“It’s pretty exciting.” Brash said in an interview with the Whig-Standard the day he was drafted. “I couldn’t be happier.”

Photo Credit: Ian MacAlpine

Brash was hoping the Padres would select him after a mound session in front of scouts and coaches at Petco Park a week before the draft.

“I really liked all the people there and everybody was super friendly and I was kind of hoping they’d pick me and they did so I couldn’t be happier about it,” he said.

Brash has been working hard on his craft this summer in the heat of the Arizona desert and in Fort Wayne, Indiana pitching for the Class A TinCaps.

After reporting to the Padres Instructional League team in Arizona in mid-June Brash was quickly called up to the TinCaps where he posted some good numbers in his brief stint with the club. Brash gave up just three hits in 4.1 innings of work (.188 opponent batting average), all in relief while striking out six batters. His WHIP (walks & hits per inning pitched) was 0.69 and he didn’t walk a batter. His earned run average was a slim 2.08.

Brash was sent back to the Padres Instructional League team in mid-July ostensibly to rest his right arm after a busy spring with his NCAA team, the Niagara Purple Eagles.

Brash finished the 2019 college season with a record of 4-5 and a 2.43 ERA for Niagara. He was also recently named the pitcher of the year in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference and a first-team league all-star.

“I’m definitely taking care of my arm and just making sure I’m healthy and getting stronger right now,” he said in a recent interview. “I’ve pitched over 100 innings this year so they don’t like us to go over that so I’m shut down at the moment.”

“I’m sure I’ll be throwing again here soon but I’m not going to be logging big innings obviously but I’m looking forward to getting back on the mound.”

Kingston’s Matt Brash pitches during the 2019 season for the Niagara University Purple Eagles. He was recently named the Pitcher of the Year in the NCAA’s Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
Photo Credit: Niagara University

Brash said he’s fine with that as long as he’s getting stronger and improving.

“They’re saying they like my stuff and I don’t have to change too much which is nice.”

Brash hopes to move up in the Padres system next year but at this point doesn’t know what level he’ll be playing in the 2020 season.

“I know they like my stuff and I know if I keep getting stronger, better and add more miles to my fastball I think I’ll be moving up next year.”

Brash said he wouldn’t be in the position he’s in if it weren’t for the support of his family – dad Jamie, mother Sandra and sister Carlye – as well as the Kingston community including coach Randy Casford and the Casford family along with his coaches at Niagara.

“They gave me an opportunity to expand my game and there was never a doubt in my mind of their belief in my ability.”