Former Aledo star pitcher Cody Bradford excelling in second Texas Rangers season

Cody Bradford had an up-and-down rookie season as a starter for the Texas Rangers. In three of his eight starts, he gave up six runs or more. However, he gave up two runs or less in four of his starts.

Yet, out of the bullpen, Bradford was an impressive 3-0 with a 2.82 ERA. He was even better during the Rangers’ World Series postseason, giving up one run off four hits in 7.2 innings of relief.

“Honestly, time in the league, experience, the playoffs were huge, getting to pitch and understand that my stuff can still play and even at the biggest stage in the big moments like that, that was really cool,” Bradford said on Monday. “Getting to know Jonah better and then Mike [Maddux] getting to know me a little bit better and us just meshing all around.”

Bradford carried the postseason success over to spring training, knowing he was on track for a spot in the Rangers starting rotation.

“Cody has stepped up in spring training he came in knowing that he had to really earn a spot in the rotation and he did that, and now you go out there and you gotta earn your keep every fifth day ... and Cody’s done a fine job of that, we’re 2-0 when he’s started,” said Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux.

The Aledo native shined in his first two starts of this season and pitched perhaps the best game of Rangers career against the Houston Astros when he gave up one run off two hits in 7.2 innings of work with four strikeouts. He will make his third start on Wednesday, facing the Oakland A’s at Globe Life Field which is a short drive away from his hometown.

Bradford attended Aledo High School before heading down I-35 to play at Baylor University where he won Big 12 Conference Baseball Pitcher of the Year in 2018 before being selected in the sixth round of the 2019 MLB Draft.

Bradford said the novelty of playing for his hometown team never wears off.

“No, it’s definitely still an honor, and even walking off the field the other night, like a standing ovation I couldn’t help but think that there’s definitely some people from Aledo at the game and it’s really cool to represent my hometown and, hopefully, set a good example for kids growing up and give them something to dream for one day too,” said Bradford.

Maddux praised Bradford’s preparedness before the team’s series finale against the Houston Astros as well as the introduction of a curveball into his arsenal.

“When he goes out there on the mound, he’s very prepared that puts him at ease, lets him execute his pitches,” said Maddux, “He’s added a third pitch to his weapons arm, [it] keeps people off the two pitches that he has been scouted on and now he’s got something that’s new.”

Bradford’s curveball has allowed him to reduce reliance on his fastball and has helped entice batters to swing at more of his pitches outside of the strike zone this season compared to last.

“Cody is a great worker. he’s young, but he’s a true professional, takes pride in what he does,” said Maddux.

Bradford has been vital to the Rangers considering the litany of injuries to their pitching staff with Jacob deGrom, Max Scherzer, Tyler Mahle and Josh Sborz all currently on the injured list.

The Rangers are also waiting on pitcher Micahel Lorenzen to debut for the team after signing him late in spring training and manager Bruce Bochy said Bradford’s success makes it easier to bring Lorenzen along slowly.

“No doubt, how the guys are throwing that’s why I give [Lorenzen] more time to get to where he needs to be before he starts up. That’s one of those things you talk about all the time,” said Bochy.

With all the injuries, Bradford has embraced the next-man-up mentality emboldened by how the team won the 2023 World Series despite several major injuries throughout the season.

“If I can help fill the role before some of the big guys get back, like Scherzer, deGrom and Mahle then I’ll just do whatever the team needs,” said Bradford, “The season’s not over until you win the last game of the season,” “Last year, we, we learned that you don’t have to win to the division to have a deep postseason run.”

The Rangers 2023 World Series title was the first in team history and Bradford, who grew up idolizing players like Derek Holland, Cliff Lee and CJ Wilson has now added himself into Rangers lore.