SAN FRANCISCO — In one of their craziest scouting experiences, the Minnesota Twins have reached a deal with a 24-year-old pitching prospect who has thrown 100 mile per hour fastballs but has never been drafted.
Brandon Poulson was pitching earlier this month for the Healdsburg Prune Packers in a collegiate summer league. His manager was Joey Gomes, the brother of big leaguer Jonny Gomes.
Now, the Twins are about to give him $250,000.
“It’s a great story,” Twins West Coast scouting supervisor Sean Johnson said Tuesday. “This kid came out of nowhere.”
The Twins knew about Poulson from his recent season with Academy of Art University, where he had an 8.38 ERA for the San Francisco school.
Poulson played there after taking a couple of years off to work in his father’s business — “John’s Excavating” — with the thought he’d take it over someday and leave athletics behind for good.
“I played for the Prune Packers summer of (2013), but missed nearly three-fourths of the games because I was busy working,” said Poulson, who didn’t make his high school baseball team as a freshman.
The Twins are giving him about 10 times more than an undrafted player would typically receive as a bonus. Poulson will begin as a reliever.
Poulson will sign his contract once he reports and could pitch in a game as soon as this weekend.
Until last fall, Poulson was operating heavy machinery — driving 18-wheelers, front-loaders and backhoes. All the while, he played baseball in a Sunday night men’s league, fittingly called the “Wine Country” league.
The Twins consider him among the best athletes they have pursued: A health nut, Poulson weighs 240 pounds and ran a 6.6-second 60-yard dash. He has a 40-inch vertical leap.
“He’s a physical specimen. He’s got the best pure arm strength I’ve ever seen,” Twins scout Elliott Strankman said.
Photo via Instagram/prunepackers