Bridwell was drafted in the ninth round of the 2010 draft and had been a workhorse in the Orioles organization, throwing 666 career innings, before being traded on April 17, 2017 to the Angels. His progression through the minors has been slowed due to his inability to control his secondary pitches consistently (career 30-grade, well-below-average 3.74 BB/9), as well giving up his share of contact (career .252 BAA). In 2016, he had a rib injury in addition to his control issues, which resulted in just seven starts in 27 appearances, though he is off to a solid start this season with a 9.83 SO/9 ratio and a big improvement control, allowing just 1.39 BB/9 ratio over his first 32 2/3 innings pitched for Salt Lake City.
At 6-foot-4, he brings an athletic frame that generates downhill plane, to go along with a max-effort delivery. He commanded a plus fastball, 94-to-96 mph (T97) with late life, and controlled the pitch low in the zone. His average hard slider had strike-to-ball sweeping action at 91-to-93 mph and was especially effective to righties. His third offering was an average curveball with 12-to-6 deep break which he showed some feel for, and that flashed some swing-and-miss potential when he commands it.
Closing on 26 years old, and with plenty of minor league milage on the arm, he’ll need to show the Angels he is capable of consistently controlling his secondary pitches in order to turn over lineups and become a major league asset. In three career appearances at the major league level (one start) he has been better, throwing 9 1/3 innings and only surrendering two walks. Currently his stuff is good enough to earn him spots starts at the major league level as a Role 40 swingman, and if he can continue to show that his improved control isn’t a fluke this season, he could still project as a late-blooming number four starter – but the clock is ticking and there is not much margin for error at this point in his pro career.