This past week, we had a remarkable occurence with one of our athletes. Kansas City Royals farmhand and DST Athlete, Bryan Brickhouse threw 100 mph in a live game during spring training. It was the first time he ever lit up three digits on the radar gun. A stunning feat for any pitcher, it is all the more impressive when you consider Brickhouse’s career path.
Bryan Brickhouse hasn’t pitched in a game since 2015.
A 3rd-rounder out of the Woodlands High School, Bryan saw his career derailed by injuries (Tommy John and two subsequent stress fractures) which culminated in a premature retirement in 2017.
Bryan had moved on. He began working on a real estate license while spending the year getting his mind and body right. Brickhouse began training with us at DST around the same time as every other pro this offseason. At that point, he had already made some major changes. He had lost around 40 pounds, and he had focused on his mobility (which was restricted in his previous playing days). I think he was pretty hesitant to dive into a full offseason program like we have, but once he did, he was a model client.
He showed up on time. He did the program we laid out for him. He gave honest feedback that helped us modify and redirect his programming. He never just showed up to go through the motions. He knew when to push himself, when to back off and when to make adjustments. Brickhouse said that this was the “most productive” offseason he’s ever had.
He’s a low-key guy. He doesn’t say much, but he speaks loudly with his actions. One thing you need to know about Brickhouse is that he is an absolute beast in the weight room. It’s a spectacle every time he does a lower body exercise. Guys stop and watch as plate after plate gets loaded onto the bar. Just when you think, ‘Here’s an exercise he probably won’t be able to load a bunch of weight on’, there he is – loading plate after plate and making everything look as if it’s the easiest workout of his life.
I could go on about his strength gains and the types of workouts we did with him, but honestly, the biggest improvements (nearly all of them) came from his work with pitching coach, David Evans.
David and Bryan spent ridiculous amounts of hours retooling Bryan’s delivery and arm action that had been putting undue stress on his arm. They spent even more hours on the mound revamping the biomechanics of his entire delivery. It wasn’t a quick fix – it didn’t happen overnight. Most people would have quit due to the monotony of the drills, but Bryan trusted David. Over time, the arm felt healthier and healthier. The delivery felt more and more comfortable. The velocity began to creep back up. I can’t begin to emphasize just how much the work put in with David helped get Bryan Brickhouse to where he is today.
Before Brickhouse left for spring training, David and I were talking about his improvements. Both of us were getting goosebumps. We knew the work he put in, but we also knew what he was capable of.
I want to emphasize that none of us were surprised to hear that Bryan had hit 100 mph.
We could read the writing on the wall well before it happened. He was throwing 97 mph in a bullpen setting. We knew he could go out, impress and move up quickly.
Bryan Brickhouse has been assigned to High-A Wilmington, and the season begins tonight. Keep an eye out for this kid, but when you see him hitting triple digits, know that there was very little good luck in him getting there. There was far more bad luck, in fact. Understand and appreciate that what you see is the product of an unimaginable amount of deliberate work and dedication. Also, don’t be surprised if you start hearing Bryan Brickhouse’s name a lot.
Watch Bryan’s DST 2017-18 Offseason Testimonial video: