Brothers chosen by Rockies in MLB draft
More than a hundred newly christened Colorado Rockies fans gathered Tuesday night as former Shelbyville Central standout Rex Brothers was selected as the 34th pick in Major League Baseball's 2009 First-Year Player Draft.
Brothers' selection is the highest ever by an athlete from Bedford County, and he's thankful for the opportunity that he's been given.
"That's just so special," Brothers said. "I'm really blessed to be in the situation I'm in and it's just a dream come true. This whole process has just been a great experience that I will never forget no matter what happens.
"One thing that's really helped me over the years is I know I've always got somewhere to come back to and call home. I have a great family and a lot of close friends and they've always given me a pat on the back, even through tough times."
Over the past few weeks, Brothers had been projected by baseball insiders to be a top-20 pick, and was mentioned as a top-10 selection on one mock draft board Tuesday morning.
As it turned out, he was selected in Compensation Round A, which is at the end of the first round.
Despite it being a little lower in the draft than he had hoped for, the talented left-handed pitcher is excited about the opportunity to play at the professional level.
"I was really wondering what was going on," he said. "I expected to be drafted higher, but this just proves that nothing is certain and anything can happen in a draft.
"I let myself in the trap that everybody told me not to be in -- expecting something. You just don't know what can happen. Despite that, I'm sure proud of the way it all worked out. I don't care it wasn't in the top 20. I'm excited about what happened."
Phone lights up
Before the Rockies selected Brothers, his phone began to light up with a number of teams showing interest in him as their next pick.
"I got calls from the Texas Rangers and New York Mets and I was on the phone with my advisor when I found out that I was chosen by the Rockies. Once things got moving they really moved fast."
Now Brothers, who just completed his junior year at Lipscomb University, will turn his attention toward coming to terms in a contract with the Rockies.
He and his advisor, Al Goetz (Jet Sports Management), will work that issue with the hopes of an agreement soon.
"That's the next process and my expectations are pretty much up in the air. We haven't really discussed a dollar amount, but hopefully it's going to be good," Brothers said. "I want to finish college and get my degree and hopefully that will be covered in the contract. I feel like I'm one of the top talented left handed pitchers in the draft and I want that to be worthwhile too.
"I want them to feel like they are getting a reasonable deal for my talent level but I want to get what my market value is as well. I want things to work out for us both and then I just want to sign and play."
Coaches and career
Brothers has been successful playing baseball in local youth leagues, high school and college.
His former high school coach at Shelbyville Central witnessed that success, as well as coaching against him in college.
Scott Hall became a member of the Belmont coaching staff after Brothers graduated from high school.
Both Lipscomb and Belmont are members of the Atlantic Sun Conference.
"Rex is the type of guy that you want to coach with, play with and recruit. I really enjoyed coaching him in high school, but unfortunally we were on different teams in college," Hall said. "He was pretty successful from the beginning at Lipscomb and I think he'll be successful at the next level as well."
Brothers compiled a 5-5 record with a 3.26 ERA his junior year in college. He struck out 132 batters in only 94 innings, the eighth-highest single-season strikeout total in A-Sun history.
He ranks fifth in the NCAA in strikeouts and earned a spot on the All-Atlantic Sun's First Team. He'll have a Lipscomb connection with the Rockies as former Lipscomb pitcher Bo McLaughlin is the pitching coordinator for Colorado.
Brothers admits that it will be tough to leave school a year early but he welcomes the challenge and opportunity to play at the next level.
"It is tough to leave school, but I have made a lot of memories playing for Lipscomb," said Brothers. "This is a career milestone for me."
Lipscomb baseball coach Jeff Forehand will miss Brothers as well, but is extremely happy for what he's done for the university and the Bison baseball program.
"Rex has just meant so much to our team and he's the kind of kid that every coach loves to have. He's going to work hard, do what he's supposed to in class and do what he's supposed to do off the field," Forehand said. "When somebody gets something of this magnitude that's the kind of person and character he is and the kind of family he comes from, that's what it's all about."
Brothers' success and the positive way he's represented the university hasn't gone unnoticed by Lipscomb athletic director Philip Hutcheson as well.
"It's not that Rex is such a great player, because everybody knows that, but Rex is a leader that has a lot of character and he's the type of athlete that we hope to have many more of. We want kids at Lipscomb that grow in wisdom, in stature and in favor with God and man and Rex Brothers fits all of that and more."
Brothers knows at some point and time that if he becomes successful at the next level a great amount of exposure will be placed upon him, but he welcomes that challenge and opportunity as well.
"My grandparents, parents and all my family have such a strong devotion to their faith and that's rubbed off on me. Hopefully I can be a positive influence on someone no matter what I do."