Kansas City Royals: Prospect Q&A pitcher Brandon Marklund

(Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images) /
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Kansas City Royals
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“It was a ton of fun to travel across both New Zealand and Australia and view the other side of the world, all while playing baseball”

Q: The draft obviously didn’t go the way you had hoped it would. How did you find an opportunity with the Auckland Tuatara and what was it like playing/living over there?

A: During my senior year of college I made the transition from a starter to a relief pitcher and became our teams closer, where I found a lot of success. Statistically, it ended up being my best year out of the four I spent at Bryan. Due to the success I put up, I was given a chance to continue to play with Morehead City Marlins in the Coastal Plain League summer ball league while I looked to sign a Free Agent deal.

During that summer, I found a lot more success and became a back end bullpen arm and helped the team win the leagues’ championship. Unfortunately, a deal never worked out with a Major League team, but I continued to look at other potential opportunities to continue to play. However, the success I had that previous summer led to my next opportunity. My father and I read online that two new teams were entering the Australian Baseball League (ABL) for the 2018 season. Geelong-Korea and the Auckland Tuatara.

I reached out to Ryan Flynn, the General Manager of the Tuatara, sending him a video and my statistics from my past couple of years. Ryan responded back and sent my contact information to Stephen Mintz, the Tuataras Manager and we were able to reach a deal for me to join the Tuatara for their inaugural season last winter. It was a super exciting experience to be apart of New Zealand’s first professional baseball team. On Auckland, I was fortunate to learn from some ex-MLB pitchers, Josh Collmentor (Arizona Diamondbacks 2011-2016 and Atlanta Braves 2016-2017), who I was able to have as a throwing partner for the season.

As well as former MLB pitchers John Holdzkom (Pittsburgh Pirates 2014) and Scott Richmond (Toronto Blue Jays 2008-2009 & 2011-2012). I was able to pick their brains a bit about what it was like to play for an MLB team, the ins and outs of minor league baseball, etc. It was an experience that most players my age, outside of professional baseball do not get the chance to have, so I tried to make the most out of it. As well, it was a ton of fun to travel across both New Zealand and Australia and view the other side of the world, all while playing baseball.

Q: For fans that aren’t aware, can you walk us through your process of getting signed by the Royals?

A: Following a couple pitching appearances in Sydney, Kansas City’s Australia Scout, Neil Burke, introduced himself and gave me his contact information. The next days following I had talked to both him and the Royals Pacific Rim Coordinator, Phil Dale, discussing the Royals in further. At the time I was actually headed back to Vancouver for a couple of days before flying out for several workouts for other MLB teams.

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However, during my time at home in Vancouver, my agent and the Royals had worked out a deal and instead I flew to Kansas City to meet the rest of the 2018 Draft Class at the Royals first Orientation week at Kauffman Stadium. Once I got to Kansas City, I went for my physicals and a couple of days later I officially signed with the Royals.