Navarro Junior College left-handed pitcher Brandon Ivey committed to the Texas Longhorns on Wednesday afternoon. Ivey will be eligible to play for the Longhorns as a junior in the 2018 season.
Out of high school, Ivey was rated by Perfect Game as the No. 29 left-handed pitcher in Texas and the No. 298 overall prospect in the state. His 2014 scouting report declared Ivey to have a fastball in the low 80s with “room to get stronger.”
The Concordia Lutheran high schooler opted to attend Navarro College, and added over 20 pounds to his frame. In his freshman year at Navarro, Ivey posted a 7.23 ERA with Navarro College, but with an impressive 32 strikeouts in 32.1 innings pitched.
Thus far in 2017, Ivey has honed a 3.99 ERA thus has a team second-high 32 strikeouts in his 29.1 innings pitched.
Pierce clearly sees Ivey as a guy who is finally hitting his stride after being lauded for his potential by scouts.
At 6’1, 190 pounds, Ivey doesn’t have the 6’5 size of Morgan Cooper, nor the near 100 MPH pitch speed of a guy like Nick Kennedy or Kyle Johnston. However, the Longhorns have struggled with bullpen depth and Ivey could be a reliable piece to help patch the ‘Horns’ mid-inning struggles up next season.
The most valuable trait Ivey possesses is his handedness. Texas only has two lefties on the current roster, Jon Malmin and Nick Kennedy, and Malmin is set to graduate in the spring. Though the Longhorns will also add fellow JUCO left-handed pitcher Blake Pflughaupt next season, the ‘Horns were still in desperate need of southpaws prior to Ivey’s commitment.
Ivey reminds me a bit of Beau O’Hara, a fellow 6’1 sophomore pitcher who is in his first year at Texas after transferring from Blinn College. Both players didn’t post eye-popping numbers in junior college, but possess a work ethic and potential for development that Pierce obviously noticed. These guys aren’t expecting to be weekend starters as underclassmen, but rather can serve as the glue for an already dominant Longhorns pitching rotation.