JUPITER, Fla. – Due to rescheduling made necessary by weather interruptions early in the PG WWBA World Championship’s five-day run last week, the CBA Marucci/Red Sox Scout Team went a full two days between playing their tournament opener on Thursday, Oct. 7 and their second and third pool-play games on Sunday, Oct. 10.
It was a long wait, made even longer by the fact that CBA dropped that opener on Thursday which made the two games on Sunday must-wins if it hoped to even entertain a thought of advancing to the playoffs.
Having constructed a roster that included several of the top arms on the West Coast from the classes of 2022 and 2023, manager Jon Paino had a lot of options as far as who to hand the ball to in that first game bright and early Sunday morning. So, naturally, he went with a kid who he felt comfortable with in that particular moment.
Tyler Bremner is a 6-foot-2, 170-pound right-handed pitcher out of San Diego and a UC Santa Barbara commit who arrived in Jupiter as the No. 83-ranked right-hander (No. 285 overall) in the country (he's also the No. 14-ranked righty in talent-rich California).
With the final pool-play games of the event shortened to five innings each, Bremner threw a complete-game, one-hit shutout at the South Carolina-based Diamond Devils, striking out 11 and walking three in an 8-0 CBA Marucci/RSST victory that kept slim playoff hopes alive. (CBA's final pool-play game ended in a 1-1 tie and it didn't advance to bracket-play). Bremner had been given a moment to shine and he embraced it.
During the outing, Bremner showed a fastball that averaged 90 mph and topped out at 93 with a 78 mph slider and a 73 mph curveball, although he didn’t resort to the latter two pitches very often.
“The adrenaline is definitely pumping out here,” he said not long after the game had ended on the Marlins side of the Roger Dean Complex. “It was good to finally get out here and it was just really fun to throw. They were late on my fastball so I just kept it fastball-heavy and overall, it was just a lot of fun.”
In truth, the entire 2021 travel ball season has been one big fun-fest for the amiable Bremner, a 17½-year-old who is just getting started with his senior year at Scripps Ranch High School in San Diego. Amateur baseball’s top evaluators had more than a hunch that the kid possessed the necessary tools to make big things happen but many were still surprised by the numbers.
After that stellar outing in Jupiter, Bremner had thrown 21 innings for CBA in 2021 while performing on many of PG’s biggest tournament stages without allowing an earned run. He did give up seven hits and walked six along the way, but those numbers were dwarfed by the 39 strikeouts he recorded, good for a 13/2 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Along the way, Bremner was named to the all-tournament team at the PG WWBA 17u National Championship in Marietta, Ga.; the PG 17u World Series in Surprise, Ariz., and at the PG 18u Fall National Championship Protected by G-Form back in Surprise; he was, in fact, the MV-Pitcher at the latter event.
“I feel like joining CBA is one of the best choices I’ve ever made; I feel like I’ve developed way more this summer than any other summer,” Bremner said. “My velo has been going up and I feel like my fastball has a lot of movement so I just stick with that pitch the most and it misses a lot of bats.”
Paino told PG last Sunday that when Bremner first showed up expressing an interest in joining CBA, he and his staff could see there was a whole lot there ability-wise but the kid just hadn’t necessarily turned the corner when it came to the most important thing: believing in himself.
It perhaps hadn't hit Bremner yet that he was gifted enough to play this game for years to come and with what happened now, over the course of the summer, he was able to build that essential element of self-confidence.
Simply put, Paino believes if the kids he oversees don’t leave the CBA program feeling more confident in themselves and knowing in their gut they’re good enough to keep moving up and continuing to play the game for a long time, then he kind of feels like he hasn't done his job.
“(Bremner) came here with an unbelievable fastball, an unbelievable slider and a competitive nature so for him it was just believing in himself,” Paino said. “The summer has been kind of a whirlwind for him (where) he’s done all kinds of really good things, and if that confidence would have come earlier there might have been other accolades, as well.
“He’s in an awesome position as a baseball player and a young man to move into college and possibly the (MLB) Draft now. I know now that he truly believes in himself and no matter where he goes or what he does he’s going to be successful.”
Bremner said he had been throwing quite a bit in the week or two before Jupiter and while he felt strong and energized during his outing here he knows he’s starting to slow down. He knew of quite a few guys who skipped Jupiter in favor of shutting down in early October but he chose to wait so he could make the most out of this experience.
The exposure he gained over the summer was priceless in terms of where he eventually wants to end up. Playing in his last major travel ball tournament was bittersweet, he said, but he has few regrets which is always good.
What he’ll always remember is the rush of adrenaline he’d receive each time he took the mound at the biggest events and how he was able to channel any anxiety he might have been feeling in the direction of an acceptable outcome.
“There’s definitely some pressure coming out here but when you’re on the mound I feel like it all just kind of goes away and you feel like you’re playing again when you’re 8 (years old),” Bremner said. “It’s more nerve-wracking but at the end of the day not many players get to do this and I just have a blast out here...
“I guess I’ve just learned to play with people watching; I feel like I really haven’t done that until this summer. I rose to the occasion and I feel like I can play in front of anyone now. There are so many guys here that are so talented (and) it’s just cool to be around guys like that.”
There is a lot that goes into making sure that when a high school kid is uprooted from his day-to-day to life on the West Coast so that he can spend five days away from home playing baseball on the East Coast turns out to be a positive experience.
It was obviously worth it for Tyler Bremner, an up-and-comer who not only performed extremely well in front of hundreds of scouts but also further cemented the friendships he’d made while spending the summer with CBA Marucci.
“This gives him a boost of confidence and it gives him potential opportunities in the future,” Paino said. “If it’s not this year in the draft, now everybody that’s seen him knows that if he chooses to go to college in three years the development that he’s going to get physically and mentally, he’s going to be more than ready.”