Braden Osbolt transformed his pitching mindset ahead of Cape League debut

Yarmouth-Dennis’ right-hander has a 0.75 ERA through two starts; he was named the first Pitcher of the Week in 2024
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YARMOUTH, Ma. — Braden Osbolt, the 19-year-old right handed pitcher from Kennesaw State University, has been nothing short of dominant through his first two appearances with the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox. Molena, Georgia's own led the Cape League in WHIP and batting average against through the first week of the season, which led to him being selected as the first Cape Cod Baseball League Pitcher of the Week in 2024.

Although Osbolt was set on coming to pitch in the Cape League, it didn’t come without an adjustment. “It's completely different from being in college ball. It's the best players in the country,” he said. Osbolt knew this wasn’t an opportunity he could pass up though, and “giving [himself] the opportunity to compete against the best of the best every day” was a crucial step in his pitching development.

Osbolt has now completed two starts, throwing six frames in both, finding himself leading the league in innings pitched. Through those starts, Osbolt has allowed just four hits, one run, and struck out 11. Despite elevated competition levels, a new environment, and new teammates, Osbolt has kept the same routine leading up to his starts. “Going about [starts] the same way I do in college has helped me a lot. It’s helped me not get too big for the moment.”

One major difference between starts at Kennesaw State and Yarmouth-Dennis has been his mindset on the mound though. At the end of his first two campaigns at the collegiate level, Osbolt finished with a 5.9 and 6.5 K/9. His strikeout numbers have jumped up by almost two per game in the Cape League, currently at 8.3 K/9.

When explaining what’s changed that has allowed him to strike out more hitters, Osbolt said, “one of the biggest things for me was getting in the mentality of throwing everything in the zone, and letting my stuff play.” During his two Cape League appearances, Osbolt has walked only four, and his 3.0 BB/9 is his lowest mark since pitching at Pike County High School.

Pitching in the Cape League has worked to Osbolt’s advantage. Being surrounded by elite competition has forced him to trust his arsenal, which has evidently worked through the first two weeks of summer ball. “Trying to fill [the zone] up and let my arsenal do what it does,” has been the primary goal, according to Osbolt.

Yarmouth-Dennis pitching coach Brett Adcock has played an instrumental role in Osbolt’s introduction to the Cape League. “We’ve worked on a couple of things. Making sure we're missing [bats] where we need to miss” them has been a focal point of Adcock’s work with Osbolt. In turn, Osbolt’s on pace to set personal records in both whiffs and strikeouts.

While Adcock has been doing all he can to continue the development of his pitching staff, he understands “they’re out here for a reason.” Not just Osbolt, but every pitcher on the roster already has the stuff to succeed. He stresses the importance of taking the mound with the right mindset; being ready to attack hitters and have fun.

“They know they got the stuff to do it,” Adcock says, “I just have to make sure their minds are right and let them go attack.”

Osbolt has been receptive to adopting this new mindset, which is partially responsible for his early dominance. The allure of the Cape League for many players is seeing where they stack up against top competition; Osbolt has taken this to heart. “Proving to myself everyday that I can [succeed] and keeping that mentality” is what Osbolt calls the opportunity at hand.

As far as playing for Yarmouth-Dennis, it’s the small things that Osbolt will remember. Starting pitchers only have time to make a limited amount of starts, so the best moments often come away from the diamond. Osbolt talks about how Yarmouth-Dennis’s assistant coaches, Craig Giannino, has a unique routine before each game. “He makes us do a dance routine. One guy every single day.”

After just a few weeks of practicing and playing together, Osbolt and the rest of the Red Sox are a tight-knit group. Even though he says it was not something he originally expected, the team bonded quickly. That has aided them in the first ten games of the season, where the Red Sox are currently 7-3, good for first place in the West Division.

Osbolt will make his next start at home against the Brewster Whitecaps on Sunday, June 30. Coming off his Pitcher of the Week selection, Osbolt will tell you he’s not trying to do too much. He’s having fun and trusting his stuff; “I've just been fortunate enough to strike some people out while doing it.”

(Photo via Danielle Stockwell)