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14 remarkable facts about the Twins’ newest pitching prospect

In a few months, Brandon Poulson has gone from an 8.38 ERA at Academy of Art University to a 100-mph fastball and a $250,000 signing bonus from the Twins. (Rob Garcia/Academy of Art University via Associated Press)

On Wednesday, Brandon Poulson is set to report to the Twins’ rookie club in Tennessee. There, he will sign his contract with the club, capping an amazing rise from complete obscurity. Here are 14 facts about Poulson, culled from stories by the Associated Press, Yahoo Sports and, that make his story so unusual:

  1.  Poulson is a 24-year old right-hander who stands 6-foot-6 and a chiseled 240 pounds, with a 40-inch vertical leap.
  2.  He played some baseball in high school, but chose to play football at Santa Rosa (Calif.) Junior College.
  3.  He left school to spend a couple of years working for John’s Excavating, his father’s business, which involved driving 18-wheel trucks and back hoes.
  4.  He decided to give baseball another try, and last year joined the Prune Packers, a team in a Northern California’s Sunday-night “Wine Country” league.
  5.  The manager of the Prune Packers is Joey Gomes, the brother of Red Sox outfielder Jonny Gomes.
  6.  Poulson says he “missed nearly three-fourths” of the Prune Packers’ games in 2013 “because I was busy working.”
  7.  People saw just enough of him that he was offered a scholarship with San Francisco’s Academy of Art University.
  8.  Poulson had an ERA of 8.38 with the school, striking out 24 but also walking 24 in 19 1/3 innings.
  9. He showed up at the Academy of Art’s pro day for position players, took off his shoes and ran a 60-yard dash in his socks — turning in an exceptional time of 6.6 seconds.
  10. He returned to the Prune Packers this spring and, with the help of the team’s pitching coach, slowly started improving his mechanics.
  11.  The MLB draft took place in early June. 1,215 players were drafted over 40 rounds. Poulson was not one of them.
  12.  Back in the Wine Country league, his velocity climbed from the 90s to 100 miles per hour, and he struck out 31 batters in 12 1/3 innings.
  13.  Twins scout Elliott Strankman said of Poulson, “He’s a physical specimen. He’s got the best pure arm strength I’ve ever seen,” and, “This is my sixth Draft and I’ve been around baseball, but I’ve never seen anything quite like it. He just kind of figured it out.”
  14.  Because of the very sudden competition for his services, the Twins are giving Poulson a signing bonus of $250,000, about 10 times what an undrafted player would normally receive.

Des writes for the Early Lead and the D.C. Sports Bog, scouring the Web to bring readers items of interest, both serious and amusing. He also covers fantasy football, as well as fitness topics for the MisFits.
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