A three-sport athlete at Watkins Memorial High School in Etna Township, Ohio, Connor Brandon lettered in baseball, football, and wrestling. After graduating in 2019 and going undrafted, he attended the University of Toledo, following in the footsteps of his father, who attended Toledo and was an outfielder for the Rockets in the late-1980s.
Brandon did not pitch much in his freshman season because of the COVID-19 pandemic. His collegiate career began in earnest in 2021, when he threw 42.1 innings over 13 starts and 2 relief appearances. The right-hander posted an unsightly 9.35 ERA, allowing 50 hits, walking 47, striking out 35, hitting 11 batters and uncorking 9 wild pitches. He played for the Amsterdam Mohawks of the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League that summer and performed quite a bit better, pitching exclusively out of the bullpen. Throwing 15.1 innings in 15 games, Brandon posted a 2.35 ERA, allowing 11 hits, walking 16, striking out 26, hitting 5 batters and uncorking 5 wild pitches. Returning to Toledo for his junior season, the right-hander earned Second-Team All-MAC honors, posting a 4.76 ERA in 75.2 innings with 73 hits allowed, 42 walks, 88 strikeouts, 17 hit batsmen, and 5 wild pitches. Following the season, he pitched for the State College Spikes of the MLB Draft League and posted an 8.62 ERA in 15.2 innings, allowing 21 hits, walking 15, striking out 15, hitting 6 batters and unloosing 2 wild pitches.
The 6’3”, 220-pound right-hander has a durable build suited for logging innings. He throws sidearm and maintains an upright posture pushing off the mound, resulting in an awkward release point for batters to pick up on. The mechanics and his quick, whippy arm are also something of a liability, as Connor has exhibited major command and control problems his entire collegiate career.
The right-hander has a fastball that sits in the mid-90s and touches as high as 97, 98 MPH. He complements his fastball with an average-to-above-average slider. The pitch sits in the low-to-mid-80s and features late two-plane depth. He occasionally mixes in a low-to-mid-80s changeup, but the pitch is firm and a get-me-over pitch at best. Mainly a two-pitch pitcher, Brandon’s future is likely in the bullpen unless he can refine his change and/or develop another effective secondary pitch.