The Mariners are not exactly hurting for right-handed relief pitchers.
- Fernando Rodney
- Brandon Maurer
- Danny Farquhar
- Dominic Leone
- EDIT to add: Yoervis Medina [brain cramp! too many to remember them all! thanks to Bat571!]
- Tom Wilhelmsen
- Stephen Pryor
- Carson Smith
- Todd Coffey [journeyman you may not have heard of with 1.04 ERA]
- Logan Kensing [journeyman you may not have heard of who went to AAA All-Star Game]
- Stephen Kohlscheen [yet to show in AAA what he showed in AA, but he was awesome in AA]
- Mayckol Guaipe [best bullpenner at Jackson made AA All-Star Game]
And farther down there’s the guy we zoomed in on as “next Dominic Leone” — that’s Emilio Pagan.
But the two who deserve extra recognition this year are Matt Brazis and Grady Wood. Join the party, guys! The more the merrier!
Brazis came out of Boston College, where injuries kept him from ever showing much. He did, however, put together a pretty good senior season (reportedly the first season he really had his true velocity), and was drafted in the 28th round in 2012.
And when he arrived in pro baseball he arrived with a bang. Or more like a sonic boom.
Brazis struck out 19 of the first 28 batters he faced without giving up a walk, and only giving up one single.
That earned him an instant promotion to Low-A Clinton, where he was still awesome, just less awesome: he struck out 32 of the 72 batters he faced, and issued five walks.
He ended the year with a 0.65 ERA, 1.6 BB/9 and 16.6 K/9.
Then he was promptly forgotten about.
Not really, but he spent all of 2103 at High Desert putting up mediocre numbers. It was a funny thing, though. He wasn’t killed by easy homers in Adelanto (where hitters thrive on the hot, dry, windy conditions). He only gave up one home run at home, though was dinged for a lot of doubles. Instead he was done in by a lack of command on the road (4.6 BB/9) and by an unfortunate BABIP on the road (.408).
Secretly, Brazis was a pretty good pitcher in the desert (2013 FIP at home: 3.08).
And when he was sent back there at the start of this year, his fortune turned (.288 BABIP on the road), his command returned to 2012 levels (1.8 BB/9), and suddenly Brazis became a hot prospect again.
You can see from that final line that he earned a promotion to Jackson in June, where he has pitched three times and only surrendered three hits and one walk. Unfortunately one of the three hits was a homer.
Showing up strong at High Desert can be a very good indicator. Dominic Leone did it. Carson Smith did it (after a rough start). It is possible.
Add Brazis to the list.
Part two here.