Red Sox Closer Candidate: Brad Brach

Red Sox Closer Candidate: Brad Brach

by January 19, 2019 0 comments

With Craig Kimbrel still available, and the Red Sox bullpen lacking any sort of proven closer, it seems as if these two would be a match made in heaven for a contract agreement, right?

Not so fast. Red Sox President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski said that he doesn’t expect a “huge expenditure” to be paid towards the closing position this offseason. Not that a potential agreement between the two parties won’t happen, it just won’t be at the high asking price from the right-hander.

While the rest of that unfolds, let’s take a look at a potential replacement closer that could be on the cheaper side for the Boston Red Sox.

Brad Brach had a tale of two halves in his 2018 campaign. The right-hander with a funky delivery spent the first half of 2018 with the last-place Orioles, where he showed a side of him the baseball world wasn’t used to. His 4.85 ERA through 42 outings was pacing out to be the worst season of his career by far.

But on July 29, Brach was sent to Atlanta. The Braves turned out to be the key that turned around his whole season. In his 27 outings for the division-winning Braves, he went 1-2 with a 1.52 ERA and turned back into the Brach that was an All-Star in 2016.

What makes Brach a great candidate for the Red Sox is that he is familiar with the competition that exists in the AL East. He has also closed in the past, netting 18 saves in 2017 while Zach Britton battled injuries for the Orioles.

Numbers aside, Brach has some of the nastiest pitches in the game. Starting with his changeup, which saw an uptick in usage from 2017 to 2018. While the strikeout-rate did dip a little bit with the higher usage, and the opponent batting average climbed 86 points from the previous year, it’s still a pretty good pitch.

The best part is, that might not even be his best pitch. While he used it less frequently, the slider might be Brach’s best pitch. In terms of movement and the ability to make hitters look foolish swinging at it, his hook is like a frisbee.

Closers tend to be two-pitch pitchers; hence why they are relievers, and not starting games. What separates Brach from the rest of the pack is that he actually has three really impressive pitches when factoring in his mid-90s fastball. He can really make things difficult for opposing hitters.

He’s coming off of a year in which he was less than impressive for half of the season. When looking at how the rest of the market for relief pitchers has gone, Adam Ottavino was a full run better than Brach in terms of ERA, and his contract only garnered an AAV of $9 million over three years. The Red Sox should definitely buy low and secure more bullpen help.

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