Earlier this offseason, the Red Sox acquired Austin Brice from the Miami Marlins in a move that flew under the radar.
Brice was designated for assignment when the Marlins signed Corey Dickerson in free agency.
While Brice is not a household name, he is a low-risk, high reward move for Chaim Bloom. Although Brice was not guaranteed a spot when the Red Sox traded for him, he has been impressive in Spring Training so far.
In 106 MLB appearances, the former ninth-round pick owns a 4.90 ERA in 128.2 innings of work. He has never made more than 36 appearances in a season and has bounced around a bit in his major league career. He did, however, show some signs last season that he could be a valuable piece.
The former Marlin is coming off his best season yet as he posted a career-low 3.43 ERA. In 44.2 innings of work, he struck out 46 batters and only walked 18. After allowing a career-high nine home runs in 2018, Brice only allowed seven last year and held batters to a .214 average. He has been able to carry that success into Spring Training as he fights for a spot on the Red Sox’ roster.
In five appearances so far, Brice has yet to allow a run while holding batters to a .125 average. He also has recorded ten strikeouts and only allowed three hits in 6.2 innings of work. The right-hander has shown excellent control as he has only issued one free pass.
As the Red Sox build their bullpen, Brice could make a significant impact. While his career line is not glamorous, he has dealt with injuries. His four-seam fastball generates swings and misses while his sinker produces a lot of groundballs. After struggling for years at the major league level, he found success in 2019.
Although Brice has been impressive, his fate will be put on hold as MLB has suspended spring training and pushed back Opening Day due to the coronavirus pandemic. When baseball does resume, however, Brice has put himself in a good position.
Last year, the Red Sox’ bullpen struggled, and in 2020 they will be looking for more stability. Brice has proven that he can be part of that equation as the Red Sox will risk losing him on waivers if he is not on the Opening Day roster.
Despite an uncertain future, Brice has made a good first impression in Boston.